I slept poorly last night. Pain in the hip sockets, in the ankle. Pain in the SI joints. The body was having its turn to talk, and the ruckus kept me up.
But the trail we took out of Squaw Flat Campground in the national park was amazing. Beautiful and unusual, it contoured up to and then mostly along sandstone formations, climbing over their humps and even at one point through a hole in the rock (I think that’s why the trail is named Peekaboo). The formations here in Canyonlands are different from the ones I’ve seen so far on this hike. Rather than sharp-edged, angular cliffs with flat sagebrush tops, here the erosion pattern is rounded, leaving bulbous and lumpy sandstone cliffs. To get over them, you go over their humps. It was all very alien, ancient, like any moment I expected to look down in a wash and see a velociraptor ambling among the junipers (if velociraptors could be said to amble). If I were very large, the shapes of the formations here would be cupped perfectly by the contours of my hand. That’s what they are all like: body shaped, curving this way and that and suggesting how closely I might just fit with them.
After the meandering panoramas of the Peekaboo trail, we dropped into Salt Creek wash, a long creek drainage that takes us south all the way out of the park. It also is beautiful and strange, because of the landscape of cottonwoods and grasses backed by iron-rich sandstone cliff-lumps, and also because after a few miles water appeared, in scummy stagnant pools at first, and then eventually becoming a flowing creek (actually making flowing water noise) farther up the canyon. We made a nice side trip up to Angel Arch, dropping packs in bushes before heading up the side trail. I enjoyed the weightless feeling of floating up the trail without all the equipment I’ve deemed necessary for my survival and comfort out here. We are now camped in a previously used site which has dirt ground rather than sand, and the flat sandlessness of it is refreshing.
Yesterday was long, with paved road walking, hitching to Needles Outpost, desperately trying to hitch back. Today we are taking it a easier. Why rush through this place?