A journey begins not with the first step, but with the desire to go where you have never gone.
0 hiking miles
Our plan to get to my car and stash the loot, went off without a problem. The men that gave us rides were kind, talkative, and very informative. After quick good-byes and downing a Dr. Pepper (gasp!!!!) I started the new adventure to get home.
My Thoughts on the Hayduke
During my short vacation on the Hayduke route I experienced: a long car shuttle, bitter cold night-time temps, warm nights, cold and warm days, many stream crossings, bushwhacking, sunny days, cloudy days, rain, snow, and high winds, blowing sand, red dirt, fine sand, pine trees, junipers, and sage, high elevation, dodged many a cacti, low elevation, trail walking, 4WD road walking, cross-country walking, walked on snow, climbed up and over rock ledges, slippery sandy rocks and red dirt, saw lots of petrified wood, took a quick dip in a cold, clear stream, hauled packs up class 3 and 4 rock chimneys, redirected off an intended route, dodged falling rock, lugged 6 liters of water, experienced the generosity of strangers, resupplied food and water, and throughly enjoyed just being outside, walking, and the companionship of 2 very experienced and fun hikers.
Not bad for a week? Huh?
Of course I will have to go back.
Here are my 2 cents for upcoming section or thru-hikers of the Hayduke:
-It helps to be very comfortable with class 3 climbing (hand holds) before this trip. If you are uncomfortable with heights, this trip might not be a great idea.
-Sand will play havoc on most of your gear: zippers, electronics, clothing etc. Put everything in ziplocks and seal them up every time. I didn’t always seal them up.
-Hauling packs up and over all kinds of textures will play havoc not only on the pack, but all items on the outside of the pack. Stash everything inside before hoisting that pack up.
-Sand will pack into your shoes, some shoes more than others. Perhaps a gortex trail runner might help.
-Be very comfortable with maps, navigation, and GPS before hitting this route.
-Prepare for extreme cold and heat.
-Be ready for all types of weather.
-Feel comfortable setting your tent up in deep sand with blowing winds. The V-stakes I carry really saved me.
-Make your pack as light as possible, because you will be hauling more liters of water than is comfortable and you will be carrying that heavy pack up and over class 3 ledges.
-Sharp plants are everywhere. Be very careful where you set your pack down.
-It can get super cold early season in the desert at night in some of the oddest places, deep deep cold. Bring a warm sleeping bag at least 15 degree and perhaps a warmer pad such as the Neo Air XTherm, and warm socks or down booties.
I really, really tried to cut down on weight for this trip. I labored over each item I put into my pack. In the end, I left behind: camp shoes, ground cloth, food cozy, Zpacks pillow cover (I used my BUFF stuffed with my pants with 2 rubber bands tied at each end), and beanie. Amazingly, I lived without them.
I wished I would have brought my down pants, down booties, and a warmer sleeping pad such as the Neo Air XTherm, all to keep warmer at night.
I did bring along some new gear that are now my favorites.
Here are my new items that worked:
- Uncle Harry’s Natural Toothpowder – very lightweight, concentrated with a very strong mint flavor. Really cleans the teeth. 🙂
- 2 – gallon sized ziplock bags worked perfectly to keep sand from packing into my socks. I slipped the bags over my socks before putting my shoes on.
- Rain skirt made from a Costco trash compactor bag. I cut the bottom and added a mini-cord lock to the drawstring to cinch it around my waist. Loved walking in it and it doubled for a clothing piece when I did my laundry in Hanksville.
- Zpacks Solplex tent – This new tent came just in time for this trip. I am super happy with how it handled in wind, rain, blowing sand, and a bit of snow.
I did set it up at home SEVERAL times before going. Highly recommended, don’t skip this step. Several readers have asked about why I changed from the Skyscape and wanted a comparison.
-I bought a new tent so that I could give my Skyscape to my son, Silly Chili
-Both tents weight about the same.
-Both tents have about the same ease of setting up (again get comfortable at home setting up before a trip)
-I think the Skyscape has a bit more room on the inside.
-The Solplex has a higher bathtub, so perhaps if you lived in an area that rains quite a bit, that would be an advantage. If not I have had the Skyscape in rain and it worked.
-I do think if someone really needed room or were larger and taller, the Zpacks Duplex tent would be the way to go. Lots and lots of room with only a few extra ounces.
- Smith glasses with ChromaPop lenses – I have always been a fan of Smith sunglasses, but have never owned their new ChromaPop lenses. I got a super discount on one of the discontinued models online. They are pricey. I am in love. I wear contacts, so my glasses are a critical part of my kit. I loved the clarity, how they worked in both cloudy and sunny days, and I actually could use my phone without taking them off. Win, win.
For my complete gear list and a Gossamer Gear discount code, visit my Gear web page.
My part in this duo’s adventure on the Hayduke has ended, BUT be sure to continue following their shenanigans at Drop n’ Roll’s Blog.