I had a lot to do today. The problem with arriving in a tiny Utah town on a Sunday with plans to resupply is that nothing, it turns out, is open on Sunday. Almost empty-bucket nothing. The grocery stores were all closed so I couldn’t shop for food yesterday. I was expecting a package at the motel (new shoes, exotic pink, so bright) but the manager said he never got it, and until the Post Office opened this morning I couldn’t track it down. Until I had that box and the food resupply it didn’t make sense to pack up my bounce bucket or my backpack, so 8am this morning after breakfast found my room a tragic mess, my box still missing, and my shopping not yet done. Fast forward a heap of hours and lot of walking around town lugging plastic grocery sacks, and my box was found (turns out it was at the motel the whole time), my shopping was done and repackaged, and I was packed up and ready to go.
Erin and I grabbed a quick lunch at Escalante Outfitters, a cute place with a little cafe, a campground, and a gear store, and asked around if anyone was going out Hole-In-The-Rock Road. Crickets. The whole town was quiet, almost in nap mode. We decided to hitch, knowing it was going to be difficult to secure a hitch so late in the day but also tomorrow is supposed to have pretty bad weather: 50 mph wind gusts all day and through the night, and 45mph winds and maybe a snowstorm on Wednesday, with a high in the low 40s. That didn’t bode well for finding a ride because who be crazy enough to head out into that weather?
Well, us. And we wanted a jump start on it tonight while the weather was still good. We tottered with overloaded packs to the main road bisecting the town and stuck our thumbs out. It took a little while, time during which Erin ran into the Subway across the street and grabbed us a couple sandwiches for dinner, but eventually we got a ride to Hole-In-The-Rock road. We waited there for over an hour until a car passed that was heading far enough up the road to give us a ride, and it’s a long road, taking an hour and a half to drive. We didn’t start hiking until 6:30 pm, a full twelve hours later than our normal start time, and hiked a little over three miles before dumping ourselves into a rocky patch of cow poop covered dirt, tucked in behind some junipers on the side of Fifty Mile Mountain (it’s a mountain/escarpment that is fifty miles long!). Tomorrow we go up and over.
My bag is bursting with food, and five miles into tomorrow I get the last water for 30 miles. Ten days of food and thirty miles of water is no joke. I figure my pack will weigh around 56 pounds then. I’m reluctant to try to carry all that weight on my back and shoulders so I grabbed a gallon jug in town and will do half my water haul in my hand. It will be quite the day, between the winds and the weight.