I am sitting in my tent now after a long 18.8 mile hike and am down to 1 1/2 liters of water I have saved for breakfast and the hike to next water which is 12 miles away. Ray and I came down Lockhart Canyon from the trail to get to the Colorado River and are camped less than a 1/2 mile from the river. But we never got to the river. We tried tonight after setting up camp and spent several hours thrashing through a jungle of tamarask, willow and weeds. A machete would have been nice but the lower part of Lockhart Basin is in Canyonlands National Park so it is not allowed. Not that we would have had a machete with us anyways hiking through the desert. We also tried to follow the Lockhart drainage down where it cuts through the “jungle” to the Colorado River but it turns into a muddy slew with high cutbacks of about 20 feet from a recent flood. Walking through the muddy slough would have meant sinking down to our knees in mud and hiking a ways to the Colorado River.
So now we will chance it to the next water in Indian Creek. There is a very alkaline spring several miles from here but several people have reported getting sick after drinking the water so we plan on carrying a liter from this spring (just in case) but pushing on 12 miles to Indian Creek. I am hoping it is the right decision. You live and die by your decisions out here. I guess it is true for really everything we do in life but the consequences are magnified out here.
Except for the water situation, it was a pretty good day. We left the ATVs behind today as the road becomes essentially impassable for any motorized vehicle until you get to Lockhart Basin.
We did Nic Barth’s Lockhart Cliff alternative which drops over a cliff to avoid a big sweeping turn (and 3.1 miles) around the head of Lockhart Basin.
This alternative looks impossible from the top but you can thread your way over ledges and down to a boulder cave which spits you out onto a few benches right above the Lockhart Canyon jump. If you miss the entrance/crack to the boulder cave, you are cliffed out. It is a cool little route.