Hayduke Trail – Day 6

Hayduke Trail – Day 6

I was so cold last night. The condensation on my sleeping bag was the most I’ve ever experienced. My bag got so wet that most of the down became useless and, on top of this, the temperature was around freezing. I’m not even sure why it got so wet, I had a decent camp spot that should not have had excess moisture.

When my alarm went off I really did not want to get up. I put it off for 10 minutes and got up anyway. I packed my wet gear up and then hit the trail.

I had about 2 miles of front county trail and then a short jeep road walk to get back into the Hayduke.

I walked about a mile to a water tank the Ranger told me off last night. On the way there I passed some of Canyonlands NP’sbest features. Looking right there was a big canyon with rock spires all around it, while on my left was an open basin with odd rock formations sticking out randomly.

The water tank was dry! Damm. The ranger assured me it would have water. The next source that I know of is 14 miles away and then another reliable source 4 miles further on. Or I could go back 10 miles to the Ranger Station.

I had just over 1L, and I sat down trying to decide what to do. The road that linked up to the Hayduke continued on to the first water source. It also took a slightly more direct line. I decided to take this option, rather than the unknown, off-trail wash.

I continued along the trail and then hit the road. The road was marked as closed. I ignored this as I thought that it would be referring to a washed out or rutted section that a 4WD could not pass.

The next few hours passed slowly. The path was through a wide open canyon that was not the most interesting. I was also worried that the next water would be dry, and tossing up options that I had of it was.

I stopped for a short break and started the process of drying my sleeping bag. I then continued on to water.
About a mile from the water I turned off the road and went cross-country. As I got close, I found a cow path and followed it. It leads straight over a rise, down a gully and then to a patch of green trees and grass.

When I got there the pipe from the spring was dry, but there were two troughs almost full. There was some algae in it but was fairly clean.

Once full of water, and with a dry sleeping bag I continued on (actually on the Hayduke). The next couple of hours was following a wash downhill until I hit another jeep road.

I followed the road for a very short while and then hit a trail that was not indicated on my map. It was heading in the direction that I wanted to go so I followed it.

It was heading to and then around Gypsum Canyon into the Fable Valley Wash. As I followed the trail, I was in awe of Gypsum Canyon. A huge, vertical-walled canyon that I could see wind its way to the Colorado River.

I then dropped down into Fable Valley. I only had a few miles in the wash, but it turned out to be an absolute pain. The valley was overgrown with plants.

At one point I was on the wrong side of the creek but could not get through as the plants were so thick. I turned around and went back about half a mile until I could get past.

Although the plants continued, the next real challenge I faced was a 40ft (13m) drywall. I went up the side just before it, pushing through a dense section of oak trees.

I’ve hardly seen trees on this trail, yet this valley has more than the rest of the trail combined.

At the top of the drywall, I decided to take an alternative route. It had a harder climb but at least I would get out of the shrubs.

The climb turned out easier than described, and I reached the top without a problem. It was almost 7 pm and I decided to call it a day. I found a spot tucked under a couple of trees to hopefully mitigate any chance of dew like last night.

What a challenging day that turned out to be!

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