Day 16, 18? Miles
While I go back down to the water to do some ‘laundry’, the hiker I met yesterday is coming up. His name is Amos and I enjoy chatting with him. Laundry consists of rinsing my socks and shorts and doesn’t take much time to I’m soon behind Amos climbing up hill. I’m still a slow climber so he gets some fun pictures of me huffing and puffing below him. It’s too bad there is no soundtrack.
I’m in the picture above and I’m looking up at Amos in the picture below.
I was hoping the climb would be in the shade in the morning but it’s full on in the sun. Thank goodness we’re not any later because I’m already dying. I’m guzzling down the water from my platypus bladder. We take numerous breathers and chat a bit along the way. It’s fun to have the company along the way. We’re both relieved to finally make it to the top of the plateau.
Now it’s a fun walk on slick rock towards the trail head. My route has me leaving the trail and short cut cross country to the dirt road further along. I had decided I was going to stick with the trail because that would be easier but somehow think I see the dirt road I need to get to and it looks so easy that I change my mind. When I’m about 5-10 minutes in I realize that: A. I shouldn’t follow Nic Barth’s GPS track (the other one makes much more sense) and B. It’s much more involved than I thought and I’m crushing lots of crypto biotic crust. I decide to turn around and go back to the trail, should have stuck with my first instinct.
Now I’m on the hunt for Amos. If I can catch him I might get some extra water, he said he had a gallon in the car. It’s already really hot so it would be nice to have an extra liter or so. I have to take off my tights but try to keep up the pace a bit. Near the trailhead I hear a door close. Crap! I might just be a minute too late!
Thankfully he’s still there when I get to the parking lot! Woohooo! I chug some more water and take a liter from him. And what’s even better is that he offers me fruit! Did he know I had been dreaming of oranges earlier in the day? A banana, an orange and a grapefruit, and some chocolate too! I’m in heaven! I give him my trash in exchange, not the best deal on his end.
We chat some more about hiking and trails and routes. So fun! He has a YouTube channel, the backpacker diaries where he puts his trail videos. I’ll have to check it out when I have good wifi sometime.
I decide to carry out the grapefruit to leave in Haiku and Prana’s cache. We haven’t had fruit since we started.
The next 12 ish miles are brutal. It’s so sunny and hot and it’s an exposed dirt road walk. The scenery is gorgeous with red rock formations, canyons, some slick rock and the Henry mountains in the distance but I’m frying. Some cars stop and one asks if I’m okay. “Yes, thanks for checking”. Another stops and I ask how they’re doing. They’re fine! The tone in the voice insinuates that I’m crazy. I have to agree. Who in their right mind would walk this in this heat?
I have my umbrella out, it’s a life saver. At some point I break down and put some music on. The few cows along the road stare at me weird when I belt out some Queen songs. And do I wish I had a bicycle! Gotta love Queen.
As I’m walking, the idea of taking a break in town becomes more and more alluring. I decide to put out my thumb on the short section of highway I’m on before getting to my cache. There aren’t many cars and there isn’t much space to pull over but there is a spot just past the bridge basically where my cache is. There is a car approaching as I cross the bridge and I put my thumb out. Bingo! He pulls over! I don’t have a chance to check my cache but I hope in and am on my way! Woohooo!!
My driver is a Canadian on a road trip from Florida to Canada via California and he’s been visiting lots of scenic places along the way. I tell him to pull over at the scenic viewpoint towards Hite where we’d stopped on our caching trip. It’s great!
I didn’t fully realize that Hite was 44 miles from Hanksville but we have fun conversations the entire trip. My new friend even lived in Amsterdam for awhile and has visited the place I used to work while in college. We get to Hanksville in the dark but we’re able to locate the Hanksville Inn. It looks closed since much of it is under construction but they have a room available for me. Once the owner finds out I’m alone and hiking he gives me a discount. Sweet!
I think I’ll take a full day off to reboot. I’ve lost a bit of my enthousiasm for this hike but I think mostly because I’m tired and fried.