Thursday, July 4, 2013

Paria River Canyon

We had an excellent backpacking tour of the Paria Canyon.  The group was well prepared.  All their hard training really paid off in making the trip so much more fun!!!  The journey has modest beginnings, a wide sandy wash.  However, the canyon walls begin growing taller and taller.  The canyon narrows.  The light is more subdued.  We set camp near the the confluence of Buckskin Gulch.  This allows some time to explore a bit of the world's longest slot canyon.

The next couple of days are spent ambling with the rivers flow, exploring rincons and arches.  Camp is on forested benches, high above the flood plain.  Breaks in the canopy allow for the type of star-gazing that makes you say "WOW." 

The last couple of days are my favorite.  The Paria River makes a bend towards the mighty Colorado River and the view simply explodes in front of you.  Vermilion Cliffs provide a dramatic frame to an indescribable beauty.  We camp under ancient cottonwood trees, near a historic pioneer homestead site.

An easy five miles and we arrive at the Lonely Dell Ranch.  Lunch is spent watching river rafters prepare for their launch at Lee's Ferry.  "Grand Canyon" sandwiches are what's in order.

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