Hayduke Day 28

April 8

Time goes too slow, I walk to fast, and the Grand Canyon–rigid permit requirement and all–remains fixed in place. In two weeks, no more no less, I must be in the Grand Canyon or risk the ire of the National Park Service for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. So I must slow down, for the Big Canyon isn’t that far away.

Which means lazy morning on the sand hill I chose for camp. Last night the moon must have tipped over, just a bit, because I swear the river below me is running higher. That, or the warmth of the last few days is melting the snow high up in Bryce, which soars to over 9,000 feet.

And that is the other thing–the thing beside the Grand Canyon, that is–apparently, Bryce Canyon is still deep with snow. With a newly issued winter storm warning for the next couple of days for high elevations.

Oh dear.

All this leading to the final thing, the secret thing, which is this…

I’ve been struggling quite a bit out here. Is the the style of hiking (off trail/jeep road)? Is it the terrain (non-alpine/canyon)? Is it me (…?)? Who’s to say.

Which is certainly not to say I haven’t enjoyed myself out here, or that I’m moping around, or that I’ve taken to carrying a big stick and dragging it behind me through the sandy mud wherever I go. It’s simply this: this place is not for everyone. It grinds a body (my poor poor ankle) and a mind (what would M.O. say?). So I am buoyed a bit when I meet two other hikers on trail today, Gabby and Matt, who I first met in town a couple weeks ago. Imagine, there’s four of us out here now, all calling ourselves Haydukers. We parade through these canyon-streets as if we’re some kind of dirty needy mob. Onward, only a few miles from finishing this latest section, onward into Willis Creek narrows, onward to the town of Tropic. Onward to an off day tomorrow so that my ankle can rest, and old man Wind can have a fit in the outside world, and time can pass slowly while the muddy Colorado River takes a little more of this plateau with it.

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