It is raining when we wake up in the morning and I think about how few days it has rained when we have been out on the trail.
This is only the third time in 36 days of hiking on the Hayduke that we have had rain. We have had plenty of windy and cold days though.
Today should be relatively easy and short as long as we can find the old cowboy trail and way through the Coconino Sandstone. We are only about 3 miles away from our vehicle parked at Crazy Jug Point but have to climb up 1500 feet from our camp here on the Esplanade Sandstone. I worry a little about the Hermit Shale turning muddy in the rain and whether there will be exposure through the Coconino Sandstone but that is all part of the adventure.
The cowboys built some nice switchbacks through the crack.
There are signs that this trail was used prehistorically as well with a few pictographs, most likely Cave Valley or Snake Gulch style, painted above an overhang and cave.
Once through the crack, the trail travels across a few scree slopes through the Kaibab Limestone and then up onto the plateau. These routes are marked and and have been used for many years between time and space. For a moment I feel like part of that continuum. Then we are out on top. It is an easy walk to the car from here.