This morning, we started out in the upper bends of Kanab Canyon with high cliff walls and slip of a view of the sky. Hiking just before dawn, we wanted a jump on the heat of the day and knew it would be a bit of a stretch to make it 30-some miles up the way to our cache and next water.
If one keeps putting one foot in front of the other, eventually they’ll turn out of Kanab Canyon, walk up and out of Hack Canyon, and start crossing the Arizona Strip. Rocky wash travel, cruiser wash travel, sandy wash travel. Horse and cattle trails. Old mining roads. Cattle trails.
We crossed miles of water in upper Kanab Creek, we tried not to begrudge the litters on our backs, instead we embraced the bonus water around Chamberlin Canyon. We stopped to sniff the cliffrose and the prickly pear blooms. And just around the time I thought, now this would be a nice place to live, we found evidence that others have liked the area too.
Going up canyon, we gradually ascended the layers of the Grand Canyon. Going from Redwall to Supai to Hermit to Coconino to Toroweap, and last of all the Kaibab limestone at the head of Hack Canyon. The rocks we’ve immersed ourselves with for the last 15 days exchanged for the formations of the Grand Staircase ahead of us across the Strip. Back to the land of Kayenta and Navajo sandstone. That will all be wonderful tomorrow, but in the last miles exiting Hack Canyon it’s bittersweet to leave the lovely rocks of the Grand Canyon.
Until that is, we seek shade amid some sharp Toroweap limestone and I snag and rip the butt of my pants. Good thing the pockets cover the holes. It wouldn’t be a long walk without getting some sort of hole in the seat of one’s pants.
Once out on the Arizona Strip, a truck drives by us. Darn, now we’ve seen people! Just as I was hoping we’d have one last people-less day. The Strip is a grassy stretch of Arizona between the Grand Canyon and the Vermillion Cliffs along the Utah state line. Bunch grasses, sage, pinyon and juniper. A landscape for pronghorn antelope and coyotes. Also a land popular with cattle.
And so we hiked amid a few herds of cattle on our way out to our cache. The evening colors beautiful across the wide horizon with Mount Trumbull a purple silhouette to the southwest. The last miles coming a little late in the day. I pulled out my phone/GPS to figure out our “crow flies” distance to our cache. We’re close. Just a few more miles, we hearken back to our CDT days and the many a road mile that route entails.
At last, we are back to a familiar stretch of road, a familiar tank, and a familiar pair of pinyon trees that mark the home of cache number four. The last of the trip, the first we stashed. Just two months ago we were here, shovel and buckets in hand. The flowers that had just emerge are now past bloom. Our tracks erased.
We dig out our cache and it’s a festive evening! Tasty Bites, coconut milk, green juice, orange cups, and fizzy water. Fresh undies and new socks too.
Tonight we are cowboy camped on Yellowstone Mesa under a juniper and pinyon pine. The sky is wide open and filled with stars.
Day 55: 34.0 miles; 823.7 miles total. Just north of Jumpup Canyon to cache northwest of Yellowstone Spring.
GPS: used for entertainment in the last miles of the day; people sighted: two folks in a truck; roads: there were many road miles once we got to the Hack Canyon gate.