Thursday May 11, 20.4mi/32.8km
Below Fiftymile Bench (313.5/4860ft) to Rogers Canyon (331.9/4560ft) (UT) +2.0mi GPS correction
We had an early 6:30am start to the day, since there was a big 2500ft climb up to Fiftymile Bench. It looked big from where we were camped just below it.
The morning temperature was perfect for hiking uphill, a nice 50F/10C. It was on a dirt road but still slow. The view halfway up was great – everything we had already hiked was visible – The Escalante river, the waterpocket fold, the Henry mountains.
Dirt road hiking is nice, it’s just like a wide trail.
The climb continued and it seemed we were aiming for this gap in the cliff, it looked so improbable.
And of course that was the route, the road degraded to a singletrack trail, and went right thru that gap. On the hike up I saw the strangest piece of trash, a half-full bag of sidewalk salt.
We got to the top just after 9am and then the trail disappeared – time to hike across the sage bush plateau! It was flat walking, but slow due to weaving our way thru all the sage. After an hour we arrived at a neat little cabin, and our only water source for the day.
The water was piped from an underground spring into a big trough, it was pretty good.
There was a main cabin, and a shed.
And it was surrounded by this cool aspen forest.
And there was even a picnic table! Shadow and I were both so excited. We took a nice long break at the table.
After the cabin we had another hour of walking thru the sage bush, it was slow but I found a cattle trail to follow, and that helped.
And then we began our descent into Monday Canyon. It started off as a wash…
And after some very vegetated hiking, we were in a wider wash.
Shadow looking thru a window in the rocks.
The canyon deepened, and at one point it became so choked with boulders that we had to scramble up a bank and walk on a shelf just above. Slow miles, but good views.
The hiking would alternate between easy walking….
…and boulder scrambling.
For the last hour of the day, we mostly walked directly in the wash, which at this point had a little water (undrinkable) in it. It made for some surprisingly deep mud.
We saw a flat spot, and even though we hadn’t hit our mileage goal for the day (about a mile short) we decided to stop and camp there.
I washed off my feet, made dinner, and pretty soon fell asleep. It was a long 13 hours of hiking for only 20 miles!