Day 9, 10 miles
It got a little chillier during the night so I ended up putting my rain gear after all but after that I’m warm and cozy again.
In the morning I make a hot coffee in the hope that the coffee flavor will drown out the alkaline flavor in the water. The first few sips don’t seem so bad but soon it tastes disgusting again and I can’t even make myself drink all of it. Let’s hope today’s water source is better and I can dump the rest of this out.
We start off heading down a smaller canyon leading towards Rustler canyon. In Rustler canyon there is a pour off we have to find a way around but scout Prana soon spots the way to go. We hand our packs down and negotiate a slightly tricky down climb.
We’re supposed to turn towards Indian Creek canyon but somehow we’re missing the boat on the navigation this morning. I can’t participate in the guessing game since I checked my GPS and don’t want to spoil Haiku’s experience. I follow them down the wrong canyon for a bit, also making sure my GPS is correct. And I expect them to figure it out sooner than later since they’ve been so spot on the entire time. What threw us all off is the fact that we were expecting good water at Indian Creek canyon and it’s actually dryer than Rustler canyon.
We soon get to an big impassible pour off and while Haiku and Prana scout some more I hope they figure out soon that we should turn around.
Eventually they figure it out and we have a little pow wow on paying better attention, noting times on maps (one of the problems was we hadn’t kept track off our pace which would have helped), and I’m going to try not to check my GPS and actually contribute to the map reading. Because I might have thought that the canyon was obvious but my judgment is clouded by me having checked the GPS, whereas if I don’t check I can make my point. Anyways, at this point it was a good learning experience and team building/communication moment. If it had been 100 degrees and I’d been out of water I would have spoken up. We’ve lost quite a bit of time with all of this but it will only help us later on.
Finally in the right canyon we’re slightly surprised at the amount of water, this is supposed to be a more reliable source than the spring yesterday but it actually has significantly less water. Just a few big puddles. The creek bed still looks alkaline but luckily the water here tastes much better. What a relief! I dump the other undrinkable stuff and get four fresh liters.
We have lunch here and finally about 2pm (marked on the map haha), we continue on. We have excellent team work going up our next cross country and negotiate our way up some sand stone ridges towards some cool ridges and formations. On the way we find some awesome rocks. We don’t quite know what they are. They look like petrified wood at first.
We slowly but steadily make progress towards the ridge we’re supposed to contour and have amazing vistas in all directions. The landscape is so vast with two distant snowy mountain ranges, canyons, the Needles and several other cool formations. I feel very small in comparison.
On our last ridge I manage to have phone service so I talk to Greenleaf on the phone while my team is studying the maps and figure out a way down. They do a flawless job and we are now camped near the canyon that we’ll follow all the way to a dirt road and to the Needles outpost tomorrow.
Not a lot of miles for today but we learnt a lot and are back in the navigation game!