Our Trip Report
A Map of Our Trip
Day to Day Breakdown
The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon was a huge highlight for us. The Hayduke Trail sent us rim to rim three times. Sometimes the route took us on amazing trails like the Beamer Trail, and other times into canyons where we literally walked in the river. At one point we had to hitchhike a ride across the Colorado River with a raft party. We were lucky to hit the crossing right when a private group was floating down the Colorado River. After some yelling back and forth they were willing to ferry us across and we were extremely grateful. The Grand Canyon section was a high for many reasons including beautiful and rugged trails, some luck, and endless amazing scenery.
Capitol Reef National Park - Muley Twist Canyon
This section of the Hayduke Trail caught us off guard by how stunning it was. We walked into Capitol Reef and through the Burr Canyon switchbacks (the road is incredible). Then, we entered Muley Twist Canyon, which blew our minds. It was one of the first moments for us when we realized just how extensive and winding the canyons really are. It may also have been a highlight for us because the day prior we had run out of food and water for about 7 hours of walking. When we finally reached our cache in Capitol Reef at 8 PM, it was a big relief to resupply. Another highlight was on our journey down Muley Twist Canyon. At this point in the trip, we knew it was unlikely our next planned water at Muley Tanks would be there. Here, we happned to run into a retired backcountry ranger who was out on a personal trip. He told us not to count on many water sources since that area hadn't seen significant rain at all in the past two years. He pointed us to a few potential spots to look, even though he wasn't confident we would find much. We checked the first spot, in the shadow of a pour off in a nearby wash, and we found a small green pool! The scenery and our collision with fate in finding water made Muley Twist Canyon a big highlight for us on our Hayduke journey.
Snow Storm on the Arizona Trail
When we hit the Arizona Trail it was afternoon, and we headed up to the Kaibab Plateau. The night before we had checked the weather and knew there was a snow storm coming. It didn’t seem that it would last long. We made a plan to make camp early before the storm really started. We got our tent up and almost immediately the snow started falling and didn’t stop until morning. The trail was covered in 12 inches of snow, and it was even deeper in windblown sections. We walked 20 miles to Jacob Lake to get a spot at the Inn. It was forcasted to be just 5 degrees that night! When we made it to Jacob Lake, we took a rest day, thankful for a break from the freezing temperatures. The cold continued throughout that week until we finally to dropped in elevation into the Grand Canyon.
Food and Water
The Hayduke really brought us back to the challenge of meeting basic needs. We utilized water and food caches for most of the trail. In a few instances we fell behind on our mileage, and had to stretch our food for an extra day or so. This posed a challenge for us because we were then forced to ration the food we had in our next cache, instead of eating our fill in a town as we normally might while resupplying. We had to get creative for rationing. We learned a lot, and luckily it all worked out in the end.
As mentioned above, water was also a challenge. Many of our intended water sources were dry. A few times, our cached water was frozen because of the cold. This posed a unique challenge. Occasionally we asked folks who passed by in their vehicles for water, and in some moments we just got lucky. We should have put more thought into back up options for when our water planning didn't work out perfectly. After all, it is the desert.