Beautiful Camp on the Paria River!
Wednesday, April 18 to Sunday, April 22
Early Wednesday morning I prepare to head out for my next camp. I turn on my TPMS to get a pressure reading on the tires. I always check my tire pressure before starting out on a travel day. Usually I will check it the morning before, but didn’t this time. One of the trailer tires was down to 15 pounds – not good 😦 I inflate it up to the 50 pounds normal pressure and will go by the Walmart in Hurricane to get it checked and repaired (hopefully!). First, I drive to the Maverick Station in La Verkin for gas and use their free dump station and fill the fresh water tank. Then on to Walmart. By the time my tire is repaired and I leave Walmart it’s almost noon. Yikes, a late start!
I am heading towards Kanab, UT, so from Hurricane, I travel east on Hwy 59. Pipe Spring National Monument is 44 miles east of Hurricane. This is a fairly small park which focuses on the fort and settlement that was built by Mormon pioneers, as well as the Kaibab Paiutes who call this area home. The monument is on the Kaibab Paiute reservation and operated jointly by the Kaibab Paiute government and the NPS.
I spend about two hours at the park and then continue on to Kanab. In researching dispersed camping, I had read there were sites along Hancock Road, which is off Hwy 89 just north of Kanab. It turns out that the open turn outs along Hancock Road are fairly deep sand. The only place I feel comfortable pulling over is a small site directly on the road. I decide to stop there for the night. In addition to being very sandy there are a lot of trees. I’ve become accustomed to wide open, expansive views and this feels very closed in. It doesn’t really appeal to me.
Thursday morning I drive back into Kanab and stop at the BLM visitors center for Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. After getting a map and info, I head east towards the monument to look for a campsite. I check a couple different places before I find a wonderful site right on the Paria River!!
I believe this is my first camp on a river since I have started traveling. It is so nice to hear the sound of the water flowing!
Not long after I pull into my campsite it starts raining. It was overcast and rains off and on Thursday evening and Friday.
Saturday morning the sun is shining again! I decide to take a walk down the Paria from the White House trailhead. The canyon is fairly wide for about four miles. The river is about ankle deep right now making this an easy hike back and forth across the river.
This is also popular for trail riding.
This colorful flower was growing all by itself. I need to look for the name.
As I go further down the river, the canyon becomes narrower.
At about five miles, the canyon is narrow enough that I am mostly walking in the river. The water is still only about ankle deep or a little deeper.
I knew I would be wading most of the time so had worn sneakers. I figure five miles is far enough as my feet are starting to feel it. I turn back towards the trailhead. It was a fun hike, but my feet are really sore by the time I get home.
This beautiful section of the Paria River had been part of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, but was removed from the Monument in the recent action that decreased the size of both GSENM and Bears Ears National Monument.
On Sunday, my feet were still very sore from walking ten miles in shoes with poor arch support. I take a drive into the Monument up Cottonwood Canyon Road planning to do a short hike.
These shrubs with tiny pink flowers were growing on both sides of the road in one spot. I got out to take this photo and could hear what must have been hundreds of bees droning. I took the photo and got right back in the truck.
After a few miles the road parallels the Paria River.
I had in mind driving to Cottonwood Canyon Narrows to hike. It is a short three mile round trip hike and dry. But when I realize it is 30 miles to the trailhead on this gravel road, I decide I don’t want to drive that far. I go as far as the Hackberry Canyon trailhead, about 15 miles. This is another wading hike which I may go back and do another day. It is supposed to be one of the prettiest hikes in this area, but I wasn’t up to a long hike in the creek today.
I head back to Hwy 89 and find the Catstair Canyon trailhead. This is a short one mile round trip hike up into a box canyon. The main feature of the hike is the petroglyphs and pictographs found at the entrance to the canyon. Petroglyphs are chipped into the rock, usually in an area of black desert varnish, and are more commonly seen. Pictographs are painted onto the rock. They are affected more by weathering and wear. There are a couple very distinct pictographs painted with a red paint/dye. The petroglyphs are more difficult to see as there is no desert varnish on the rock to create a contrast. And of course there is the typical graffiti and vandalism that is normally found at these sites.
About a half mile past the rock art panels is the end of the box canyon.
There are just enough clouds for a lovely sunset!