Hayduke Trail Day 10: Antlers and Angels

Daily Neat Beat
Day 10
Total Miles: 22.8

Cumulative Miles: 160.8

Map of Hayduke Trail Day 10 hike through Youngs and Dark Canyon

Ray and I are good checks on each other. If either one of us has an insane idea usually the other person helps bring the other person back to reality. So last night when Ray said “what? You don’t know if Dark Canyon goes through between Woodenshoe and Young’s Canyon?” “Well yeah”, I said, “but it looks like it does on the map.” The canyon has some tight meanders with steep walls but the contours on the topo map in the drainage look far enough apart. So I had this part of the canyon in our alternate route plan.

The Hayduke Trail encourages alternate routes but I was unable to get any beta on the Salt Creek/Dark Canyon alternative. The Nic Barth gpx routes and the Andrew Skurka data bundle both have alternative routes and suggestions but neither one of them has this alternative. I had heard mention of this alternative but the only other information out there are some maps and routes created by Li Bransfor. Supposedly he has made some great maps but now has requested they not be shared. So in the Hayduke spirit, I made my own route connecting Salt Creek in Canyonlands and Dark Canyon in the Dark Canyon Wilderness.
Ray comes up with an alternative plan to our alternative route that would have us cross the north bench high Mesa and drop into Young’s Canyon which then connects to Dark Canyon lower down.  It makes sense that we take this route instead. 
View into Youngs Canyon

It is frigid when we wake up in the morning. We are at 8600 feet elevation and even though it is springtime it is still winter up high. The frigid wind is blowing hard and we have all our layers of clothes on. I hold on to a corner of the tent while Ray tries to fold it. It is flapping so hard and really wants to blow down the road. Eventually we take off hiking in the snow and mud on the road which is at least frozen now. It must have gotten down in the mid 20s last night.

Hiking in the snow at 8600 feet

We spend most of the day hiking across the high bench. We actually see several other people out here. We stop and talk with two guys on ATVs that are out here collecting antlers. I’m sure they think we are insane. I first try to explain the Hayduke Trail but they understood it better when I said we were in Canyonlands yesterday and are hiking to Zion National Park. One guy says well you must have some special warm sleeping bags. Yeah it was a cold day. 

A huge set of antlers collected by the guy we spoke with. Quite impressive!

One of the ATV guys dressed in camoflage and a hat with ear flaps offers us some crackers and cheese. This is the Hayduke version of a Trail Angel I think to myself. A “Trail Angel” is a person who supports thru hikers on their long journey. On the John Muir Trail, we heard of Trail Angels going up to Evolution Lake and setting up a taco stand. On the Colorado Trail we had Trail Angel Apple who had a tent with water, soda and snacks for thru hikers in a very dry section of the trail. Each trail has it’s own personality. So, yeah, a guy on an ATV in camoflauge offering us his crackers and cheese is the Hayduke version of a Trail Angel.

Because we had camped last night without water we need to find some today. Around noon, we take a 1/2 mile detour to a spring marked on the map as Sweet Alice Spring. 
Sweet Alice Spring was not sweet for us. It was bone dry.

We find an old BLM field camp with a building,  propane tank and pit toilet but no water. The spring is dried up. This is a little disheartening. Drier times in the southwest has meant things are changing. We are able to collect a few liters of water from some potholes in the sandstone from the recent rain. It will get us through the night in a pinch but we need to find water soon. I did not have coffee with my breakfast this morning and we are both a little dehydrated.

We push on and get to the top of Young’s Canyon. We hike for 22.8 miles to get to another spring marked on the map that is dry. Luckily we find more pothole water from the recent rain. We are thankful for that.
Finally we are dropping into Youngs Canyon after 22 miles of hiking
Our water source for the night



  1. Greetings dear friends, your day 5, second to last photo of Lockhart Cliff alternative–called “boulder cave” is striking; the dark silhouette of the cave (sort of) resembles ET, the image of adventure! Hoping you were both ok after emergency alkaline spring retrieval that day. Words like live and die really give us a sense of how much we depend upon successful location of water. I wondered if water images visit the dream-time?
    Here it is, March 30th and your ‘sense of place experience’ marches on; and on the other hand, you are upon it. Mentioned on your home page is a wish to offer us all a “sense of place.” That concept has been used widely by universities and journal discussions re: all kinds of environments, even environmental psychology (what is that exactly?).
    Review of an article, Sense of place in Environmental Education Research (Kudryavtsev, Stedman, Krasny, 2012), brought clarity by adding to a sense of place–our attachment, place meanings and relationship between place attachment & meanings. It described our being influenced by these factors as means of instruction toward environmental education. I liked it for the language; it aided my understanding of the psychological experience of adventure, solitude, and what appears to be a natural propensity to discover place meaning. Thanks for demonstrating this sense of place in ways I had never anticipated!
    ‘Sense of place’ in Day 10–you mention that each of you offer “Good checks on each other (what?–you don’t know if Dark Canyon goes through….?)” and Trail Angels. Two richly contrasting experiences—do doubt. That demonstrated to me a sense of vulnerability but also an opportunity for finding meaning in environments beyond academia; they march right into the collective psyche, after all, you began with a sense of not ‘knowing’ and trail angels showed up. Thanks for blogging the rich details of your adventures dear Kerrie—our senses are enriched!

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