Let’s all note that I made it here two days ahead of schedule, despite trying to slow down because of knee pain, despite the weather, despite Monday Canyon’s giant boulders the icy fords of the Paria River. The terrain here is just so flat, on some days when the canyons are favorable, it’s easy to rack up the miles.
Last night the temperature dropped to the low 20s and my breath filled my little pup tent and then froze in crystals all over my sleeping bag and the tent walls. I woke up tons glitter in world in the beam of my headlamp. A cold but fast walk would bring me into Tropic in just ten miles. I was quickly on my way, hands shoved in pockets, enjoying the cold morning air settled like a blanket over the sage brush. An hour later and a couple miles outside of Cannonville (a tiny town five miles before Tropic), I walked past a man with three dogs and a cat standing at the end of his driveway. “What are you up to” he asked, surprised to see someone walking by at 7:15 in the morning who, as he put it, didn’t appear to be lost or stranded or in need of help. We got to chatting and he invited me in for a cup of coffee. Roy ended up offering breakfast, a shower, a camper out back to spend the night, wifi while he patiently waited for me to spend the hours it takes in a town stop to load the blog entries, a ride to Tropic for groceries and mail, lunch, dinner, and he even drove me out of Kodachrome Basin State Park, an area of fascinating multicolored formations that I was going to miss on the Hayduke. I’ve changed up my route so I don’t have to walk through Tropic from here, instead taking a shortcut into Bryce from the east. A win for me, because going through Tropic would have meant a fair amount of paved road walking.
So, almost a rest day. I did hike three miles this morning before landing at Roy’s, but a good chunk of time off feels restorative. Tomorrow I’ll head into Bryce Canyon, make a loop out of Under the Rim Trail and Peekaboo Trail (probably), and then head south through the park. I should be to Kanab Utah in about four days.