Day Twenty-Three: Cross Country in the Canyons

Map Miles: Today: 17.1/ Total: 357.7

GPS Miles: Today: 19.8/ Total: 384.6

Today’s Miles Sponsored By: Tommy, Laura, Kristi

I won’t lie, today was rough. It’s Easter, and it’s my fourth day on trail completely alone. Which isn’t surprising – the entire day was cross country travel in some pretty obscure, and frankly not very picturesque canyons.

I struggled with moving all day. The map notes said my campsite last night was the last reliable water for 30 miles so I left with a full 7 quarts. Combined with the 6 days of food in my pack, it was pretty heavy and sat very awkwardly on my back. The shifting weight made the walking difficult and I just felt off balance all day.

The route wasn’t much of a help either. The first two canyons of the day were brushy and filled with loose ankle twisting rocks. I could never really quite find my footing. Ion Monday Canyon alone I fell probably 7 or 8 times. It made for just a super slow day.

All in all I went through 3 canyons today.

First- Monday Canyon. 

Huge boulders filled the middle of Monday Canyon

Forested for most of its length early on and then filled with boulders for the lower half. This was the most mentally challenging one, whether because it was first or longest, I don’t know. I nearly broke down around noon when I still had two miles left to go in the canyon and realized I’d been moving at less than one mile per hour.

Second- Rogers Canyon

I’m carrying 7 quarts of water and find this?!

There was a creek! A full flowing creek for nearly the entire length of the canyon. So much for carrying 30 miles of water. Boulders and tamarisk abounded through here too, but the way was slightly easier as there were some old cattle trails to follow some of the time.

Third- Navajo Canyon

Finally some easy walking

I didn’t reach here til 5:30, but what a difference! Hard packed flat dirt bottom, no brush ( not much surrounding vegetation at all in fact) . If only the rest could have been like this! That said I only made it 3 miles up canyon. The walls kept getting steeper and I was afraid of being Cliffed out of a flat campsite. That’s gonna make for a long day tomorrow.

It’s also been a very lonely day. Particularly thinking about the holiday. One of the things that I loved about the PCT was the communal aspect of the trail. But there is no community out here on the Hayduke because there’s no one really out here. I miss that comraderie and companionship. But at the same time appreciate the solitude and the wildness of the place. It’s very much a double edged sword.

Trying to think more positively, There were a few good things about today:

1) horses! Early on I saw them up on the Mesa top before dropping into Monday Canyon. Are they wild? Domesticated? They definitely weren’t fenced or hobbled.


2) butterflies! There were butterflies flittering and fluttering around up and down trail all day. It always brightened my mood a bit when I saw one.

3) bright stars! They’re always a highlight.

Crickets Serenade for sleep tonight. Hoping for more positivity tomorrow.

Flat camp.

2 thoughts on “Day Twenty-Three: Cross Country in the Canyons

  1. Ellen Kaisse says:

    Hey, better too much water than not enough!
    Hope things get better for you today.
    (And for what it’s worth, even the non-picturesque canyons look pretty darn picturesque in your photos.)


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