Daily Miles: 23
Total Miles: 167
We were happy to wake up to alarms this morning and to dry sleeping bags. It feels so dark when our alarm goes off and it is hard to believe it will be light by the time we have packed up, but it always seems to be timed perfectly. We are ready to go just at the point where a headlamp is no longer needed.
We all said our goodbyes at the beginning of the day and headed down the canyon. Within a few minutes, we saw the slope of the canyon wall mellow out quite a bit and we decided to try to exit the canyon there instead of waiting for the official bailout which was 15 miles down the canyon. We came upon the spot so quickly that Qball and JJ were still in sight.
The climb was pretty reasonable and we even found the skull of a bighorn sheep as we were climbing up. Once we made it to the top of the rim, we had another mile or so to walk before we made it to the alternate, which was a primitive road.
We finally made it to the road around 7:45am. We were back in the flat mesa covered by grass and brush. Looking around, it was impossible to make out that there was a canyon so close by. All we saw was grazing land for cows.
We realized as we were leaving the canyon that we didn’t have as much water with us as we would have liked. We each had only a liter, and our data sheet didn’t show any water on the alternate. The only possibility for water was in about eight miles, where we would need to dogleg back into the canyon. We decided to try to conserve our water, as we were in a really exposed landscape and the sun has been very intense.
We started to pass multiple dry water troughs, but we saw cows out grazing and stayed hopeful that we would find a trough with water on trail, so we could avoid a steep descent and the extra miles into the canyon for water.
Luckily we found a trough with lots of water, where the cows were hanging out. They all ran off when we approached, and we were so happy to be able to fully hydrate ourselves. We took time there to drink up and do some laundry.
As we were packing up and getting ready to keep walking, we saw Qball and JJ walking down the road towards us. We were so surprised, because we didn’t expect to see them for another three days. It turns out that they just decided it was going too slow for them and that it would take them too long to get through the canyon, so they bailed out about six miles further down than us.
The rest of the day continued with the same road walking. We managed to finish the alternate and get back on the regular route. We went another few miles before camping near a cow trough that is full of water. We considered cowboy camping again, but decided at the last minute to put up our tarp, since we are basically camping in a grassy meadow.
Our feet and legs are pretty sore this evening. Walking on a road for so long can really make our bodies feel worse than hiking on a trail. With road walking, the step is the same over and over all day, which is tough. It’s not like walking on a trail, where things are constantly getting mixed up. Hopefully a night of sleep will restore our bodies for another day of walking.