Day 36: Views, Ash and Cuba

We hiked up the hill in the pre dawn light. The ground is a mixture of sandstone and a very fine dust. It was another beautiful day in an incredible state.

As we hike we see lots of red and yellow cactus flowers, large white flowers, yellow daisy like flowers and some of Yeti’s favourites, Indian Paint Brush. The desert is nothing like I expected. I imagined a dry desolate place with very little life but each day we walk through incredibly varied landscapes. Life is everywhere around if you look. Even when we have been walking across the really dry plains with very little water you still find the most delicate flowers clinging to life in small rock crevices.

Lizards are our constant companions, most commonly seen on the top of the rock carins beside the trail. The small ones seem to be doing push ups, moving their bodies up and down as you approach. The bigger ones sit still eyeing you, trying to decide if you are a threat and need to run.

Early on in the hike we would pass Jack rabbits. The greyhounds of the rabit world, skinny bodies, long legs and enormous ears. They would scatter at tremendous speed when they heard our noisy approach. In the last few days we have been seeing Cotton Tail Rabbits. These cute little guys freeze when they hear us, sitting very still as we approach and it is not until we are almost treading on them and they can take the strain no longer that they take off running in one direction and then turning around running the opposite direction until there brain catches up with their body and they finally run off.

The day is spent climbing between one incredible view and another. We stop for breakfast on the edge of the cliff and marvel at what we see. Another hiker comes by, Slapshot, he is in a hurry to make Cuba and catch the post office. We continue to sit and enjoy the view.

We make the last spring before Cuba and fill up with water. After another long plain we climb into a series of enormous ash piles. The trail weaves its way around these monsters. The trail then turns up the hill and we are treated to an amazing bit of trail construction complete with rocks for steps or, where the boulders are to large, steps cut into the boulders. It is a steep climb but once again we are rewarded for our efforts with the view.

We take a lunch break in the edge of the cliff and then do one last push to make it into Cuba.

Tonight’s home is the Cuban lodge.