Day 62, 7 miles or so, Lee Pass
I lazy around in the morning. I know none of the other hikers will wake up early so no need to rush if I’m to have a ride from them. I’m still the first to leave the campground and discover there is a big variety in campsites. Number one to three are far away from the area I’m at and much dryer. I think mine was pretty stellar.
The sandy trail makes way for more firm trail and it’s easy walking again. I’m going against the grain as day hikers and backpackers are starting their trip down to the creek. I chat with one girl who has hiked the PCT and is now doing a Zion traverse. I ask her to say hi to Brenna and Nicole if she sees them.
After my climb up to the road I’m trying to hitch for a bit but no dice. Three ladies are enjoying the view and taking a selfie. As I’m not doing anything I offer to take their picture. We chat for a bit and they are on their way to the next viewpoint.
Suddenly I hear Brenna and Nicole! Hurray!!! We all made it!! It’s so good to see them and to celebrate!!!
We are now three hitching which may not be the best number but at least it helps me from having a hitching meltdown. A nice guy offers to drive us to the visitor center where there may be more cars and at least cell service so we could call a shuttle company if needed.
After trying to hitch together for a bit Nicole says it’s probably smarter to hitch separately to have smaller numbers. Of course she’s right but hitching alone is less fun. They move down a little ways and as luck would have it, the ladies I took a picture of pull over and are willing to take me to St George. Hurray!!! Unfortunately there is only room for one so my friends will have to hitch for a bit longer.
The nice ladies drop me off at a motel but they’re not checking in yet so I go to the Denny’s for a breakfast skillet. Yum! While I’m there I’m able to figure out travel plans. There are no early morning shuttles available from St George to Las Vegas so I decide to take one of the available evening ones today and stay in a motel in Vegas instead. Greenleaf moves up my flight a day and huzzah I’m all set to go home!
Brenna and Nicole got a ride about twenty minutes after I did and are staying in a motel a few minutes away from Denny’s. I ask if I can use their shower so I won’t stink up the shuttle bus. Luckily they say yes. They are the best!
The it’s really time to say goodbye and Brenna drives me to shuttle bus location (they picked up Nicole’s car). I’m grateful not having to walk the .8 mile since it’s so hot out. I would have been frying!
Since this is the cheap hour of travel I splurged and got the front seat for $5 extra. So much more comfy than the last time I took this shuttle!
I walk from the airport to my motel which is less than two miles away. I’m in Las Vegas. Very odd. Home tomorrow!!!
Day 61, 18 miles, La Verkin creek
I awake early and check out the Lava point overlook again. The sunrise isn’t amazing but the viewpoint is still very cool. I chat some with two guys and then am on my way back down to the trail.
The first section is smooth sailing. Beautiful trail, good views, nice water sources.
I talk with a lady who is taking a break next to the trail and she mentions that the ‘subway’ is nearby. It sounds like a cool place to hike to. I decide to check it out but I’ve already descended quite a bit when I realize it’s a lot more downhill and distance so probably not a good idea to add that to my day. The 1/2 mile I did hike got me out on a neat white slope with some nice views so it’s all good.
I continue on the so called ‘connector trail’ and it’s so cool. A little bit more red rock formations now with grass and some snowy peaks in the distance. So different from this morning’s pine forest.
I cross a road and the trail becomes very sandy. I’m descending into Hop Valley now which is beautiful but the trail continues to be very sandy and it’s getting warmer out. I have to cross a little stream several times. I’m getting pretty tired. What happened to the beautiful easy trail? Haha.
Eventually I climb up and over a hill and make it to La Verkin creek valley. I got a permit for a camp site here yesterday and it’s lovely. I get there at 4 pm and crash for a few hours before I check out Kolob arch nearby. After all the arches I’ve seen on this trip it’s not that impressive but hey, I guess I’m pretty spoiled.
I’m hoping that Nicole and Brenna will show up this evening. I must have passed them sometime yesterday without realizing it. I haven’t seen their footprints today. I’m bummed they’re not here. Would have been fun to celebrate our last evening on the trail.
Day 57, 15 miles, short creek
Unbelievable, it got down to freezing again last night! My water hose is frozen and there is frost on the grass. I hadn’t expected that at 5000 ft.
Also unexpected is the fact that one of the earbuds of my headphones is missing. It appears to be chewed off. The other one is still there but also damaged. I guess there really was a critter milling around last night and I wasn’t imagining things. It must have been just as sad as I am that there wasn’t any food up for grabs. Haha. Let’s hope they have new ones at the market today.
I put on all my clothes plus the Frogg Togg pants Prana found in the wash a ways back and my very worn rain jacket. It’s just that cold again. Once the sun comes out things warm up a bit too much for me. I had hoped to keep on my long layers so I wouldn’t show as much skin in Colorado city. A few miles along on the highway I start overheating however so I’m back to my summer dress again.
The Bee’s Market is just at the edge of Colorado City and a good place for resupply. Since there don’t seem to be any restaurants in town I buy some muffins and hot coffee. I’m so happy to see the hot coffee! I also buy all my food for the resupply and yoghurt and a fruit juice to consume right away. I repack outside in the blazing sun while I’m wearing the long sleeve shirt and long johns I had put back on to be conservative and blend in more with the ladies with all the long skirts. I’m also catching up with Greenleaf and Facebook and friends.
(Things I try to only eat on trail…)
(The healthier stuff.)
I realize I forgot to buy toilet paper so go back in but they don’t sell singles. I pick up a pack of four and want to leave three behind. The lady at the register is nice enough to find me a single roll but it’s ginormous. I stick with the pack of four and offer the other three to the customer behind me. She’s happy to take them of my hands. Problem solved!
I’d also bought a big can of cold coke and find a shadier spot to update my journal. I sit under a nice tree for a while when I notice the no loitering sign in front of the store. I’ve been here for an hour at least! Too funny.
I finally walk on walking and talking on the phone using the new headphones with microphone. I must look like one of those crazy people talking to themselves. But hey it makes the roadwalk a lot more enjoyable. I even get to talk to my mom for quite a bit. I have to hang up on her however when my bladder is finally catching up on all the drinks I’ve been downing in the last hour. Luckily there is a Dollar Store with a bathroom right there.
I now vaguely remember reading somewhere that there would be a dollar store here but I’d forgotten. I wish I hadn’t, this place is a lot cheaper for snacks! The owner lets me use the bathroom but lets me know that I can’t wash or brush my teeth in there. Apparently they once had a butt naked guy in the restroom and now they don’t want people lingering and washing. Okiedokie, understood. Otherwise it’s a nice guy. He tells me there is a pizza place and bakery in town. What?? I’ve been loitering at the supermarket and there is a bakery in town?? Oh boy.
I’m now determined to get some pizza. Even though I stuffed my face at the grocery store I can’t not have pizza before leaving town. It’s against thru hiker code. Seriously.
Town is interesting with a bunch of dilapidated buildings and big fences but there is a side walk which I’m excited about. Just across from the post office is the promised bakery/pizza place and it’s great! I’m not sure how much I can eat so start with one slice. It goes down well. Another slice then and a cup of hot tea. I have some fun conversations with the girl who works there and another customer. The customer is trying to set up a brewery in town but it’s tough with the Mormon community working against him.
I enjoy this nice place sipping my tea and updating my journal on Trailjournals as well. It was a bit behind from the WordPress one. When I’m finally done with that I order a piece of cheese cake to go and am ready to continue hiking.
I’ve seen a few more people in less conservative dress in town and had gotten hot so packed the long johns away. To my surprise I get whistled at. Really? I haven’t shaved my legs in two months, they look burly and I haven’t showered in a week. Yeah I feel very attractive. Not.
Now I’m back to feeling self conscious again and I see some cars slowing down and one of them stopped after passing me. When I near him he drives on. I’d put the long johns back on but it’s so dang hot out. Ugh.
I’m happy to get to the trailhead and start hiking down the wash. It’s the Squirrel creek trailhead so I think the split between Water canyon and Short creek is here. I don’t think too much about it and start walking down the canyon. It gets prettier the further I get in. At some point I see a road on my left and am confused. That doesn’t match with what I remember from the map. Oops! I’m in Water canyon! I have to back track and probably wasted about half an hour. At least it was pretty in there.
Now back on track, I criss cross the creek and get wet feet once again. I’m a bit zapped from all the excitement today and hanging out in the sun at the supermarket. It also looks like it might rain tonight so when I find a nice place to set up my tent I’m calling it good.
I finally take the time to add up the miles left until the end. I bought food based on Buck30’s days without thinking too much about it. As it turns out I totally messed up there. I must have included the zero day he took. I’m actually much closer to Zion than I thought! Which means I should have enough time to hike the Zion extension to Lee’s pass and I have enough food to get there. I’m excited!!
There is also much excitement going on in my stomach. All that food and the drinks are cooking up a storm.
Day 55, 27.5 miles, hack canyon
I think I got kissed by a frog last night. Something wet landed on my face and then jumped off. Yuck! Otherwise the camp site was lovely.
The walking is a bit easier this morning and it’s so pretty. The creek runs dry a little ways in and it’s such a weird eerie sight. Same canyon but super dry, it feels like a boulder graveyard. Sounds echo and are not drowned out by rushing water.
To my surprise it’s starts running again a few miles later. Wet feet once again. I have lunch next to the stream and it’s lovely. Brenna and Nicole haven’t caught up and I don’t see them again.
Now there are some horse trails to follow which makes the going a lot faster and I’m at the Hack Canyon turn off before I know it. There is some sort of trail through most of it. And there is a spring as well. Only thing is, my notes say it’s radio active so I better not drink that water. I wonder about the cows around here though. They are obviously drinking it, how does that affect them? And what does it do their milk or meat? Mmmm…
Eventually I make it to a dirt road and a register. Cheetah is now a day ahead, he’s moving fast again. I push on so I’ll be close to my water cache at Hack reservoir and hopefully will make it to Colorado city before I’m out of food. Rations are getting pretty low.
I find a bit of gravel to sleep on in the dark, and interesting place to sleep but it’ll do.
Day 54, 14 miles, shower bath springs
I start hiking around 5:30 am to hopefully beat the harsh sun getting over the ‘most tedious boulder field ever’ as it’s labeled on the map. The hiking is indeed slow over boulders but at least it’s not nerve wrecking. I actually expected worse after that description and the one in the guidebook.
There is definitely something blooming in the canyon that I’m reacting to. I’m congested again like I was earlier in the canyon. I take some anti congestion medicine and it seems to be working. At least I seem to be breathing a little easier.
While I’m careful not to trip and twist my ankle on the rocks I completely miss the snake who is curled up asleep on my path. I see him when I’m stepping over him. Eep!
Brenna and Nicole catch up with less than a half mile of bouldering to go and we have lunch at the Kanab Rapids. It’ll be our last break at the Colorado River so I soak up the view.
There is a big motor raft beached but nobody is around. I keep hoping for Pringles (I’ve heard it’s a rafting staple) but no such luck. Perhaps if we had waited ten more minutes for the boat man to return from his swimming hole we could have had some. He seemed really nice and asked us if we needed anything but by that time we were already in Kanab Canyon. Haha.
Kanab Canyon is a beauty but it’s also slow going. We criss cross the creek many times and have to find our way around giant boulders. The water is warmer than the Colorado River and we go swimming. I’m finally hiking with others who like swimming! Woohooo!! It’s been cloudy all morning which has been great for our time along the Colorado but now it’s getting hotter so the swim is nice and refreshing. It’s so good that I do another quick dunk a while later.
All the hiking today has been tough going but so beautiful! We end up at Showerbath Springs which is flowing well. The water is coming down from a giant overhang and ferns are abundant. It’s gorgeous.
To get there there is one last obstacle. Brenna offers to get my pack so I can climb it. Without my pack I instead elect to wade around. The water is a little deeper than I anticipated however and I end up full on swimming around the giant boulder. Wheeee!!! A little chilly at the end of the day.
Since I’m soaked already I pose for a picture underneath the shower bath springs. After the sun goes down the frogs go crazy and I’m currently listening to a very loud choir of frog songs. Yowza!
Day 53, 19.5 Miles, fishtail rapids
It’s sooo cold in the morning! It must have been around freezing again.
We continue the road walk and soon lose the snow. I thought there would be water at a mapped water tank but the cows are gone and there is no water. Luckily we all have some left from last night’s puddle.
The last road we’re on is all cleaned up and driveable and we see one car drive by and a few parked at and several overlooks. At the first overlook we chat with the people there. They have a nice setup to sleep in their car and their view is amazing. We snap some photos and ask if they have some water to spare. Luckily they do and now we enough to get us to Deer springs close to the bottom of the canyon. We don’t know how hot is going to be so we’re happy with the extra.
We arrive at the Bill Hall trail which is the trail we’ll be taking down. There is a sign which has photos and descriptions of two missing hikers. I heard that they were swept away at Tapeats creek. It gives me the chills. Those poor people.
We continue to a nice viewpoint and have a snack. It’s weird to go down to the Canyon again. Yesterday I was pretty sure I was going to roadwalk all the way to Colorado City but this morning I was feeling good and ready to take the trail again. It’s funny what some easier hiking, food and good company can do.
The Bill Hall trail turns out to be a really cool trail. It has a long section of slick rock and we even see a condor. It’s flies very close to us. So cool!
We find a nice shady overhang for lunch which is great since it is getting hot again. The wildflowers are abundant. Pinks, orange, yellow.
When we get to Deer springs I’m impressed. It looks like a giant water fall flowing straight out of the rock. Very powerful flow.
We’ve seen some hikers today and there are a bunch camping down here. It’s a beautiful spot and it gets even better when we walk on. There are narrows with the creek flowing through to the Colorado River. We walk along on ledges and peer down to the water below. At some point it’s so deep down and narrow that I can’t even see the water anymore.
Back at the Colorado we have to find our way on game trails to Fishtail Rapids. Once we find the trail it’s not that challenging but getting there has us go on a steep gravel slope and I’m terrified of slipping. I hope there is actually an easier way to get up there but for now I’m glad we survived.
I did have a run in with a cactus. Ouch!
We get to a little beach at Fishtail Rapids just before dark and I’m pooped. That was a long day of hiking!