Day 17: Halls Creek Alternate

Sunday May 7, 23.9mi/38.5km

Muley Twist Canyon (248.7/4840ft) to Halls Creek (NA/3800ft) (UT) +0.4mi to Muley tanks water, +16.0mi Halls Creek/Stevens Canyon alt.

I had moved my tent to a less windy spot overnight, so when Shadow saw my tent was “gone” in the morning, he hiked out early trying to catch me. I figured out the situation and got moving at my usual time of 7am to go catch him. The last mile of Muley Twist Canyon was just as impressive as the first.

I exited that canyon, and hiked briefly along Halls Creek before turning off to Muley Tanks, our water source this morning.

The Muley Tanks are two big potholes in the rock that collect water, and there was plenty.

Shadow was there waiting for me too. We refilled our water and hiked out to Halls Creek again. We were on a pretty well used footpath, so it was easy to follow. There wasn’t much excitement but it was pretty scenery.

I finally got a photo of one of the fast-moving lizards that seem to be everywhere here.

We walked downstream along the dry Halls Creek all morning, and I entertained myself with the scenery. The cliff had a huge hole in it, so big that trees were growing!

We kept walking south along Halls Creek, on an alternate route. The main Hayduke route had turned off to climb the Waterpocket Fold (cliff on our right), and then follows the Escalante River for like 29 miles. For the alternate, we will be following Halls Creek all day today, and then climbing the Waterpocket Fold tomorrow and following Stevens Canyon (skipping the brushy and likely deep Escalante River).

We stopped and had lunch in a shady spot, and then hiked on with excitement. The first mile looked the same…

…but then there was an option to walk a 4.2 mile narrow canyon! Cool.

It’s called the Halls Creek Narrows, and was my favourite part of the Hayduke so far.

Sometimes it got real narrow, and the water was almost waist deep.

How deep is this water? One way to find out!

There were dozens of these toads (frogs?) everywhere.

Shadow taking the lead in walking through one of the deeper parts. He is 183cm (6ft 0in) tall.

It was such a deep canyon with some nice shade, and lots of green.

This one short section was especially deep, and I had to take off my pack and lift it over my head. It was chest deep on me.

After two hours we exited Halls Creek Narrows, and we were back in the main Halls Creek wide valley.

The trail was a little less easy to follow but it was still mostly there.

Sometimes the trail would cross a little wash and disappear in the vegetation, but we would always find it again on the other side. Or sometimes find a cattle trail which was just as good.

We stopped for the day around 6pm, and setup our tents among some cottonwood trees.

Most of it was easy walking today, so we managed to hike almost 24 miles which is quite far for the Hayduke. Tomorrow, we will hike up 2000ft/600m to the top of the Waterpocket Fold, and down Stevens Canyon!

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