We awoke on Friday morning, perched on a mountainside at roughly 9,000ft of altitude. For me and Jim Bob, it was technically the start of Day 3, but for most of the gang, the trip was just beginning. Rewinding a bit, Jim Bob and I had departed from Southern California on Wednesday morning, making it to Southern Utah through excruciating 113-degree heat before calling it a night and catching some sleep.
The sun crested the mesas bright and early, and the occasional shuffle and burble of a truck passing on the nearby trail hurried the morning along. Our excitement was high: Day Five was underway. The day itself didn’t have huge plans; we were several hours south of our eventual destination, and for better or worse, it was the one day of the trip we knew we’d be pounding pavement.