Daily Miles: 26
Total Miles: 1623
It was a very warm night and when we got up at 5:00am, it was warm enough that we didn’t need any jacket or mittens. Given how warm it was at that time, we figured it was good that we were getting such an early start since we had nine miles to water and we each had a bit less than two liters of water.
We started walking at 5:30am, which meant that we had about an hour of walking with our headlamps before it would be light enough to turn them off. It was really nice to be walking at that time of the morning…it was completely silent and still. We could see so many stars in the sky and then got to see the sky gradually lighten up.
We were thankful for the plentiful cairns this morning, so we could easily follow the trail without having the ability to see too far in front of us.
As it got light out and we could see our surroundings more, we realized that we were back on a mesa, walking along the rim. We immediately had good views with the light.
The area we walked through today was really unique…there were a lot of really interesting rock formations…different colors and layers. These interesting areas were separated by more mundane desert landscapes. All in all, though, we really liked the scenery today. Even the ground was pretty cool…black and rust colored rock bits sprinkled over the tan sand made for a interesting look.
The warmth in the morning was indeed a predictor of what the day would be like…very hot! We felt like we were baking in the sun all day. Most of the time we were completely exposed to the sun. We would duck into the shade of a juniper from time to time, but when we were walking, we were always in the sun.
We made it to our first water source by 9:00am. We were able to get our water from the spigot, which is the dream, because the water is untainted by cows. From there, we had to carry water for 15 miles. Since it was so hot, we decided to carry a bit extra. We didn’t make it the next water source until dinner.
According to our maps, we expected to get back into trees around 25 miles in for the day. However, when we reached that spot, there were only junipers. We kept walking for over a mile (and a steep climb) until we finally got high enough that we found some pinyon pines that we could hang from. We were glad to find them, since it was already 7:15pm and we knew our daylight would soon be gone.
It has been a long and tiring day. We are happy to be in our hammocks, ready to be asleep.