Cache day. Kinda like a town day but without a shower, laundry, and the hope of fresh vegetables. Still, caching keeps our packs light and lets us create a water source in dry places. We have four caches along the route. Our one first hidden away in the rocks along Highway 95 in the vicinity of bridge over the Colorado River.
After a good night’s rest in the pinyon grove we headed out for the road walk to Hite, the bridge over the Colorado River, our cache, and the Flint Trail.
Pretty country above the canyons and Colorado River. We could see the snowy Henry Mountains… a little less snowy then when we were caching two weeks ago.
Moenkopi formations, sagebrush, cows, and many a flower in bloom. Spring comes earlier here closer to the Colorado River than higher up the plateau.
We had breakfast in a neat little wind protected spot. Then I got distracted by flowers. But soon enough we crossed the Colorado River (for the second time).
Our cache intact. We had two hours of lounging in the shade. Eating. Drinking green juice, chocolate rice milk, spicy V8, and coconut watet. Eating cups of oranges and packages of Tasty Bites. New maps. Two gallons of water each.
The only downside of our cache was that Gabriel had anticipated new pairs of clean socks. They weren’t in the cache. Sorry Gabriel! I won’t boast about how nice my socks feel. And out here in this dusty country, the clean new feeling only lasts for about an hour.
Loaded up with 20 more pounds than we came in with, we stashed our caches (we will pick up our buckets on our route home). We had three days of food (about 6 pounds) and two gallons of water each (about 16 pounds). With the next potable water 27 miles away. By Hayduke pace, that could be two days…
We slowly adjusted to our weight gain and walked up the road also called the Flint Trail toward Rock Canyon. So many wildflowers! So warm! So heavy the pack! I didn’t stop and stoop to take pictures the way I had in the morning.
As we walked up the road and entered Rock Canyon the wind picked up. We walked through dust devils. The clouds built. A little rain started to fall. Not the most encouraging of conditions. No good camping and at the end of the canyon and we needed to climb up a chimney.
The dark clouds and rain didn’t last. Phew. The wind remained steady, but the sun came out just as we approached the chimney. Fourth class with crummy exposure. Classic fourth class.
At least the hand holds and foot holds felt solid. But with the consequential run out, not a place to climb up with heavy packs. We felt around the chimney and devised our plan: I’d climb up first then Gabriel would divvy the weight in the packs so I could haul them up. I got in the chimney, did a right hip jam, then mantled up. A little tight. Not hard. Being in the chimney gave me a secure feeling. But I was so glad I didn’t have to maneuver up with a pack. We did three hauls. Then up came Gabriel.
The highlight of the chimney for me was that as I climbed up a Bigfoot band-aid peeled off my knee. It fluttered out of my pant leg as I was hauling up the first load. I watched it dance in the wind on the edge of the ledge, knowing I couldn’t reach it. Then it blew off the ledge. I really don’t like littering and try to be consciousness of trash and pick it up whenever I see it. But here I was, unintentionally littering. When Gabriel got to the top, he went around a rock to take a picture of a cactus. Near which, he found my Bigfoot band-aid! It had blown up and around to the cactus. No littering after all!
Our mantra: May we pick up more trash then we leave behind. (Though I still feel bad about my half eaten bar and its wrapper that slid into the Chickamin Glacier many a year ago.)
On top of Rock Canyon, we had less wind. But now it was time to navigate through the Red Benches. Unsure of good camping, we walked a short while and opted for a spot just above the Rock Canyon pour off.
Enjoyed beautiful moon light as we ate our 10 oz Tasty Bite dinners. We were too full to eat them back at the cache, but couldn’t part with our curry and paneer. Now our loads are that much lighter.
Day 11: 19.5 miles; 182.0 miles total. Snug camp near Sundance Trail to camp above Rock Canyon pouroff.
GPS: not used; people sighted: all in cars; roads: it was almost all roads, except up the wash and chimney.