Day 1: On My Way

Map miles: Today: 5.4/Total: 5.4

GPS miles: Today: 5.6/Total: 5.6

Today’s miles sponsored by: Christa

It’s 8:30 pm and I’m snuggled in my new Feathered Friends Sleeping Bag listening to the alternating sounds of the hooting of an owl, the distant noise of highway traffic, and the pattering of light rain tapping my unstaked rain fly as it flaps and flutter in the wind.
Day one has been long but good and refreshing. I slept fitfully last night waking an hour before my 3:30am alarm. After spending an uneasy final night in Seattle finishing packing I felt completely unprepared – for the trail, for leaving my job for 9 weeks- and guilty for leaving Christa for so long. I had a sinking feeling in my stomach that this just wasn’t the right decision. Wasn’t the right timing. 

All cleaned up and ready to hike!


Helen picked me up at 4am and dropped me off at SeaTac for my uneventful flight to Salt Lake City where I had a 5 hour layover. From Salt Lake I hopped on an 8 seat plane for the hour long flight to Moab. I’ve never been on a plane so small before! The majority of that flight was through the white clouds, but our descent added some excitement as we were blown up and down and sideways! A little roller coaster worthy. 

Smallest plane I’ve ever been on.

 

Right after we landed we were greeted by a treat- watching about 20 skydivers jump and float down on their parachutes. At the airport I tanked up on water walked out and down the road. The “official” Hayduke Trail starts at the Salt Creek Road in Arches National Park which can be tricky to get to. In true Hayduke chose your own adventure style, I decided to make my trailhead the Canyonlands Field. This made the logistics so much easier.

Obligatory beginning of trek selfie.

From the airfield I followed the Highway for about a mile and a half before turning off on dirt roads leading up to the Klondike Bluffs Mountain Biking area.

Tumbleweeds along the highway fence.

The Klondike Bluffs area has a long history of mixed uses. It includes fossilized dinosaur tracks and bones, and has been used by Native Americans, miners, cattle ranchers, CCC folks, as a Japanese internment area, and now by mountain bikers and hikers. This has left the accumulation of a lot of historical debris all of which is illegal to remove no matter how mundane or trashy looking.

Historical artifacts.

The roads kept getting more and more primitive- pavement giving way to dirt giving way to sandy 4wheel drive track giving way to cow path until finally I ended up on the slickrock. The red rocks of the Klondike Bluffs, Tower Arch, and the Marching Men are calling in the distance. 

Winding dirt roads

I set up camp on a nice overlook and ate the amazing pizza that Christa made last night for our final dinner- spring mint-pea pesto pizza from the Dishing Up The Dirt cookbook (this is one of our favorite recipe blogs! All very simple and farm to table style. Check it out!)

Campsite #1

My hope had been to camp under the stars as is my general style, but a little bit of rain started to fall and so I set up my tent. I’m glad I did! There’s been intermittent downpour with heavy wind followed by stillness and silence ever since.

A window!

It’s now nearly 9:30- the owls have stopped and the wind is still. A peak out of the tent shows that the sky to the west is filled with stars! Similarly my anxiety about leaving has blown away over the course of the day and I’m feeling much more at peace- still. Calm. And excited for what lies ahead on this grand adventure!

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