I’ve been waking up at 3 am to write my blog. We have been getting to bed before 9am so usually I have had enough sleep. Today I am groggy and tired as I lay curled up in my sleeping bag with my phone. I wonder if you want to sleep more when you are dehydrated? Though I’ve never seen any research or data to support this, it makes sense that your body would slow down to conserve itself if you are getting limited water intake.
The Henry Mountains are pretty remote. They were the last mountain range to be added to a map of the lower 48 states in 1872 and are known by the Navajos as the “mountain whose name is missing”. We started up from desert at around a 4,000 foot elevation and climbed up to an alpine ecosystem at 9,600 feet and down the other side of the mountain range to 6,500 feet. 23.3 miles and over a mile in vertical elevation, mainly to get to water.
It was quite beautiful in a way; going up through all the ecological zones. We started hiking around 7am and by noon reached pine trees and Crescent Creek which is supposedly a dependable water source.
It was clear and cold but was a trickle. We filled an extra 1 1/2 liters here which put us both at 3 1/2 liters each. We could have filled up all our seven liters each, had we known, but we had information on water sources along the way that turned out to be dry. Crescent Creek was the last water we saw all day and we hiked 23.3 miles today.
We planned to camp at Sweetwater Canyon on the west side of the Henry Mountains and by most accounts was dependable. We also thought that because it is still early spring, some sources that don’t have water later still have water in early spring.
But not this year and not this climate. The Colorado Plateau is in a extreme drought and the Colorado River Basin is expected to have one of its driest spring runoff seasons on record. These conditions are scary. Well we are camped at Sweetwater Canyon and there is no Sweetwater here.
Ray and I discuss our options. There are three cow tanks and several springs we will pass by tomorrow. Our worst case is we hike 24 miles to our food (and water) cache at the Burr Trail. This will be really tough with how hot it has gotten and the distance which we would have to go on one liter after being dehydrated the day before. Wish us well. I am going back to sleep to dream about water….