On the morning of October 20, 2014, I headed down the trail into Salt Creek Canyon. The trail was very steep, and I had to get my pole out almost immediately, then it leveled out a bit, and once I reached Salt Creek (which was dry) the trail became almost totally level, though a little tough going in the soft sand.
It was two miles to the border of Canyonlands National Park, and right at that point I ran into Mary and Gerry again. After taking a break, we fell into stride together. I enjoyed the company in this stretch, because it was just a sandy, exposed area, with no shade, and seemed to go on forever because it was so hot. When we reached the springs near Kirks Cabin at 4.0 miles, we took another break. My campsite was 2/10 of a mile ahead, but they still had to go 5.0 mile further to their site, with no more water stops until mile 9.0 –ish.
I found my back country site expecting something pleasant where I could relax and groove on the environment, but camp SC2 was horrible! It was just a bare patch of sand, with brush around it, and no shade, and there was a red ant hill right in the middle. I set up my bivy sack in the blazing sun, and put my stuff in the bear canister, then gathered some things together and hiked back to the springs. I spent the day there, hogging a tiny bit of shade, and meditating to the sounds of running water.
However, I didn’t want to zone out entirely. I mean this is the only water for miles, and that means that the wildlife also came here to drink, and I soooo wanted to see a bear, or even a mountain lion.
I didn’t see anyone else that day, and the wildlife was acting very shy, so it was quite uneventful, but very restful.
I didn’t see any reason to return to camp until the sun had set behind the rocks, it was just too exposed and hot, but at the springs it was lush, and green, and absolutely gorgeous. That night I slept poorly, and tossed all night. I always have this problem when I don’t have all my pillow props to put under my knees, shoulder, neck etc. I have so many injuries that backpacking is a serious challenge for me, one I probably shouldn’t do at all, but am not ready to give up on entirely, because the day I can’t do it at all will come all too soon. At times like this, pain pills are my friends.
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I’m guessing I set out at around 10-ish the next morning (October 21), but I didn’t take a watch along (haven’t used one in weeks). I saw one person hiking toward me, moving fast, a lightweight hiker. He had a silver umbrella, which was also ultra light, and reflected the heat. I thought it was a wonderful idea, because I was burning up with the heat, and it made every mile feel like three. We said a quick hello, then he was gone. I hiked the next 5 miles alone. It was very beautiful, but quite a slog due to the heat, and my pack was getting heavier with every mile. The first three miles felt like five, and the last two went on forever.
I did a side trip to Big Ruins, which has 32 rooms, and I saw many natural arches, and other ruins along the way. I’m not allowed to say where they are, even the maps don’t show them these days. To find these ruins, one has to look for them.
At one point I lost the trail, and then I saw an alcove in the canyon wall, and spotted my ultimate goal, The All American Man Pictograph Panel. I had planned on visiting it the next day, so only took a quick look, then moved on. I now knew I had only one mile left.
Camp SC3 was nicer, with a shade tree big enough to hang my pack from, and blessedly it was already in the shade. It must have been 5:00 PM or so. Someone had made a little table, and some benches from logs, it felt much more like home, which it would be for two nights.
Just after I set up my bivy two hikers walked by, and to my surprise it was Mary and Gerry. We visited for a while, then I joined them at the spring where they were getting water. Then they were gone again, and I was alone for the night.
In two days I’d seen a total of three other people, and there were two more nights to go…
Until then…almost alone in paradise.
Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature