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Backpacker Magazine – May 1999

A New Utah Adventure

Never heard of Utah's George Washington Hayduke Route, have you? That's because it's brand new.

by: Susan Newquist

Mike's Journal

Day 1, March 20, 1998

Arches National Park: After 10 months of planning, we've finally begun. It seems unreal that we're actually doing this.

Day 6, March 25

Lockhart Basin: I can't figure out why this isn't part of Canyonlands National Park. Unparalleled beauty. Why is everyone so emphatic about keeping people off the cryptobiotic soil when cows destroy everything with their feet? I'd get thrown in jail for picking up a piece of pottery, but it's okay for a cow to step on it and destroy it.

Day 7, March 26

Lockhart Basin: We were dropping into a drainage and four desert bighorn sheep were standing 100 yards away. Magnificent creatures. We are lucky to have been presented with such a spectacle. Oh yeah, speaking of luck: Yesterday, in a rocky section, Mitch looks down and sees a face in the dirt...the face of a 1926 liberty silver dollar. Lady luck along for the ride?

Day 8, March 27

Lockhart Canyon: The wet sand is like mud, sometimes as deep as our boots. We've left footprints that'll be here for a long time-not exactly the Leave No Trace idea we had in mind-so we have decided to stay on cattle trails.

Day 12, March 31

Indian Creek: Getting sucked into the

quicksand-like creekbed makes for slow going, but Mitch (left) and I try to make a game of it.

Day 13, April 1

Needles District, Canyonlands National Park: Why is it that even out here you have to deal with airplanes? I never considered myself a wilderness elitist who'd complain about things like airplane noise, but after being out here for two weeks, you notice things. That's what happens when you're living the good life!

Day 19, April 7

Butler Wash Wilderness Study Area to Beef Basin: In a trip full of superlatives, how do I describe what this day was like? We thought we'd have to find a way around this pouroff when we realized the watercourse went through it-a beautiful, small natural bridge spanning about a dozen feet. It's not marked on the topo map and, given its extremely remote location, we believe we may actually be the first white men to lay eyes on this bridge. Our own bridge! We're calling it the Seldom Seen Bridge after another of Edward Abbey's Monkey Wrenchers.

Day 24, April 12

Dark Canyon Plateau to Youngs Canyon: For the fourth day in a row we found tracks from a NOLS group that was out here a while ago. I'm sure it would've taken a couple of days to find the route into the canyon if we hadn't followed the footprints.

Day 30, April 18

Red Benches: We saw our first cactus with a flower-a beautiful, deep ruby-red blossom on a hedgehog.

Day 31, April 19

Red Benches: Apparently, we're at an old cowboy winter camp. We found horseshoes, boot heels, a buckle, a metal button and some old bottles. So when does this stuff become historic or artifacts? How about the graffiti dating back to 1920?

Day 34, April 22

Poison Spring Canyon: We spotted two big collared lizards, one of which was bold. He postured, bouncing his head up and down while turning himself bright colors-blue under the "chin," yellow and green around his head.

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