Daily Miles: 15
Total Miles: 27
The wind blew hard overnight and the rain started before we got up in the morning. We hadn’t set a time to leave this morning, so none of us were inclined to get up in the rain. Finally, when someone had to pee, we all decided it was time to get up. The rain was spotty as we packed up, but finally we were starting to walk around 8:15am.
We started the day by hiking through Painted Rocks Canyon. It was really beautiful and, as expected with the name, the rocks where a multitude of bright colors. It was slow going, as there was a lot of scrambling and the rocks were wet from the rain. We got even more wet from having to slide down some big drop offs and absorb the water from the rocks.
We continued to walk in the light rain, and with the cool temperatures, it felt quite chilly at times. We were happy for any uphill hiking in order to warm up our bodies.
We thought we were going to have to walk two miles (round trip) away from the trail after lunch to get more water, but luckily we found some nice water that wasn’t noted on our maps. Perhaps with the recent rains, small pools have been able to collect. In any case, we were happy to be spared the extra miles, especially since the miles seem to come very slowly for us.
After lunch, we walked through an area called Three Fingers, where several canyons join up. It was a really beautiful area. We were surprised to see some stone walls built in that area and possible stone corrals. They don’t seem to be in use anymore, but it just seemed so far from any ranch, they must have had to move the cows a long distance.
The afternoon was a series of cross country climbs as we worked our way up and out of the canyons. The view of our final decent of the day was really remarkable. As far as we could tell, the area is called Juniper Gulch, but there were tons of rock formations coming out of the golden hills. The rocks had very distinct coloring (which made them look like burned marshmallows) and a number of holes in their surface. As we descended into the gulch, it felt at times like we were walking through something from another planet.
Today was a really spectacular day. Even though it rained throughout the day and we were often chilled (SweetPea didn’t take off her windpants until after 3:00 in the afternoon), it was so picturesque and we were always excited to see what was over the next ridge or around the next corner.
We had planned to average just over 17 miles per day on this stretch, but we have yet to make that distance. We are starting to think we might need an extra half day to get into our first trail town, so we have started to save a bit of food from our daily allotment in case it take us longer than expected to finish this first section.