Saturday, July 24
A stroll for 96 miles in flowers. Yes you read this correct I feel like I just spent the last 96 miles walking through a field of flowers. I just completed another section of the Four Corners Loop. This section brought me from Meeker Colorado to Glenwood Springs Colorado through the White River National Forest, and the Flattops Wilderness.
As a bonus to the bountiful flowers everywhere came jaw dropping mountain lakes, with green blue water reflecting the mountain scape. Tall white trunks of the aspen trees with leaves fluttering at the slightest breeze, please the soul at lower elevations. The higher elevations were full of lush dark green and blue spruce forests with moss covered branches. I felt as if I was walking through the Pacific Northwest. The forest floor was blooming with fungus which reminded me of perfectly cooked pancakes.
The solitude abounds I feel like I was the only person within the Flattops Wilderness. I also had the opportunity to have my first serious thunderstorm and downpour on the Four Corners Loop. Hiking while it is lightning out, feels like a game of Russian roulette. There were trees infrequently spaced about, so I was not the highest thing, but anytime it is lightning your head feels quite high. I love the sound of the thunderous booms that echo back-and-forth making your ears feel alive and grateful to hear the fireworks of nature.
I hiked down almost a mile to reach Glenwood Springs along the Colorado river. The town is very silent at this time because I-70 the interstate that travels East/West through Colorado is closed due to mudslides within Glenwood Canyon. Some of these mudslides were created by the thunderstorm I was in the day before. Up in the flattops the thunderstorm was really a gully washer I can just imagine with the mudslides must’ve looked like coming down the canyon walls.
I am now relaxing in Glenwood Springs. My body needed a rest so I chose to spend two nights. Today I am going to visit both Hot Springs in town, and get a message so my sore calves and tight hamstrings and quads will be ready for the extreme up and down of the next two weeks.
I am not expecting a lot of cellular service for the next 180 miles. I am shooting to reach Monarch Pass by August 7, where my dad will retrieve me from the wilderness so I can attend my mothers funeral in Westminster on August 10. I think about my mom Margaret every day while on this hike, am I am grateful for everything she did for my dad David my sister Kelli, myself, and everybody she touched especially at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Westminster Colorado. She worked for the church for many years and was a special person to many of the parishioners. She will be missed but the memories of her will bring nothing but joy and smiles as time passes on.
Thank you for reading, it is now time for my first Hot Springs reservation. Hot water here I come!
Making a better FCL
Placing feet on the Earth
During planning of the Four Corners Loop, there were two large regions where private land and public land intermingled like meatballs in spaghetti. The first area was where i first set foot on this adventure, between Santa Fe New Mexico and Albuquerque New Mexico. Prior to hiking I wrote letters to three large ranches asking permission to cross their private land. One said no, the other two I never answered back. Since I needed permission from all three and one said no I had to do a slight route change and do about 23 miles of paved road walking, my least desired Earth surface. But this was feasible because the roads were going in the direction that I wanted to go and brought me through the interesting artists colony town of Madrid New Mexico.
The other area were private land greatly intermingle‘s with public Bureau of Land Management land (BLM), Colorado state land, Colorado trust land exists between Maybell Colorado and Meeker Colorado. It is your classic checkerboard mishmash of land ownership. In this case the private land holdings were many and small parcels, not huge 50,000 acre ranches, so I didn’t feel it was feasible to write a ton of letters. Instead I incorrectly assumed I could walk along the various dirt roads that connected the public parcels. For this portion of the Four Corners Loop, I placed the route in the area that had the highest land area density of public land, most being controlled by the BLM. It was my thought that the road connecting these parcels placed on the Earth using public funds would be the right away between the public parcels.
This was a correct assumption in places, other places this was not a good assumption. Right now walking from Maybell to Meeker is impossible without crossing some private land. A lot of the roads I used created a situation where it was impossible to walk from public parcel to public parcel. Basically I felt like a criminal because there was no water on the 43 mile section (I started out with 14 L), and I did not have extra water to be bushwhacking for a pure public route. Cross country travel is practically impossible in the stiff bushes of this region. Yes they are private lands, but I felt the private lands were blocking access to the public parcels we all own.
During the last 42 miles in random places I would see BLM signs stating “entering public land”, “leaving public land” but the later half of the trip what I saw was a whole series of no trespassing signs, even in places where my research showed I was on BLM land. I had no choice but to continue forward not seeing anybody. All the signs were aged in appearance and tattered, the thick impossible vegetation kept me on my course. I was on a road that hasn’t had a vehicle on it in probably 15 years, it might be impossible to even drive unless you were in an ATV. There were landslides present that took out the road (The landslide expose some cool Coal seam layers). The road in places turned to just grass and bushes almost disappearing. There were old broken gates all over the place with old no trespassing signs that haven’t been opened in ages. Every time I encountered a property boundary there was some sort of gate and signage. Even with all this in the middle of nowhere on an abandoned road I would see signs telling me I was entering or leaving public land. Let’s just say this section needs work if this is going to be an official National Scenic Trail, some work with landowners is going to be needed.
This is why I’m actually hiking this loop, to learn about these issues and problems so a continuous foot path can exist.
If you’re a landowner and you’re reading this and determined I may have crossed your land, I apologize for this, please forgive me. It was definitely a learning experience for me, and I am not going to tell people they have permission to cross your land. When I finish with the trip I will get on the computer and see if I can find a route that is feasible, and some land owners could get letters to asking for permission for other people to hike across their land in the future if hiking the Four Corners Loop. Forgive me because for my safety I needed to continue on my planed route because I did not have enough water to make adjustments on the fly, and there were not any good adjustments to take. Once I got up on the ridge line the bushes kept me moving down the abandoned ridge line road.
In my I perfect utopian world I wish the United States was like England. I believe over there people can walk across the land they just have a culture where they open the gate and they close the gate as long as you’re not doing any damage you can walk across the land. Personally I see no harm in walking across land. It would be nice if we had some laws like this in the United States we could walk across the land, staying away from buildings and houses etc., and if walking softly and leaving no trace this traveling practice is considered acceptable. On this route I saw lots of open grand vistas, sagebrush, stiff bushes, many elk, a fox, cows a lot of vast scenic beauty.
The section from Maybell to Meeker definitely need some work. I don’t think it’s feasible to do paved road walking in the high heat of this region in Colorado this time of year. It makes sense to get up high and hike the higher hills where it is cooler, but access needs to be achieved.
Learning to make a better Four Corners Loop
Vernal UT to Maybell CO
I covered the ground from Vernal Utah to Maybell Colorado in five days. There were some big days in here I did a 23 mile day and a 25.9 mile day. The reason why I was able to do these large mile days was due to the fact I was walking a lot of gravel roads.
This section also had some portions of cross country travel which went pretty well because I found some pretty well-established old trail, elk & cow paths, and chuck wagon roads. Some of the cross country involved walking on hard rock. There was one really sketchy section, getting out of Yampa river back up to the road. I will not tell people to go this way, because it is dangerous. What I did was kind of dumb because climbing up sandstone cliffs when you’re by yourself it’s just not a good idea. Lesson learned no more dumb sketchy sandstone climbing for me, especially when you have a pack laden with 9 L of water. Getting down to the Yampa River was a total bushwhack but it was necessary to get water.
The park noticed I was promoting this trail as something other should do, and they really requested that I strictly caution people that walking through the park is not a good idea. I felt like they were very reluctant to give me a permit. I was even pulled me over with flashing lights on the side of the road by the park police to do preventative SAR measures with me. The permit they gave me was through 18 July to transverse the park. I told them it would take me four nights five days to get through the park, turns out it took me three nights four days to get through the park. Three days shorter than the permit the allowed for. This is another classic sign why my trail name fits me so well “The Animal.” I did all this in very high heat, generally I took a siesta during the mid day. I was really impressed with the day I took a four hour break in the middle and still manage to walk 25.9 miles. In this section I was able to get about 30 miles of walking for the amount of water I was caring.
I’m going to up the water carrying capacity for the next section, instead of caring 9 L going to carry 11 L. I think the water availability in the next section is going to be extremely limited. This should allow me to walk about 45 to 50 miles before I need to fill up again. If I see anybody driving along the road and they offer me water or I need water, I will not feel shy about asking them.
I felt like I had Dinosaur National Monument to myself, nobody was there. I walked the entire Yampa road and only three cars came past. This is a very in frequently visited national monument. So if you want to go somewhere where you have the place yourself consider going to a Dinosaur National Monument. You’re visiting this monument because of the sandstone canyons and the dinosaur bones. I saw both, enjoyed some beautiful sunsets, and became very acquainted with a very long lonely dirt road
Nurturing my sole
Wednesday, July 14
Nurturing happiness in my soul
In Park city Utah I was asked “what have I learned”.
The question was asked in an art gallery, and I can tell she was looking for a response containing depth of thought. I was not prepared for such a question especially since it was asked with so much empathy by her and interest expressed for the answer. Simple facts were not being sought, facts like the Uintas are the longest East West mountain range in the U.S., or a pair of tennis shoes lasts 500 miles depending on soil type.
Her request necessitates a personal response, something more, something deeper. I didn’t have a good quick answer for her at the time. What did I learn about myself? Struggling to give the lady a good short response, I just said what an unusual question I have not been asked this. I also said it was a good question and my next hiking section I will think about it. I spent the entire 150 miles in the Uintas thinking about this question and it remain unanswered. I came up with some ideas that felt fabricated just to satisfy the question, but these fabrications do not come from the heart. The response is something that needs to rise up from within and cause emotions to flow over my body, a fast impulse feeling, a response that drives my spirit of adventure.
Two weeks later after this question was asked, I found myself walking through Dinosaur National Monument. I was struggling with the heat, fly bites, the weight of a pack bearing more water than one should normally carry. I felt myself struggling to walking down the wide untraveled monument road. Then glanced at an unambiguous yellow and white rock about the size of my fist on the side of the road, looking particularly at the colors and texture. I felt an impulse of joyous emotion and happiness quickly build. It tensed up my chest, breathing increased, the feeling welled up to my throat and I left my body in the form of cries of joy exuding out, for all animals in my surrounding to hear. Yes I had a wonderful cry of joy. These were and are my emotions of happiness. I learned that a long walking journey like I am on even though it’s physically hard and difficult brings my soul happiness.
When I was a kid I always wanted to have an original idea, something nobody ever thought of before. The Four Corners Loop I feel satisfies the original idea concept. I never felt I could truly have an original idea but I do feel like this idea dreamed up by me results and a happy soul.
The day I saw the geographic feature on the elevation profile map of the nation, I merely said wow look at that somebody needs to walk that geographic circle of high mountains, and I decided it would be me. So yes what I’ve learned is I do get soul happiness through doing the tough challenges I give myself. Whether it is hiking for 2,400 miles in a circle, or digging a perfectly straight trench for electrical wires in my backyard for a future electric car.
I really appreciate the question I was given an Park City Utah, I will do more thinking about it, but for now I have succeeded and feel will always succeed in nurturing my sole with happiness through my physical hard work in whatever form it takes. Currently it is taking the form of a circle the Four Corners Loop.
Thank you for reading,
The High Unitas
Saturday, July 10
The beauty of the Four Corners Loop continues. I spent the last nine days walking from Kamas Utah to Vernal Utah, covering 153 miles of miraculous mountain terrain. The Uinta Mountain range is the longest East West running mountain range I the United States. I hiked at an elevation generally between 10,500 feet to to 12,500 feet. I did climb the highest mountain in Utah, Kings Peak at 13,528 feet.
The views were miraculous you could see up into Wyoming and farther East in range I could see into Colorado. I felt like I could see more than 200 miles to the South. I felt like I was on top of the world, my mind was absorbed in a world class mountain range. Located in one of the highest elevation regions of the United States left me in awe with each step I took. Each day of the nine day crossing, started out sunny and proceeded with cumulus cloud growth contributing to splendid photography opportunities. A few of the days I got showers and a few thunder claps. Generally the weather was just perfect and very comfortable.
The flatter glacier carved areas in between the mountain ridges were full of wildflowers and alpine lakes. Walking in each classic “U” shape of each valley you couldn’t help think about the last glacial Ice Age as one walks. I imagined the valleys filled with ice the area would look like a flat ice cap, with nunataks sticking up here and there. I feel the eastern portion of the Unitas were probably more ice covered because the top of the mountains were very rounded versus the western portion the ridges and tops mountains had more sharp pointy peaks. Temperature had its toll on the glaciers they melted away, leaving what we see today. The mountains were composed of sedimentary strata where the sedimentary layers were generally horizontal indicating not a lot of tilt has occurred with the uplift of the mountains. The rocks at the top of Kings Peak give the appearance of a shallow sea where you could see the ripples of water in the deposited sediments on the rock surfaces.
This is one of the sections where I encountered the most backpackers I’ve seen so far I think it is because the world class Highline Trail is gaining in popularity, and is such a beautiful place for people to go backpacking. I encountered people from Chicago, Boston, Texas, Seattle and many from Salt Lake City playing in their backyard. I generally saw about 10 people per day the highest day I saw about 25 people near Kings Peak. When I climb Kings Peak I was the first one up there and enjoy the summit to myself.
Route finding was pretty easy although there were many areas where it took some good trail sleuthing skills. The trail is very faint in many places, especially in the meadows and having good trail finding skills definitely helps follow the Highline Trail. I hiked down to 5400 feet to the town of Vernal Utah. As a descended I could feel the temperature increase significantly reaching 103° in Vernal.
Physically the nine days was very hard and challenging mentally. I mentioned in a previous post that I would write about what I learned on the Four Corners Loop. I am not ready to answer this question but one thing I learned in the section is that I do have physical limits. I feel sometimes I should be able to go farther than I did but I do realize that covering the distance I did in nine days at 45 years young was amazing, and I shouldn’t be so hard on myself for not being able to hike as far as I think I should. Each day when I stopped I was absolutely tanked, stopped because I need to, not because I wanted to. Maybe only hiking 18 miles a day actually allowed me to slow down and enjoy the beauty of the area more.
Thank you for reading my post, have a lovely day.
Park City Rest Day
Wednesday, June 30
In four days I hiked from Spanish Fork Utah to Kamas Utah. Each day I covered just over 20 miles and each day was a little bit different. The first day involved walking past an amazing hot spring called Fifth Creek Hot Springs. I spent almost four hours relaxing in the warm, actually hot water and socializing with other people enjoying themselves in the blue colored water. It was awesome to sit there and listen to a couple speak in the language of Portuguese, a beautiful language. After the hot springs soak was complete around eight in the evening I hiked on further to find a good camp for the night.
The next day involved climbing up to the crest of the mountains and following an ATV trail many wonderful miles north. The views down to Strawberry Lake to the east, and Utah Lake to the west were awe inspiring. I positioned myself in a convenient spot where I could wake up and walk down to a mountain pass called Daniels Summit. Just before I reached the area of habitation, I saw two moose. So maybe I should’ve thought there could’ve been a wildlife fence in my future. I decided to go cross country to cut an acute corner off, but this resulted in me running into a ten foot high wildlife fence. It rerouted me just like it was intended to reroute wildlife. Yes well I fences do work on The Animal. I had breakfast, but when approaching the place I was wondering if they were actually open. I asked him are you open and they said yeah maybe for another week unless we get new customers. After eating breakfast I think the best way they can improve their customer base might be to improve their breakfast. I did give the lady a good tip, but the breakfast didn’t sit well with me and slowed me down for the rest of the day.
Later in the day and walking slowly all day I did run into sheep herder from Peru. He said he was watching over 1000 sheep. I kept walking into the evening, this was a very challenging day because basically I walked up hill all day long. The scenery was beautiful and a good portion of the day I was on a cross country/animal path that went up a beautiful valley. I reach the top of Heber Peak at 10,207 feet just in time for a phenomenal sunset. I was tired and decided to spend the night behind a very good wind shelter. The sunset was one of the best I’ve seen on the trail so far. I did a long Facebook video of the sunset and many enjoyed the beautiful views.
Since I went uphill the majority of the entire day, the fourth day hiking would be entirely downhill for all practical purposes. This allowed me to cover almost 20 miles by 4 p.m. The hitchhike into Kamas was a piece of cake, I got a ride in about five minutes. When I arrived in Kamas I learned there was no hotels. You would’ve thought that I would’ve research this prior to the trip but I just assumed there would be a mom and pop hotel in this town. The downpour of rain started and I was wondering where I was going to sleep. I had some slices of pizza from a local pizza restaurant, the only thing open, and determined to the closest lodging was in Park City Utah, about a $25 Lyft right away.
I got a ride from a Lyft driver that needs to take driving lessons, he was from Brazil but I’m not really sure where he learned to drive because it was quite jerky. Upon arrival in Park City it dawned upon me this is a ski town and ski towns have ski bums and ski bums don’t have a lot of money so where do they stay they stay, hostels. The $64 room for the night Definitely beats $200+ dollars for a hotel, and there are people who are willing to socialize. The local hostel which was nice clean and amazing. When I walked in the first thing I was offered was green chilies enchiladas, and Tomales from people who lived in Albuquerque New Mexico. Present were people from Mongolia, the Czech Republic, Washington state, California, and New Hampshire. Many of them were taking “golf course management” internships at the local golf course. It was awesome to learn the different types of careers people create for themselves. The second night in a hostel involved wonderful conversations with people that ranged from mathematics in high school, to climate change, to mental health, to hitchhiking. This is the advantage hostels have because you meet people who want to have phenomenal discussions.
I spent the day having breakfast drinking coffee, and I got an amazing two hour massage. I visited the Wasatch brewery and had a delicious IPA. I took time visiting art galleries and sat on Main Street on a beautiful park bench writing this journal. It turns out on my day off I ended up hiking 10.1 miles just in town.
The big thing that surprised me today, I would like to say thank you to the generosity of people. My breakfast this morning was covered by my server I said you don’t have to buy my breakfast and she said, I want to because she was so amazed with my hike I was accomplishing. I was really surprised my server bought me breakfast. It was a delicious scramble that had Brussel Sprouts and marinated pork with spinach and eggs. I was so surprised that she bought my breakfast. I walked away actually forgetting to tip her. I called Maria to to tell her how awesome people are, and she asked, did you tip her. I realized I didn’t (oops), so I took all the free cash I had, ran back to the place found her doing your job for others and gave her a nice generous tip.
The plan for tonight is to go find a canned microbrew bring it back to the hostile, do some more socializing with people staying there tomorrow I will Uber back to Kamas pick up my food supply, and head back to the trail. My next section is just over 145 miles long one of my longest sections yet, and it probably has a lot of elevation gain so this might be one of the hardest sections I do. I am walking all the way to Vernal Utah.
The Four Corners Loop is turning out amazing the trail magic just keep showing up and every day I walk with a smile because life is good I just have to walk around and look at stuff.
One last thing, I was asked a question today by a lady in an art gallery, she said “what have you learned while on your hike“. This was a very challenging question to be asked by a stranger. I will spend the next nine days while walking through the Unita mountains thinking about this very good question.
Thank you for reading,
A letter to you!
Friday, June 25
I’ve been hiking the Four Corners Loop for three months now. I have traveled by foot almost 1400 miles. I think I have just over 1000 miles remaining to reach Santa Fe New Mexico where I started. Please consider this a letter to you, yes you the reader and all the people who I have given awe along the way. I would like to be humble, and just say this trip is easy and all one has to do is hike around and look at stuff. In actuality, sometimes I do find it a struggle, physically and mentally. Overcoming my struggle through my drive and determination I can only hope this helps you overcome struggles you could be dealing with.
I mention this because next to my hotel was a very inspired gas station attendant, who said to me she is in recovery from being homeless, from having alcohol and drug addictions, and she was going to share my adventure with the people helping her recover. This just put a huge smile on my face because each day I probably touch move and inspire somebody who’s following my journal or somebody who my venture gets shared with. Thank you, the reader (you), the follower, the person who is living the my adventure vicariously through my photos, my feelings and my emotions for allowing me to create value for you.
When work granted me the six months off to go on this adventure I communicated to my employer that part of my goal was to create value and a positive experience for others. My experience with a gas station attendant today and many people who I meet along the way tells me I am doing what I said I will do. I am thankful to be able to have the strength and energy to put a smile on so many peoples faces. Knowing I put smiles on peoples faces gives me energy to keep marching forward. The heat is taking its toll on my body and energy I vicariously get from you with the excitement you receive flows back towards me and allows me to continue moving forward.
Experiences that were special between Ephraim Utah and Spanish Fork Utah, an 80 mile distance range from beautiful sunsets, hundred mile vistas, meeting a Peruvian sheep herder, and watching a hummingbird investigate my backpack. I could’ve spent hours watching the sheep herding dogs keep the flock of sheep in one small group, but I had to move on because I was driving the sheep down the hill upsetting the sheep herding dogs. Well going around the sheep I determined what an epic bushwhack was like descending the thick, steep vegetated hills of Utah Mountains (don’t bushwhack in Utah stay on the trail, trust me). Every person I met along the way I stop and have a conversation, learn about what brought them out into the beautiful mountains and I share my journey with them. This last section I was pretty much on a dirt road called the Skyline Drive. This is very drivable by just about any vehicle. So if you are vacationing in Utah I do recommend driving the Skyline Drive.
The Animal - Kevin Koski
Juneteenth and Public Lands
When one hikes for many months there is plenty of time to think and reflect. When hiking in to Ephraim Utah I learned about a new national holiday. Juneteenth, this day celebrates the emancipation proclamation, and how two years later black Americans in Texas learned that they were free and no longer slaves. It took over two years for this news to reach Texas, to learn that they had their freedom. The question I have is why did I never learn about this until three years ago, when Texas began celebrating it in 1980 as a state holiday. It is probably because I am white and did not take time to learn or was not provided the opportunity to learn about equality issues black Americans face up to this day. I have never had a close black friend and my activity of choice “outdoor recreation / hiking / mountaineering” to me appears to have participation mainly from “well to do caucasians”. Yes I am not everywhere at once, but through years of hiking I rarely see black people hiking and enjoying the mountains.
While walking one experiences a natural freedom. I am free to move, stop, listen, choose, and think. Today I choose thought, and I choose to share it with you. At dinner last night, I was talking with local man who worked 80 hours a week drilling for water. I told him I am a golden rule person. I like to treat people how I like to be treated. Here I am having the easy life just walking and looking at natural beauty. What I am doing is amazing to me and I am grateful to be able to share this with you. I do believe that equality issues are still present today for black Americans, people, humans like me who appreciate nature. The question I am asking myself is how can I create an equal access environment for black American nature lovers?
If we all did the same thing it would be a crowded world, so not everybody wants to go to the mountains get dusty and dirty and make their muscles sore by climbing the highest peak. I feel there are people out there who do you want to do this who do not have the access I have been offered my entire life. I feel this is an an equality issue. Economic equality pays a huge part in this. Every time they raise national park entrance fees it makes me think how does the single mom afford to take the day off, to fill a car full of gas, to drive to the national park, to pay a very high entrance fee allow young children an experience that was and is common for me throughout my life. Access to our public lands I do not feel is equal or has obstacles that prevents many black Americans from using the public lands they own that they were given freedom to enjoy.
As I write I see no singular answer comes to mind that could solve what I see as an access issue to our cherished public lands. My college motto is “Acta-non-verba”, actions not words. I can choose to take action because I have been thinking about how I do not see black Americans hiking for years now. It is not because nature lovers do not exist within this demographic, but I really think it’s because we still have systemic equality issues with in the United States.
It warms my soul that the Juneteenth holiday was created because it keeps equality issues in our collective minds and in our conversations. Properly chosen words can lead to golden rule like actions and create a better world for black Americans.
When I return to Washington State I will get involved in fostering access to our public lands we all own. Since I feel I have been isolated from the black community in Bremerton if you know people who would like to be taken for a day in the mountains for an awesome hike through our beautiful woods the please feel free to share this information with me and them so we can help our entire community enjoy many beautiful days in the woods to come.
My last section on the Four Corners Loop was roughly 125 miles from Capitol Reef National Park to Ephraim Utah. This was the hardest section I’ve had so far mainly due to the heat. I did reach the high country of 10,000 and 11,000 foot mountains which helped out with the heat but it was still 85° up at 10,000 feet as I walked through an epic heat wave. My body needed a good rest which I am getting and I’m looking forward to getting back on Trail on Monday.
My neck is sore from looking up
Friday, June 11
The latest section of the Four Corners Loop took me from Escalante Utah, through Boulder then on to Capitol Reef National Park. It took me a total duration of eight long minutes to get a ride to the town of Bicknell Utah for my resupply. I’m hoping the return trip back to Capitol Reef will be just as fast. This is the closest town to Capitol Reef that had a post office I could send a package to, so I’m glad I sent my food here because there isn’t even a grocery store.
I’m going to make this report a little bit shorter than the others because I’m tired. I hiked 17.9 miles today all before 12:30 PM. I started hiking at five in the morning and pushed myself really hard so I could have plenty of time to get a ride before the post office closed.
The entire 90 mile section absolutely blew me away. I think I have taken more photos on this section than any other section so far. There was definitely less Facebook videos because I was in canyons and did not have cell service. I hiked through Escalante canyon, Death Hollow, Paradise canyon and the Grand Wash. My route took me through splendid wind sculpted sand stone sculptures of nature. The ground also harbored many interesting round igneous black rocks, and flat iron rich black plates. Not only was I in many canyons, but I also crested 10,000 feet on the side of Boulder Mountain in lush Aspen forests.
So pictures are worth a thousand words, I recommend visiting the Four Corners Loop Facebook page for more photos. You will see canyon after canyon after canyon. Sculpted sandstones, beautiful colors in the rock, blue sky, sunshine, wind (ok you won’t see this), heat, and lots of smiles and wow coming out of my mouth. I think I have a sore neck from looking up so much since I was in so many deep canyons with high vertical walls.
Tomorrow when I leave, I will head up Spring Canyon in Capitol Reef National Park this is a canyon with vertical walls that runs over 25 miles. I’m really looking forward to this canyon. With this said I would like to say good night thanks for reading and I need to get a good nights rest so I can have energy to continue on tomorrow.
Saturday, June 5
“Nero Day” reflections from the town of Escalante Utah.
Yesterday my legs propelled me forward for 19.8 miles most of which was in the heat of the day. I strolled through the desert with general is ease, trusting my foot placement so I could allow my eyes the freedom to gaze up and wander like a young child. Speaking of children and slowing down, how do you slow down a young boy? The obvious answer is a creek and rocks will work. Yes, I acted out my childhood this past section playing in Henrieville Creek in a futile attempt to stop the flow using creek bed rocks. I am an open book, and I admit I created three hours of memories playing in the creek at 45 years young. My whole body was immersed in the life giving desert elixir, clear flowing sun warmed water. My face smiled as I lay in the water watching the shadows changing along the cliffs above.
The trail is getting hot, so frequently I take a siesta during the hottest portion of the day. During my siesta I’m thinking, does the Four Corners Loop have the scenery necessary to make it worthy of a National Scenic Trails designation. I see some amazing things, but are these amazing things separated by long stretches of sandy arroyos, or long stretches of Pinyon Pine or Junipers. There are so many junipers the Gin industry should never have a flavoring shortage. May be it is not for me to decide, or is a decision on this even necessary because each person who may follow me will experience trail life through their eyes.
For me “trail life” is an experience in “living in the now”. Over the past three days the moment of “now” can be summed up as spontaneous generosity coupled with quality conservation and awe.
The NOW this past few days in the order of occurrence is as follows:
Post Office conservations
A cold bottle of water.
A large bag of home made jerky, cheese, a banana and oranges.
Birthday suit swimming in my first lake (irrigation pond).
Listening to my mom’s brass bell jingle with each step.
Swatting slow moving biting flies, satisfaction guaranteed.
Creek dam building like a 14 year would enjoy.
Sipping white wine on ice with western Massachusetts trail angles.
Talking “through hiking” with Moonwalker who reminded me of the talkative one from the movie Mall Rats.
Talking with two groups from Raleigh North Carolina at dinner.
The locals recommendation to hike Death Hollow.
Enjoying a Pilsner in the heat.
You reading this, I thank you.
Speaking of now after two Pilsners my bladder is full so now I must go. Thanks for the time you spent reading this.
The Animal, FCL 21