Hayduke Trail Day 21: Monday Canyon on a Monday

Daily Neat Beat
Day 21
Total Miles: 16.8
Cumulative Miles: 368.4
Map of Hayduke Trail Day 21: up over Fiftymile Bench, on the Kaiparowits Plateau and down into Monday Canyon

For a long time I have wanted to hike the Kaiparowits Plateau. The Kaiparowits Plateau is a banded cliff and mesa that parallels the Escalante River for about 50 miles.

 

Hiking on ATV road towards the Kaiparowits Plateau above and parallel to the Escalante River
It rises above the Hole-in-the-Rock road people use to access the canyons in the Escalante drainage. Everyone focuses on the canyons and slots and virtually no one looks up and says what’s up there? Can I get there?
Can I get there is part of the crux. There are very few ways to get up on the Fiftymile Bench and on to the Plateau.  We take one of them today.
The way up through the cliff bands to the Kaiparowits Plateau is in front of me and a little to the right where the landslide has broken through.

We start off at the Hurricane Wash Trailhead we came out of two days ago but instead of heading into the Escalante canyons we turn west towards Fiftymile Bench. There is an ATV Trail we start off on that goes mostly straight up to a bench where there has been recent work to create earthen dams in several of the drainages to water cows. Pretty soon we are on a pack trail that also follows the angle of repose through a break in the cliff. We climb over 3000 feet in less than two miles and then are above the cliff bands on a flat sandy bench full of sagebrush and juniper pines. 

On top of Fiftymile Bench
It feels remote up here I think as I look down on Coyote Gulch and think of all the people down there.
Looking back down towards the Escalante Drainage from the Fiftymile Bench and Kaiparowits Plateau

We hike for another mile and a half to Mudhole Spring which will be our last water for about 30 miles.  There is an old line cabin there and a pipe buried in soil coming out from the spring. It is a small clear trickle. We take the time to fill up eight liters of water each. 

Ray collecting water from Mudhole Spring
We have water filters to filter out any pathogens and bacteria. BLM clearly does not want to be liable for anyone drinking this water.

The packs are now a lot heavier as we have just added 17.6 additional pounds of weight. Kaiparowits Plateau has remained untouched partly because of access and lack of water.

Red-naped Sapsucker near Mudhole Spring

We cross country from Mudhole Spring to Monday Canyon. Hey and we are here on a Monday! But Monday Canyon doesn’t care as she throws us her challenges with pouroffs and house-sized square blocks of sandstone.

Boulder jam in Monday Canyon
Typical view in Monday Canyon
It is a beautiful canyon but very slow going as we start hiking down canyon. We finally stop and make camp on a sandy ledge before another pour off we will need to hike around. We will save that one for the morning!
Camp in Monday Canyon


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