Paria Mile 10 Spring to Bush Head Canyon
(16.5 miles, +0/-600 feet).
In case you are wondering about the title of this blog entry, remember that “Paria” rhymes with “Maria” and think: West Side Story. 🙂
I slept SOOOO well last night. It was about 20 degrees warmer than the night before and there was no breeze at all in our perch high up on a shelf above the Paria River.
We got a bit quicker start this morning and were off into the Paria.
We found the spring and refilled our water bottles. The water was surprisingly tasty!
The Paria is much warmer than Buckskin (by maybe 10 or 15 degrees). It made our constant river crossings much easier to handle than our cave swims from yesterday. For the first couple of miles the river was wide and flat, filling most of the narrow canyon.
At mile 11 we explored an “abandoned meander” where the Paria no longer flows.
There were springs in several locations along the way today, which reduced the need to load down our packs with lots of water.
By 9am the sun was high enough that it lit the canyon floor in some places.
All along the canyon floor there was evidence of past flash floods.
We continued to encounter quicksand, but got better at avoiding it by walking on sandy shores that showed signs of structure.
We stopped for a break around 10am at a bench that was wide and grassy. For the first time we followed what seemed like a semi-permanent trail. The rest of the day we would follow these between river crossings, cutting through the bends in the Paria.
By 11:30 we were at the old Judd Hollow Pump at Mile 17.5 where rusting bits of machinery from the pump were strewn about.
Art was especially interested in finding petroglyphs today, and helped us find some really nice designs.
By 1pm we passed “The Hole” at mile 19, which was a 200 foot by 50 foot chamber with a spring at the back.
We took a much-needed snooze after lunch and waited out the heat of the day a bit (wait, weren’t we just cold not long ago?!?). When we started back up, the Paria descended into a new part of the canyon, revealing purple terraced layers of stone that lined the river.
Features that came to dominate our view around mile 23 were the massive sand dunes that lay high above the river.
Shortly before the “last reliable spring” at mile 25 (yes, that’s what it’s called) MixMaster and I took a break by the river while Art scrambled up the canyon wall to find some more lovely petroglyphs.
The sun started to set as we arrived at the spring.
At mile 26.5 we called it quits. Bats swooped around us as we set up our tents next to a big pool of water that was dominated by tadpoles and later very, very noisy frogs. I could hear them through my ear plugs! But I was so tired it didn’t matter — sleep gradually came to me under the nearly-full moon.