Bob's World Travels

On this page:

Raleigh Peak April 24, 2016
Lee’s Ferry April 17, 2016
Day Three in Paria April 17, 2016
Wrather Arch April 17, 2016
In the Canyon April 17, 2016
Buckskin Gulch April 17, 2016
Pariah Canyon April 17, 2016
Squaw Mountain Lookout March 18, 2016
Norris Geyser Basin February 23, 2016

Raleigh Peak

Yesterday we climbed through ponderosa pine forests and the burn area of an old fire to Raleigh Peak.  We climbed off-trail and scrambled steeply over boulders to the rocky top.

Lee’s Ferry

The fourth and last day the canyon continued to widen, and we mostly hiked on the large flat benches on sandy trails. We found one large boulder covered with ancient, native pictographs. After a number, of miles, we began to come across old buildings and eventually came to the preserved buildings of an old ranch.  From there, it was a short walk to Lee's Ferry and the trailhead. Years ago, Karen and I started our two week raft trip down the Grand Canyon from Lee's Ferry. On this last day of the Paria Canyon trip, we visited nearby Navajo bridge above the beginning section of the Grand Canyon and admired a young condor sitting on the rim.  In four days, we walked 45 miles, including the side canyons, through the beautiful flow of the ever changing Paria Canyon.

Day Three in Paria

The third day was our longest hiking day.  Down the canyon, we reached the hard Chinle sandstone formation and had to navigate slanted, narrow stone benches. We came to the last reliable spring which was basically a steady drip.  We filled our containers with water which made our packs heavier. In the later afternoon, the canyon widened out significantly and we left the canyon bottom and followed a trail which climbed hundreds of feet above the creek.  For a small section, the trail traversed the steep side of a very soft formation with the trail narrowing down to the width of a boot. Finally, in the evening we climbed over a pass, and on the pass, the evening light was golden on the distant rock.s We came down to the low plain where the canyon was very wide.. Exhausted, we set up our camp by a large boulder and by the only scraggly cottonwood.

Wrather Arch

In the morning of the third day, we left our packs and hiked up Wrather Canyon. This was a small side canyon full of lush vegetation. Near the top, we climbed steeply up to admire large Wrather Arch from high on the side of the canyon.

In the Canyon

Back in Paria canyon, there was a quicksand incident. Dan found himself sinking into the wet sand and we ran over to him.  I gave him my trekking pole to help him get out.

When we arrived at our campsite, the walls were over 1,000 feet above us. We camped on a sandy bench above the creek under large cottonwood trees.

The next day, we walked nine miles down Paria Canyon, walking through the ankle-deep to knee-deep water much of the way. In the morning, the walls of the Canyon were monumentally high. In the afternoon it opened up more.  We had to walk around some large boulders that had fallen into the canyon bottom. At one point, Cheryl's leg sank all the way into quicksand and she had to be helped out. The walls were covered with natural abstract art colored with orange, white, black and mostly reds.  We followed animal tracks in the wet sand including deer, possible desert sheep, coyotes and bobcats.  We were likely seeing the tracks of mountain lions We camped on a bench with nice large cottonwood trees with very green leaves.  In front of us were very high walls fractured chaotically in every direction. The creek water was silty and known to be polluted by upstream agriculture.  So we got our water from small pools seeping up from springs in the fractured rock walls.

Buckskin Gulch

Before we reached our campsite in Paria Canyon, we reached the confluence with Buckskin Canyon, left our packs on rocks, and hiked two miles up the much tighter Buckskin Canyon. In places, Buckskin was less than ten feet wide with high, dark, scalloped walls.  The shapes and patterns on the walls were of infinite variety.

Pariah Canyon

On April 6, we walked from the White House Trailhead down into Paria Canyon, starting in the desert of southern Utah close to the Arizona boundary.  The canyon started wide with low sandstone walls. Immediately as we walked down the canyon, we began constantly crossing the creek from one side to the other. We would walk for a short distance on the beach on either side before walking through the murky, moving stream. The water wasn't too cold but our feet stayed wet. When we walked under, electrical lines running above the canyon, we knew we were in Arizona. As we continued downstream, the red canyon walls became higher and higher and the canyon narrowed.  At one point, the walls were fifteen feet apart.

Squaw Mountain Lookout

Last Saturday, I took some friends to spend the night in the historic lookout tower above 11,000 feet on Squaw Mountain.  It gave us a complete, high view of the Front Range from Pikes Peak to Longs Peak. Immediately to our west the view was dominated by Mount Evans at 14,265 feet. We explored the summit of Squaw mountain under cloudy skies but with comfortable conditions. After dark, we had an extended view of the lights of the metropolitan region to the east.  There was a kitchen in the stone base, so we ate well.  Gale force winds shook the tower all night. Sunday morning, it was pleasant again for our descent.

Norris Geyser Basin

Finally, we stopped at the Norris Geyser Basin and toured the smoking basin, the hottest thermal area in Yellowstone. On the long drive back to the lodge in the Bombardier, we passed more swans and many bison. We had to wait from some bison to get off the road. We were told that this was the last winter for the Bombardiers and that they were all to be auctioned to the highest bidder, to be replaced by more modern vehicles.

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

On my fourth day, I went on a ski tour riding a Bombardier out to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. We started with a ski from the Canyon visitors center, up a road to the canyon rim. We proceeded to ski on the north rim of the canyon for about a mile. It was the most spectacular cross-country ski I had ever done. Below us was a canyon over 1,000 feet deep with a pink rhyolite lava-flow based on the volcanic character of the area. The rocks have essentially been cooked over the ages causing the unique forms of erosion. We arrived at a view of the 300 foot lower falls. Back in the Bombardier, we stopped at two different overlooks, including an overlook of the 100 foot high upper falls. We next skied down to a spot at the top of the upper falls. On the way back, we stopped to ski in sunshine by the Virginia Cascades. Here the snow was sticky and I was tired after four days of skiing. I struggled to finish the ski.

 

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