Hi! Whew! Yesterday I finished my last long hike of the 2017: my second thru-hike of the Hayduke Trail. The Hayduke is a scenic but tricky route that goes through Utah, dipping into Arizona to hit all the iconic Colorado Plateau parks. I loved it the first time and immediately upon finishing decided I’d do it again. I was going to hike it in the Spring but things came up (other hikes, taxes, volunteering, work, boys).
I figured I could really switch it up by not only Hayduking in the other direction (eastbound), but Hayduking in the fall. I hiked every day except 4 days between September 22 through November 16, trying to finish before snows. Those days got so short and the nights got cold here and there, but otherwise it was a dream. Just me, trudging thru sand, down wet river beds and dry washes, up and down sandstone cliffs, along cattle trails, straining my neck and tripping over stones while marveling. The Hayduke Trail as created by its authors in the 1990s is much more than meets the eye. I only now feel like I’m starting to understand the area, and noticed SO many things along the way I missed the first time. One could say I’m hooked.
But I don’t want to make it sound like I do it alone because I have gotten very good at asking people for help and accepting help and I do. And they help me. A lot. So, thank you.
Mother, for making me, shaping me, and holding it down as my personal secretary in my absence
Monica & Ron, for babysitting my precious baby van Chief Pete
The Saufleys, for hosting me while I prepared and Donna – for adopting this “know-it-all” as a sister
Sweet Brooke Appler for again driving me to the TH and for breakfast in Moab
Bill Finley in Moab as my #1 Hayduke Hiker fan and for the pineapple curry.
All my lovely customers at Little Package
My awesome web dev clients who made this financially possible, especially Julie Faber and Michael Ferrentino
My Grand Canyon ranger ally, Steve Bridgehouse, for pulling out stops for me yet again!
Protect our National Parks – a last holdout wild refuge
Mike Coronella and Joe Mitchell, authors of the Hayduke Trail; the route can hardly be perfected
Jamal Green at AcrossUtah.com for his inspiration and beta and friendly style – you might have perfected the route
For the rides and trail magic this fall:
Keep in mind these are all strangers who didn’t know much if anything about the Hayduke. That makes our acquaintance that much more magic!
Michael and Sophie for the water and for finding my slippers after that horrid bushwhack, Hillary and her Colorado River run crüe for gourmet riverside dinner, Velvet & hubby for a lift and a cold Coke, English Dan in the creepy-looking van and the two perfect-looking Mormon families for the lift back to the Willis Creek TH, Kay and Ken for water and fresh vegetables, Gary and Jeanine from Teasdale for water and excellent conversation, Jean Michel for water and fruit and salame, Karen and Michael for bars and Dove chocolates, NOLS for dressing my back wounds and for the three pounds of cheese, Dana the inveterate backpacker for the ride to Hanksville the armpit of Utah, Coyote and Derek for the ride in the sweet blue Rubicon back to Poison Spring Canyon from Hanskville, NOLS for agreeing to pack out my trash cuz you were sitting waiting for ration anyway, Richard and Trevor for water and a mini continental breakfast at Needles, nudist Roger for the ride to Moab from the terminus.
For the love:
Water. The friendly people of Utah and Arizona along the trail who stunned me with graciousness despite my odor, the Colorado River and the Colorado Plateau (for not killing me), cattle, bison, sheep, deer, coyote and cats for laying down good tracks, BFF Peter Klarquist, Brandi Bigler (my first hitch and a good friend), my Portland Crüe for staying in touch! For the on-trail love: Shannon, Stevil, Chris, Boone, Love Note & Burly Whites, and my peaceful bunch of IG commenters, likers, and lurkers.
Thank you “big” feet and “thick” ankles; thank you determination and perseverance, thank you curiosity, thank you intuition, thank you fearlessness+caution. You let me explore.
I want to call out a few gear and food items but bear in mind I am not and have never been sponsored. I am self-supported on and off trail, and prefer to not plan ahead or feel beholden.
Zpacks, for selling their fabric, which is… magnanimous. I made my own quilt using their nylon and though tissue thin it has survived several gnarly long hikes. The Zpacks solplex tent exceeded all my expectations and stopped me worrying all night about scorpions. Glad I broke down and dropped that cash.
Chris et al at Ultralight Adventure backpacks – sewn in Utah, they should absolutely be THE Hayduke pack. I prefer the Circuit.
New Balance Leadville for rescuing my feet from Altra hell and for being super sticky on granite and sandstone. Please resume USA manufacture!
Patagucci for the fancy stealth long john set that make me feel rich bitch warm each night even when I smell like farts. Got ’em 40% off!
Sour patch kids
Oh, and thank you Morrissey, Siouxsie, Karin, Olof, Fred, Kate, Cindy, Ricky, Keith, PJ and 50, Goenka
Reading on trail: Craig Childs, Marc Reisner