In the spirit of David Hyde’s travelogues (read the most recent here), I’ll present my recent trip to southern Utah in three parts. However, rather than document the trip, I’ll write about three themes that came to mind as I hiked, and photographed.
Although I visited other locations (like Valley of Fire State Park), the primary purpose of my recent trip was to hike a portion of the Paria River, between the White House trailhead, and its confluence with Buckskin Gulch. I think the Paria was one of those rivers I was meant to spend time with at some point in my life. As a teenager, I remember reading about some of the “classic” rivers of the southwest: the Dirty Devil, the Escalante, and–of course–the Paria. Unlike most of my peers at the time, I found a certain draw in that lovely, beautiful, muddy water. The hike all the way to Lee’s Ferry, Arizona is considered to be one of the finest backpacking trips in the region.
Last week, I spent a day in the canyon, which starts out broadly, and narrows down after about 4 miles. One thing I immediately noticed about the Paria is that its gorgeous–beautiful–but that beauty isn’t as in-your-face as other locations in the Southwest, like Zion, or the Wave. This subtle beauty becomes apparent as you sit watching sandstone walls and erosions as the light passes, playing on it. Or, as you contemplate the effects of thousands of years of wind and water on the stone.
Once you enter the Paria narrows, the canyon turns from a broad, meandering line to a series of twists and turns. However, the overhanging sandstone walls to give occasional views of the “outside.” Again, subtle beauty is key.
Grand, subtle, nuances prevail in the Paria River canyon. What areas do you find these qualities in?