Hayduke trail day 43

Day 43, 20 miles, just past saddle mountain trailhead
I slept great last night. I didn’t wake up once because I was cold and didn’t even put my down booties on! These warmer nights are wonderful! I am starting to feel the miles I’ve pushed these last two days so am not fast out of the gate this morning. 

Once I’m back on track it’s not far to the Cane water tanks and thankfully they are full. The road near the residence is marked private but the tanks are easily accessible to the right of it. There is a large round one and some rectangular ones which have piped water filling them up. I manage to wedge my cup underneath the pipe and pour the water into my bottles. Since it may be hot today I fill enough to have a total of five liters. I had some left which I can put in my bladder and put some Nuun tablets and other drink mixes in the bottled tank water since it tastes a bit earthy. 

The road walk is nice and I don’t see any cars until I take a break in the shade for a snack and a look at the map. It looks like a fish and game or wildlife management car and the driver waves. After that I don’t see any cars for hours. I kind of forget that there may be cars out there and at some point am walking in the middle of the road with my headphones in. Suddenly I realize there is a car patiently behind me. Oops! The driver is nice, I apologize and we chat for a bit. He drives on and then backs up asking if I need any water. I’ve been drinking a lot to make my load lighter but don’t really want to add more weight back on so say I’m all set. While I’m talking with him a small four wheeler pulls up and I chat with the driver and his wife after the first car leaves. They also offer water and now I’m thinking maybe I should just take half a liter or so just to be smart. She gives me about a liter and we chat some more. They actually live here and tell me that there are indeed buffalo in the area. Cool! Just about five minutes after they leave the fish and game lady drives up. It’s like rush hour here at 1:30pm! Haha. She’d seen me on the road yesterday, this morning and now. She also offers water and even a snack but I’m really all set now. It’s nice when people are friendly. We chat some about what I’m doing and then she moves on. 

In the afternoon the heavy pack and sun are getting to me a bit so I break often. Near the junction four miles from the trailhead I find a nice shady spot under a tree and lay down. This shade break is super pleasant and it’s especially nice since I have cell reception and can catch up with Greenleaf some more. 
I decide that getting to the trailhead will be far enough for today. I could push hard and try to get to the Nankoweap trail but then I’d be camping higher up which would be colder again and I’m pretty beat anyways. 
When I pack up from my shade break another small four wheeler drives by, I see him crane his neck in surprise at the sight of me. 
I turn onto the road leading to the trailhead and slowly walk the last four miles. The low afternoon sun is hot on my right side and I pull out my umbrella to shield me. That helps a bit but I’m getting tired of not being able to use my poles. I can kind of fix the umbrella in place on my left with an elastic I have attached but not so much on the right. Luckily there are more and more trees providing shade and I can stash the umbrella in a pocket. 
The last bit of walking is though a burn area and the trailhead is inside it. I don’t want to camp with the barren trees so continue another half mile or so where the trees are nice and green again. I find a camp site and fight the bugs while setting up. It’s a sweet and peaceful spot and I have a partial view over the valley below. I notice that I have cell service again and check in with Greenleaf and Facebook. Since it’s still fairly early I sew up some holes in my long johns and fix the blown out crotch of the Frogg Togg rain pants that Prana had found in the wash a few days ago. 

If all goes according to plan I’ll be in the Grand Canyon tomorrow! Woohooo!!
Ps I just did food inventory and have about twice the amount of food that I need. Ugh. My pack is so heavy but I can’t just dump the food. The big miles of the past few days and the 13 miles less of this alternate saved me a lot of time. I’m carrying about 8 days of food with 4 days left to go. No wonder the pack was so heavy this morning with the 5 liters of water on top of that. Oh boy.  

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