Category Archives: US Southwest

Upper Paria River (Utah) 14/17-Mar-2016

Grand Escalante

In 2014, loose talk among my brother-in-law (Russ), nephew (Bart), and myself about “getting together to go hiking sometime” finally coalesced into a successful trip to Big Bend National Park in Texas (Big Bend Trip). Nothing came together in 2015, but this year we planned a “warm-up” backpack for March (to fit into my nephew’s Spring break from teaching high school) and a backpack of the North Lake – South Lake Loop in the Sierra Nevada in August. We’d initially thought about backpacking into the increasingly famous Coyote Gulch feature of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area but were dissuaded by both the number of other backpackers attracted to the  gulch plus the 66 miles (round trip) of gravel/washboard/high-clearance road leading to the trailhead. So, as an alternative, we chose the Upper Paria River in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, just south of Cannonville, Utah. We sketched out a loop going down Sheep Creek, up the Paria River, and then cross-country back to the trailhead. This loop is not endowed with many slot canyons (unlike previous backpacks of the Virgin River Narrows and Buckskin Gulch) but does offer classic southwest vistas and towering walls of colorful sandstone.

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Rafting the Colorado River 18/30-Sep-2014

Colorado River Grand Canyon Lees Ferry Diamond Creek

We spent the last part of September and the first part of October on a rafting / hiking trip on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon (Lees Ferry to Diamond Creek). Needless to say it was an utterly amazing / awesome trip of a lifetime and I’m not going to even try to put it into words. There was, of course, rafting and lots of big water rapids. But one reason we chose to do a longer trip was to have time for some hiking. Most of our hikes were up slot canyons only accessible from the river.  However two of them, Tapeats Creek and Deer Creek (Thunder River), are accessible to backpackers (or stunningly fit day hikers) from the North Rim during the summer.

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