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  1. #1
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    Default Caching on Hayduke Trail

    I'm planning to hike the Hayduke in spring 2019 and considering caching food at a few road crossings. In order not to have to return to the cache locations, I'm considering burying my food cache in OPSAK bags advertised as being waterproof and odorproof. I could use the empties as trash bags. I'll also bury gallon water jugs in a few places. Anyone see a problem with this approach?
    Handlebar
    GA-ME 06; PCT 08; CDT 10,11,12; ALT 11; MSPA 12; CT 13; Sheltowee 14; AZT 14, 15; LT 15;FT 16;NCT-NY&PA 16; GET 17-18

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    I saw it a hassle to cache on a spring 09 WEBO HDT thru. I didn't want to be involved in having to come back to pick up the trash or put in the time to cache or be potentially involved in cleaning up animal disturbed caches. Further, based on that thru and a few HDT LASHes I would have likely been caching in remote areas not good places to have a food cache compromised. I chose to spend my time reviewing reliable known water locations based on an early starting WEBO spring thru found in the HDT Guidebook and learning how and where to find water along the route based on small topo and large picture maps for spring conditions. For example, that winter had seen good amts of snowfall. That's water. I had already some good remote desert hiking experiences. I didn't go itsy bitsy UL either on food and water. I added some 15% extra food and water safety margins into hauls between resupplying. I had little issue finding enough water in that spring. Since, I know you and much of your experiences you could do the same.

    FWIW, more than a few have recently been doing amended shorter HDT routes. You could do the same... to make for easier resupplying. Frankel did that and I took some of my HDT route alternates from his HDT map set which I obtained from a third party. I might still have it laying around. If you want I can look for it.


    It wasn't available as Andrew was doing a HDT hike at the same time I was but if Skurka's HDT mapset is like his SHR, SEKI, and WRR High Route mapsets he adds some beta on resupplying and water logistics.

    There are IMHO some much better alternative HDT routes than detailed in the HDT Guidebook.

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    Thanks for the input, Dogwood. Would appreciate your input on sleep system. I plan to take my 20degree Western Mountaineering and supplement with clothes (wool light weight long johns and long sleeve top, down puffy, and dri-clime windshirt if necessary. Underneath will be my cushy Neoair Xtherm (Knock wood, never have had problems in desert terrain with sharp things).

    I'm planning on several alternates and have map and GPS tracks for those. It certainly will be much less hassle to NOT cache either food or water. Since I'm planning to fly into Canyonlands airport N of Moab, I'd have to rent a vehicle at Moab and Kanab to do the caching. I didn't have to cache on the GET nor in the desert portions of PCT, CDT and AZT, but the PCT and AZT are nowhere near as isolated as sections of the . When needed, I've sent packages ahead to POs or commercial establishments where the resupply options are limited and will do again. I've read several blogs/journals where the writers haven't needed to cache. #2, who I met on the AT in '06, shared his resupply plan with me using rental cars. What I may do is "play it by ear" regarding food and water caching and make a final decision when I see how my "advanced middle age" body handles the challenges. Based on the journals and blogs of recent hikers, I may rely on hitching into towns. There were no horror stories of folks waiting hours and hours for a hitch.

    What I will do is a number of mail drops and have 2 gallon carry capacity for water (16 lbs, ugh!). I've contacted several of the national parks via their "Contact Us" web links and find they are pretty unhelpful regarding permits. Arches NP now has 3 designated sites along the route (and of course the car campground along the alternate that takes in more of the arches) and already has some mid-March reservations for those sites. Canyonlands now has designated campsites and very restrictive permits for some areas and requires a hard-sided bear can. (I am preparing to file my permit request for Grand Canyon, fully knowing it is very unlikely I will accurately predict when I'll be where, and that I'll likely have to amend it).
    Handlebar
    GA-ME 06; PCT 08; CDT 10,11,12; ALT 11; MSPA 12; CT 13; Sheltowee 14; AZT 14, 15; LT 15;FT 16;NCT-NY&PA 16; GET 17-18

  4. #4
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    If I was to cache food I would use hard sided cans and return to pick them up after burying or splurge for Ursa Minors(for critters, tying off) and return to get them or carry them out to where I could mail unused ones back home. One of the problems I've had in UT and AZ is with desert rodents, foxes and coyotes digging up caches stored in Opsaks. YMMV You will have a rental car. I did not. IMHO if you didn't have to cache food and water on an AZT thru(fall or spring?), PCT NOBO, or GET thru you can get away without caching on a spring WEBO HDT thru. You're not a NB to knowing thyself on a LD hike.

    Excuse me if this is too much. I can be long toothed concerning details and the HDT especially has so many possible alternates, add on experiences, and legitimate concerns.

    I was hiking in CO before starting the HDT and had previously flown into Den Int AP. I took Amtrak from Denver to Green River Sta in UT near where the Canyonlands AP is N of Moab. I then one hitched very close to the AP immediately getting a ride stepping off the train at the station. I thought and still think the HDT Guidebook Eastern terminus on Salt Valley Rd is a ridiculous place for a terminus. First, it's remote and a car can't be left anywhere in the vicinity should you not have a shuttle. PLUS, the starting pt and the entire HDT Guidebook HDT Route through A NP misses all the great sites A NP is famous for. Plus, if you have a car and you don't enter at Willow Flats you have a longer drive.

    Already having 5 days chow and after getting H20 at the Amtrak Sta and getting dropped off very near Canyonlands Field AP on Hwy 191 I started by following a sand improved gravel rd(BLM 142) in Long Valley on the east side of Hwy 191 eventually followed a wash and over low ridges on non cryptobiotic hard surface off trail hiking through Little Valley onto north of Klondike Bluffs Rd on Salt Valley Rd. I think one MAYBE(LIKELY!) can also get to Marching Men and Tower Arch/Klondike Bluffs from the Klondike Bluffs TH located on BLM 142/ Copper Ridge Safari Route. I think one of the motorized guide companies drives in this way to the west side of Tower Arch where clients then walk a short trail to Tower Arch. https://www.google.com/maps/place/Kl...4d-109.7123748 I mention all these details because the Marching Men/Tower Arch complex was ignored in the HDT Guidebook route, a damn shame IMHO. The guidebook's route also ignores The windows, Fiery Furnace, Devils Garden, and Wolfe Ranch/Delicate Arch areas! Because the HDT route did that, FWIW, I walked the 4w drive rd to the Herdina Park/Eye of the Whale Arch area going through the eye and up and over Herdina Park(almost died doing it, very few venture past EOTWA climbing up into the Herdina Park complex) down to a dry wash that eventually connected with Courthouse Wash. Where Courthouse Wash goes under A NP Main Entrance Rd I walked up to the road and was asked immediately by a sight seer if I needed a ride to the Main Entrance Visitors Area. Heck yeah! That was the plan all along! I got a 3 day backcountry hiking and camping pass here and got rides back into the park. Went all around. It was phenomenal! FWIW, the A NP Rangers said it was only the second time in two yrs anyone had applied for a backcountry camping and hiking permit. Got a ride back to where Courthouse Wash goes under the main Rd and continued into Moab on the HDT Guidebook Route. Once in Moab I felt like I had already been on a lengthy, scenic, and very worthy hike.

  5. #5
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    "Thanks for the input, Dogwood. Would appreciate your input on sleep system. I plan to take my 20degree Western Mountaineering and supplement with clothes (wool light weight long johns and long sleeve top, down puffy, and dri-clime windshirt if necessary. Underneath will be my cushy Neoair Xtherm (Knock wood, never have had problems in desert terrain with sharp things)."

    Oh no problem. Glad to share, as you have towards me.

    I assume your sleep system depends exactly on your start date. Since I had with me from CO an 05 Marmot Helium 15* still in great condition I used that with a GG spinnaker tarp. I think I set the tarp up five or so times total preferring to cowboy camp under rock formations or in caves or on sandy protected spots. I was plenty warm. I'd have to see my exact dates though. I will say coming out of Moab mid morning after an all day on again off again rain the day before and that morning's downpour it was 92* F, blazing sun, and with a very slight breeze. By 5 p.m. dropping down from Hurrah Pass into an off trail route part of the HDT Route it was 38* F, wind gusts picked up to more than 30MPH, and mixed with light rain which changed to wind blown snow gusts under steely grey skies in whiteout conditions that accumulated to a depth of 3." My watch read 31*F...in a matter of 7 hrs from 92*F earlier. I sheltered out of the wind blown snow under a ledge. The rocks, ledges, and caves not only acted to protect from heat loss but acted like a heat sink which affected sleep system warmth. I always sought a south facing rock heat sink if anticipating needing more warmth. I reversed that to a north or east facing wall when sleep temps were too warm for the Helium 15.* If doing it again I would have wanted a 20* quilt.

    I pushed the pace on this hike but ate heated food and stayed hydrated overall very well. This affected my sleeping warmth. I also rarely slept at high elev which also affected my sleep system's comfort. I used a NEoAir shorty with a polycro cowboy sized groundsheet and GG Thinlight 1/8 CCF. Overall the spiny stuff as might be encountered through the Mojave Desert on the PCT never presented a huge problem. The HDT is more abrasive though than the Mojave PCT route.


    I was able to mail a resupply box and be responsible for it to Canyonlands Needles OutPost. The proprietors were a bit off but very accommodating. The proprietors had problems in the past with HDT hikers leaving their resupply boxes there without communicating they were doing so or making arrangements for picking up unused resupply, NOT good for the hiking community or for Needles Outpost in a remote location paying handsomely for garbage disposal and not having large storage space to indefinitely hold packages. I don't know if they anymore accept HDT hiker's resupply boxes. You would have been able to get two meals made there and buy resupply for a few days when I was last there.

    There's more HDT beta than there was when I thru hiked it but going solo I would advise a PLB or Sat ph. I took a risk going solo without either. I did schedule check ins though. Getting hurt or disoriented out there can be really problematic. Ain't nobody coming along in many places anytime soon to bail you out.

    Be aware of Escalante River CFM flows in spring as the river can run high, cold, and like thick super silty chocolate milk...and walking in the river is the route. I had to abandon my HDT thru here for more than a wk before the Escalante River was safe enough to wade to not to be carried off my feet. Be patient flagging down a raft ride across the Colorado River to where the Little CR runs into the CR after descending the Nankoweep Tr in GC NP. Mt Ellen equals above tree line exposure. I went through 3 ft deep drifts with gust so high it took me off my feet several times.

    "I am preparing to file my permit request for Grand Canyon, fully knowing it is very unlikely I will accurately predict when I'll be where, and that I'll likely have to amend it."

    And the GC NP Permit Office knows that so tends to work with someone as cordial and communicative as yourself just as the Yellowstone and Glacier NP's Rangers probably did on your CDT thru hike. If I'm recalling correctly I got my GC NP permit at the N Rim Office where I also sent a resupply box to the N Rim USPO. I did the entire Tonto Tr when there so did an additional resupply at the S Rim USPO.

    The most water I carried was 3.5 L. A few times I had to deviate from the route to find water with two times it being severe H20 rationing times in 100* weather.


    Once in Buckskin Gulch - before it gets narrow and is still just a shallow wash, I'd continue and come out Wire Pass or continue onto the Paria River junction rather than flying past immediately to the Stateline TH and onto the N Rim if you haven't experienced these yet. From the area you're also close to The Wave. The Wave with some snow is awesome. Coming out at Wire Pass requires no permit last time I checked.

    Zion NP trails off the HDT is another part of the route that could be and IMO should be added onto a HDT hike. You're going all the way to Zion from Arches by foot and not experiencing Angels Landing, The Subway, the high country, Virgin River narrows...? I'd also suggest taking in more of the trail in Canyonlands Needles District possibly stopping for a day two the OUT THERE Canyonlands NP HDT route taking in Confluence Tr, Chesler and Virginia Parks, Joint Tr, etc. Bryce Canyon NP is another NP the HDT route ignores the best of. I added on an Under the Rim Tr thru, Peekaboo, Fairyland, navajo, Queens Garden, Rim Trail,m Sunrise Pt, ate a huge buffet at the lodge etc etc

  6. #6
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    Again, thanks for the first hand info. I like the idea of using Amtrak rather than airline as I can have my pack complete with fuel and other items that are TSA contraband. Start date is mid-March and still somewhat flexible, but I don't want to go later as I prefer hiking in colder weather rather than hot (knowing how hot it will be in the GC even with an early start). Good point on choosing a campsite based on end of day sun exposure and rocks as a heat sink. I will be carrying my SPOT for my own and my wife's peace of mind. For the GC permit, I figure that I'll make the best estimates I can and then ask for help when I need to revise. The north rim probably won't be open when I get there, but I will call the backcountry office from Kanab to revise my permit. I found the rangers very accommodating when I stopped in for my permit while hiking the AZT. In these situations I always take the approach that I'm asking the rangers to help me (and they usually do) rather than being demanding and entiitled. I've always found that one catches more flies with honey than vinegar, as the saying goes.

    I'm planning many alternates: Tower Arch/Marching Men, Devil's Garden, Chesler, Peekaboo, Salt Creek/Dark Canyon, Halls Creek/Stevens Canyon which bypasses most of Escalante River, Buckskin Gulch/Paria Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and more of Zion. There are maps, descriptions, and GPS tracks for these which I have.
    Handlebar
    GA-ME 06; PCT 08; CDT 10,11,12; ALT 11; MSPA 12; CT 13; Sheltowee 14; AZT 14, 15; LT 15;FT 16;NCT-NY&PA 16; GET 17-18

  7. #7
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    How are the legs, knees,? There are some steep rocky up and down climbs as you pick your way into and out of canyons and around pour offs. The HDT is definitely not a maintained single track turn your mind off look for the next blaze, sign, lean to, uber anal-yzed water location, or road crossing type hike. It is largely a route more so than the GET.

    Hiking in the Escalante River through vertical walled canyons starting at Middle Moody was one of the endurance highlights of the entire hike. I've seen a few other HDTers take a different shorter get er dun less demanding route through Escalante Grand Staircase but it seemed no where as scenic if scenery and a wider berth of experiences is a priority, which it seems important to you for your hike. You have a darn good list of add on's. Southern Utah is an outstanding area to hike with the HDT Route a fantastic backbone to build a LD hike around.

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