Twig Adventures

HayDay 38: The Colorado River

Sunday, Oct 1st, 2023, 0700-1800Thunder \ Tapeats creek confluence to Deer Creek and the Colorado River5.5 miles, elevation 2210′ I had an amazing view from my tent overnight. Lightning flashed for awhile, there was some rain and wind, then the glow of the moon on the canyon walls took over. Outside the dark outline of the alcove, I could see some clouds mixed with stars in the morning. It looked like a promising start, but the canyon only allowed a very limited window on the world. What new wonders awaited us? I was really hoping that a trail went all the way along the west shore of the creek but we were immediately forced into another crossing. Aside from getting[…]

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HayDay 37: The Final Exam

Saturday, Sep 30th, 2023, 0700-1800Muav Saddle to Thunder River and Tapeats creek8.5 miles, elevation 2500′ I don’t even know where to start about describing this day. It was the hardest, wildest, most chaotic and fun day I spent in the outdoors as far back as I could remember. Carrot Quinn described this section as the Hayduke’s final exam. Every crazy and difficult thing one has done up to this point is all in preparation for the obstacles in Saddle Canyon. Well, I’m happy to report that I passed! I slept ok on the cot. It was really only the wind that woke me several times. It was raging over the saddle so bad that I contemplated staying another night in[…]

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HayDay 36: The North Rim

Friday, Sep 29th, 2023, 0630-1900North Rim Grand Canyon to Teddys Cabin, Muav Saddle30 miles, elevation 6690′ I considered posting an update before this day, explaining all my travels and adventures in how I got back to the Grand Canyon to resume the Hayduke. I decided to sum it up briefly here, instead: I ended my spring Hayduke hike at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in May, due to the conditions in and above the canyon (snow, flooded streams, closed and washed out trails). I kept in touch with Worm over the summer, another spring Hayduke hiker that was in our bubble. We met up in Flagstaff back in May, at which time we briefly discussed a fall return.[…]

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Hayduke Intermission #2 and Bonus: Highpoint Substitute

Memorial Day weekend, May 26th- 27th, 2023Music Pass and Sand Lakes, Sangre De Cristo,10 miles, elevation 11,500 I didn’t finish the last 150 miles or so of the Hayduke (yet), and I also bypassed the route’s highpoint in the Henry mountains, due to heaps of snow. While I planned to return to the Grand Canyon to finish the western half of the route in the fall, I doubted I would get back to the Henry Mountains for just one peak bagging foray. Finding myself in Colorado with a bit of extra time after my Aunt’s memorial service, I figured I could at least gain back some style points by matching the Hayduke Highpoint: the south summit of Mt Ellen at[…]

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HayDay 35: A Grand Finale

Friday, May 12th, 2023, 0600-2030West Horseshoe Mesa to the South Rim, via South Kaibab trail 24 miles, elevation 7200′ Gazing at stars every time I woke was a grand experience. But when the quarter moon came up, it got pretty bright. With no trees or tent to block the light, even such a sliver made a big difference. I was also awoken by something crawling on my neck. I only remembered grabbing and flicking whatever it was away, then falling back asleep. It probably wasn’t a scorpion. Oddly, there were 20 or so little beetles crawling under our ground sheets in the morning, so I’d guess my nighttime visitor was one of these harmless critters. Such minor inconveniences were worth[…]

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HayDay 34: Canyon Flowers

Thursday, May 11th, 2023, 0610-1800Cardenas to West Horseshoe Mesa19 miles, elevation 3865′ My little nest among the trees was so snug and complete with the loveliest of birdsong in the morning. The crash of the river waves made me think I was sleeping next to the ocean. I was dreaming that I was on a beach in the Ten Thousand Islands, instead of in the canyon. That is until I looked out to see walls and buttes all around. I left my mesh partially open since the site was pretty much mosquito free (also unlike Florida). The trail greeted us with a nice 1,500′ climb, only to go right back down to the river. We went in and out of[…]

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HayDay 33: The Grandest of Days

Wednesday, May 10th, 2023, 0610-1800Nankoweap to Cardenas via raft and Beamer Trail12 miles (plus 9 miles hitched on raft), elevation 2600′ It would be hard to top the previous day, but we still managed! As I said before, I’d hiked through the GC on the AZT, but never had the pleasure of camping in the canyon before. I slept well but did wake up with a pretty bad migraine. The day before had been excellent but also tough. The heat and exertion had cooked my brain. Thankfully my prescription medicine kicked in quick and we were ready to tackle another hard day. We needed to go about 9 miles along the river where there was no trail. It would likely[…]

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HayDay 32: Nankoweap

Tuesday, May 9th, 2023, 0610-1800Mile 21 of alt to Colorado River \ Nankoweap20 miles, elevation 2800′ It was a very quiet night and I slept so well. I think I heard a western screech owl but that was about it. We had a big day planned: to get down to the Grand Canyon! First we walked the remainder of the road to the trailhead. We found several streams along the way, filling up on beautiful clean water, all run-off from the snow melt above. We climbed towards Saddle mountain for quite a ways, which I didn’t appreciate knowing how much we’d just have to go down to get into the canyon. Must go up to go down! My pack felt[…]

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HayDay 31: The Grand Chapter

Monday, May 8th, 2023, 1230-203089A & House Rock Rd jct to mile 21 of alt21 miles, elevation 5750′ We took it slow in the morning. Sky had just finished a 5 day leg through the Buckskin and lower Paria loop alternate, so understandably had a lot of errands to attend to. I chilled out and wrote some postcards. Our hunger drove us to make another run to the grocery store…I wasn’t sure if I was carrying enough food for what should be about a 5 day leg. This was dependent on getting a raft hitch across the Colorado River, so one can never be too certain. Then we set out to hitch south from town to at least Fredonia, where[…]

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HayDay 30: Pieces to Arizona

Sunday, May 7th, 2023, 1130-1500Hwy 89 to Wire Pass14 miles, elevation 4750′ First thing in the morning, I booked a flight from Las Vegas to Denver for May 16th, committing to a pretty tight timeline. I left myself about a week to finish the Hayduke through the eastern Grand Canyon. I planned to meet Sky at Jacob Lake at the end of the day to start from there. Since I’d already walked the section from the Utah\Arizona state line to Jacob Lake on the AZT in 2019, I decided to skip it in the interest of my limited time. But I still felt a need to hike the 14 miles from the highway (where I’d gotten a ride to Kanab[…]

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