Another incredible day at an incredible place.
We didn’t make it up for sunrise but we were out of the RV at 7:15 am and on the trail at 8:30. We arrive at The Wave at 10:30. There was so much to explore that we didn’t leave until 3 pm and got back to the car at around 4:30. A long day in the sun.
With the 5 km each way to get there and our wandering around we did about 12.5 km today.
The hike on any day would be strenuous but with the heat in the high 30s today it was over the top. There was no huge gain in elevation but there was a lot of up and down.
We started out on the Wire Pass trail from the other day. The early part of the walk was quite pleasant because the temperature was still reasonable.
Taking our cut off.
This rocky climb was probably the steepest part of the hike.
Then into a sandy section. We really learned to hate the sand. It just made making any progress so much more work.
Then up through a saddle.
After this the trail is mostly on the slickrock and there were no real trail markers or cairns at all. This area is designated a federal wilderness. That is a step above a national park, in that no development of any kind is allowed. The rangers even knock over any cairns that other hikers have built.
For here on we just had to look at the step by step pictures in the guide they gave us to find the next landmark on the horizon to aim for.
There is almost no shade anywhere. We took rests whenever we could find it.
Our destination is in sight. It is just under the dark shadow on those white hills in the distance, below.
The final climb up was a very tiring sandy hill.
We needed a rest part way up.
And then in we go, WOW!
Here, I am posting picture from various times in the day.
I think we were the third last group to get here. We were the second last to leave. Everyone is perched up at the top taking a break so I don’t think we were too far behind them.
The young couple was out in the sun. Everyone else tried to find some shade.
It is this little valley that is called The Wave but there is lots of other interesting stuff around it. But first more Wave pictures.
It was really hard to stop taking pictures.
Up on the western edge was a jumble of strange pillars and shapes.
We found a small overhang for another shady rest stop.
Behind the Wave is a large valley which created the shadow we had aimed for.
With a small (from down here) arch at the top left.
Heading farther west we came across these rocks with lacy design on them.
Then we came to “The Second Wave”. It is not as colourful but still very striking. Again, we couldn’t stop taking pictures from all angles.
We kept going until we came to a cliff down into another valley.
Another shady spot for lunch.
Exploring the wall behind us.
Then we headed back to the wave for more pictures. By now everyone but one other couple had left.
Then on to explore a bit to the east.
We first needed a shady spot for a rest. With the sun almost overhead there was not much available.
I went on to explore a bit farther by myself.
I walked around the corner of the set of hills that hold the Wave.
To this view.
This is the east side of the hills.
I returned to Jennie and we both had a short nap.
By now it was 3 pm. The other couple had said they were going to find a shady spot and wait until around 5 to go back, hoping it would be cooler. Even though, at 3, it was probably the hottest part of the day we decided to head back. A strong wind had picked up that kept us cool most of the way. The few times we were shielded from it though, we just roasted.
It turned out that by the time we got back to the car it was almost five and it was still blazing hot. I think they would have had to wait until much later.
Heading back down and out.
One last look.
It was much easier going down the sandy hill.
On the way out we saw the astro photographer heading in. He is resting in the shade on the right, below.
I am not sure why he went in so early, at the hottest time of the day. He said his pack of equipment weighed about 80 lbs and the hike was a struggle. He planned to spend all night to try and get a shot of the Milky Way over The Wave. I don’t think he is really allowed to stay overnight though.
Coming down that last hill. We are truly on our last legs and just about collapsed in the car.
By now all of the water we had taken with us was quite hot. We forced ourselves to drink it but it was not pleasant. We had left some ice water in a cooler in the car. It still had ice and was the best tasting water (or anything) we have had in a long time.
We went out for dinner (Chinese food) and are headed to bed very early.
Another great but exhausting day.