Well, we made it down to Moab in one piece. This year's Jeep Week is underway, and folks are in town for the warm weather and spring break. The streets are filled with Jeeps, rock-hoppers, and ATV trailers all headed up to the slick rock trails. What a crazy circus...
Ben's truck held up well, despite the accumulated miles and repairs. We took him up the Burr trail to drop off our extra gear at the cache at Waterpocket Fold. We found the cache easily, right where we buried it. It seems our buckets survived a winter buried in the desert, with signs of spring vegetation growing on top! Well camouflaged indeed. We'll have to see how the rest of the caches fare... We opted to skip out on caching snowshoes at Poison Spring on the eastside of the Henrys. The snowpack isn't as deep as we had anticipated, and there are several snowless routes to the summit. We hope we've seen the last spring snowfall. Otherwise we might be kicking ourselves.
On our way down, we stopped in Logan UT, and met with Brian Frankle. Brian hiked the route in fall 2005, and had some great tips and trail advice to share. He suggested an alternate high water route through the Escalante drainage that might prove useful if the river runs high this spring. We'll have to play it by ear. It was exciting to swap stories and to share the pre-trip excitement with someone familiar with the region. He also told us that he knew of a couple of other parties attempting the HDT this spring. We'll have to keep our eyes peeled for other Haydukers.
We picked up our final necessary permits at Capitol Reef and Arches. Both backcountry offices were extremely helpful in helping us acquire the permits we needed, and were excited about the upcoming trip. It has been a positive experience working with the Park Service in putting the paperwork for the trail together. In the future, a positive working relationship between potential Haydukers and Parks will be necessary to keep the route open, workable, and safe for all parties involved. Let's hope we don't let them down.
Well, we hit trail at the border to Arches tomorrow morning. And then we're on our way. Here is our working itinerary:
Major HDT Waypoints (actual itinerary subject to change):
March 31-April 3: Arches NP, Moab
April 9-12: Needles District, Canyonlands NP
April 18: Glen Canyon NRA, Hite
April 24-28: Henry Mountains
April 29-May 3: Waterpocket Fold, Capitol Reef NP
May 4-20: Escalante River/Kaiparowits Plateau, Grand Staircase-Escalante NM
May 26-28: Bryce Canyon NP
May 31-June 4: Paria River, Paria-Vermillion Cliffs NM
June 8-30: Grand Canyon NP
July 5-7: Zion NP
We'll be mailing out blog posts when we can. Ben's brother, Reuben, offered to be our internet correspondant while we're in the field. Our mail points are limited out there, but we'll do what we can. Keep checking the blog.
Thanks and wish us luck. Happy trails, everyone!