I slept with my vestibule door open overnight, and by morning frost encased both tent and portions of my sleeping bag. A water bottle, left out in the open, was frozen nearly solid. A fine morning for a late start.
Once I did extract myself from my warm little cocoon, I had the remainder of the Grand View Trail to maneuver. As I climbed up to 8000 feet, steep now drifts nestled themselves into the mountain reentrants and northern faces. I managed to sneak by them with only one wipeout, which is a pretty good showing. Remnants of last years fire were frequent and a lazy smell of soot and ash filled the high air.
Despite the obstacles, the Grand View Trail lived up to its name, as it featured a long stretch of gentle ridge walking, fit to rival even the PCT. Bryce Canyon rose up to the west, and huge stretches of Utah and Arizona filled the southern and eastern horizons. I cannot relate how sad I was when I stepped off the trail and began the walk to the next canyon, which would have to be tramped in familiar cross-country Hayduke fashion. As I continued on, I hatched a new plan and decided to let the idea sit with me for the remainder of this section and my subsequent stay in the next town, Kanab.
By afternoon, the sky filled with snow and sleet and I trudged down into Bull Run Gorge, where a dirty brown stream filled the canyon and dead trees clung, sporadically, to the steep rock wall. 4 straight days of storms in southern Utah! Enough! I make camp early and burrow into my tent and stress-eat a bunch of peanut M&Ms. I’m not sure how to play the options in front of me–I’m still too early for the Grand Canyon, and my original plan to take a long alternate through a long a slot canyon isn’t as appealing as originally thought (the slot canyons, as it turn out, make me nervous). As another hiker wisely intuited–our brains, given almost no provocation, will fill nearly any void with anxiety and worry. Even on a thru-hike, with not a care in the world, that meddlesome worm finds a way in.