The temperature dropped last night, and wind poured down canyon. My thermometer read a wee bit over 32 this morning, and it was cold in the canyon bottom as I walked along the road, between red cliffs and next to frozen over puddles from the canyon spring. It was fast though, and by 10:45 I had covered 12 miles and made it to Highway 95. I dropped my pack, stretched my calves, and settled in to wait for a hitch. After only 10 minutes, a car passed and the came back around to get me, and fifteen minutes later I was in Hanksville.
The town has a couple motels, a couple restaurants, a few gas stations, and a grocery store. It sounds like a lot when I write it here as a list, but looking around town, it really doesn’t look like much. But, I had only a few things I had pretty singular focus on: laundry, shower, and calling Dan. Two out of three ain’t bad: the Hanksville Inn, a little cinder block place best to have low expectations for (I once heard it described as “would not be acceptable to my mother” by a previous hiker), is run by a very sweet guy who let us use his motel washing machine to do our laundry. I took a shower and spent over an hour raking tangles and bark and sticks out of my hair. I even got a meal at the restaurant, a big burger and a tiny salad (a ratio only appropriate for hikers–the rest of you, eat your salad). I am very sad to say that Verizon doesn’t carry this town, so I have no cell service, and there are no pay phones in town. I haven’t yet managed to find a way to call my Dan, my husband, but in a very real sense that is the only important thing to do when I’m in town. A project for tomorrow then, to make it happen.
Tomorrow I’m taking a rest day here in the hamlet of Hanksville. I feel ready for some sitting time, and there are piles of small tasks that sort of dam up behind the main project of hiking, tasks that are therefore accomplished on rest days. I’ll repair some broken items, update some maps, repackage food, and tweak around the blog. Tomorrow is supposed to have high winds, gusting as much as 40 mph, so I’m quite thankful to be in town and not climbing over Mt Ellen.