Hayduke Trail – Day 10
March 23, 2023
Miles Today/ Total: 0 / 122.9
Last night seemed like the coldest night since we started the trail. Our socks and shoes, wet from the hike yesterday, were frozen this morning. Despite the cold we made a fairly early start with hopes of making it to Needles in time to catch a ride into Moab with some of the day visitors.
Once we got moving and the sun rose over the canyon walls the day began to look much brighter. A cold wind still blew throughout the day, but the warmth of the sun was a welcome relief.
We walked 4WD roads for about 10 miles before reaching the Joint Trailhead in the Needles district. It was nice to be back on real marked trail and the joint trail and trails through Chester Park were fantastic trails through some very pretty and unique rock formations.
Our goal was to reach the Needles campground and see if we could catch a ride out to Moab either this evening or in the morning. As we got close we were able to pick up a weak cell signal and were trying to see if any shuttle services were available from the park. As we were looking for options a couple from Minnesota walked by and after a short discussion they offered us a ride back to Moab from Elephant Hill Trailhead which was closer than we had planned.
We had some great conversation back to the truck as well as on the long drive back to Moab (we didn’t realize it was 80 miles). A Special thanks to Brian and his wife (sorry, I’m terrible with names) from Minnesota for their hospitality.
We arrived in Moab about 5:00 pm and after checking in to the hotel and booking our plane tickets home we headed over to the laundromat to wash 9 days of sand and stink from our clothes. With clean clothes we took a shower and headed down the street for some Pizza and beer and stopped by for frozen yogurt on the way back. Back at the motel we turned in early, tired from the days hike.
The creators of the Hayduke will tell you it is not a Trail, but a route. That is exactly correct. Coach and I discovered that even in the short section we did, there was a lot of time spent on navigation – finding the right route into or out of a canyon, following washes, and even livestock or wildlife trails. It was challenging and frustrating at times, yet still fun and rewarding when you did find a successful route. The weather was a major issue for us in 2023. Cold winds were blowing almost every day. Mix in rain and/ or snow and the route not only became flooded, slick and dangerous, but the potential for hypothermia or getting caught in a flash flood drastically increased. We know we made the right choice by turning back when we did as the situation could be much worse further down the route.
The Hayduke is tough, but if your up for the challenge the views are fantastic and the feeling of accomplishment can be great. Just be smart and don’t let your thirst for adventure put your life at risk. Live to hike another day.