Hayduke Trail – Day 11 (24 miles)
After yesterday afternoons problem of not finding the way down the cliff, I was a bit worried getting up this morning.
After a bit of searching I found a route that was fairly steep but relatively straightforward. I was down. I walked along the creek bed for about half a mile and then turned to skirt along the bottom of the cliff I just descended.
I was heading for Swap Canyon, but first I ducked down into another canyon to get some much-needed water. I filled up 3 litres and drank 2 straight away.
Two problems solved this morning.
I climbed straight out the other side of the canyon and headed for Swap a few miles further on. When I got there, I tried a few side washes into the canyon but kept getting cliffed out. I found one that went on my third attempt.
Swap turned out to be an easy walk on a nice, flat dry creek bed. Along the way, I passed a couple of very small springs. At the second one, I wanted to fill up as I was facing a 20-mile dry stretch. The tiny flow was too small to use so I dug a little hole.
I kept on following Swap down until it opened out onto the Grand Gulch, a massive valley that runs along the eastern boarder of Capital Reef NP.
Here I got on a rather high use dirt road and used it to get up Burr Canyon. I continued to walk up as a few cars drove past, watching me rather curiously.
When I got to the top I turned off the road and went down into Mukey Twist Canyon. I spent the rest of the afternoon in awe. The canyon was magnificent, with caves, slot canyons and some of the most impressive sandstone walls I’ve ever seen. The walls of the canyon were vertical and were so slick and smooth.
At first, I walked with a lady who was out for a day hike. We chatted for a little while before she wanted to slow down and I wanted to speed up. For the rest of the afternoon, I wasted battery taking so many photos. If you are ever near Capitol Reef NP make sure you come check Lower Mukey Twist Canyon out. It is approx. 20 miles from one trailhead to the other and would make an excellent overnighter). I walked till dusk and watched the setting sun light up the rocks all around me.