Day 32, 15? miles just past round valley draw
It’s snowed and rained some again last night and it’s still sleeting some this morning. I can’t get motivated to get up and dress up in rain gear again. I know the weather will improve at some point today and I just want it to stop raining soon. The fact that I have more of the muddy dirt road to walk isn’t helping my motivation. Eventually I start packing but I’m not ready to go until 10 am! Wow!
Once I’m on the road it’s slow going and I also spend time messaging Greenleaf via my Inreach. I’d like him to send me some fleece jammies, my sleeping bag just isn’t keeping me as warm as I though and I’ve been wearing my rain gear most nights. At some point my rain gear might actually be wet and then I might be cold, hence the warm jammies request. I also fidget some more, putting music on, taking rain gear off, putting solar collector on the pack… With all this it’s no wonder that Zach catches up to me. He actually left camp before I did this morning! He was set up a distance behind me but here he is!
We leapfrog the rest of the day and the road is mostly still muddy. It’s sometimes even easier going to just walk amongst the sage brush on the side of the road or follow a cow path. While the going is tough the views are awesome. Some snowy peaks in the distance, junipers and sage nearby. The road is washed out a few times when storm fed streams flow across. They’re terribly silty and not good for drinking.
Luckily the sun is really pulling through for us today and the first opportunity I get I dry out my tent. It was soaking wet and heavy when I packed it up this morning, it’s much lighter now. At lunch I fluff up my sleeping bag some. Everything is dry again, yay!
We climb up and through what’s called the Gut, it’s a pretty area which reminds me of the water pocket fold in the way that it’s tilted as well. Recent tire tracks go all over the place in the mud, I’m glad I wasn’t in that car! We have a hard enough time keeping our feet from sliding out from under us.
When we go over the high point there is a great view of Grosvenor Arch. We’ve been looking forward to this one. Not only is it beautiful there is also a rest area with a pit toilet and picnic tables! Woohoo!!
Zach has his cache here. Mine is a little ways further but it’s such a nice place to hang out for a while that I take my time here to get organized and soak up some more sun. And views of the arch of course. I fluff my sleeping bag some more, walk the little trail to the bottom of the arch, dump my toilet paper in the toilet (I’m carrying it out on this trip, it doesn’t compost well in the desert), and just enjoy this cool place.
We finally start moving again and join the main dirt road between Cannondale and hwy 98 (I think). It’s in slightly better shape but still has some muddy sections. A group of motor cyclists is traveling the opposite direction and ask about the upcoming mud but we’ve only been on this particular road for about a mile so we’re not much help. They did help us because their tracks are pretty decent walking for us most times. When I make it to my cache, Zach moves on and I get my things.
Back on the road there are a few cars and ATV’s, one of them offers me a ride which would have been very tempting if tomorrow would have been a crappy weather day. But it’s supposed to be beautiful so I walk on. The views are pretty sweet and the sunset is gorgeous. I pull of the road not much after and have a nice set up.
I’ve decided not to go down Round Valley draw via the guidebook route. The drop in is pretty tricky and I’m thinking there’s going to be quite some water in there after recent storms. My current plan is to do the alternate entry and day hike back in there as far as I feel like. I’d hate to miss it but just don’t want to have to lower my pack into the water especially if it’s thigh high or higher.