Bush Head Canyon to Lee’s Ferry
(12 miles, +0/-400 feet).
I was not looking forward to today. I imagined that the lower Paria would be a very wide canyon with monotonous red walls far away on either side and ranch land in the middle. I also thought we would continue to have lots of route finding and scrambling and river crossings all the way down.
Instead, what we got was a beautiful trail (almost PCT-like in some places) through diverse scenery with dazzling colors in both flower and stone.
Storm clouds were rolling in last night, so in the interest of getting back to the car before the rain turns Wire Pass into Wire Impassable, we got a very early start this morning (ChiaGlyph noted that he was the first one packed!).
The trail this morning was really consistent, staying to one side or another of the river for one or two miles at a time. It was also really easy to follow, and it traced contours in places to reduce the ups and downs.
We found more petroglyphs, though perhaps less impressive:
One of the traverses was sketchy enough that we discussed going around it, but with trekking poles to dig into the sides of the hill, we made it okay.
Around 8am we took our first break by a wash with a wonderful view of the canyon behind us.
After the break ChiaGlyph found some more petroglyphs on boulders strewn across the plain.
As the sun rose in the sky, the desert pastels of the canyon became more intense.
After mile 31 we found our last batch of petroglyphs for the day, located near a wonderfully improbable stack of rocks.
The rest of the hike was super easy, passing through wide plains and by wonderful wildflowers. I put my headphones on for the last bit, listening to Pinkshinyultrablast.
We took one last break, where I polished off the last of my food.
Just to make things interesting, when we got to the Lonely Dell Ranch, we headed cross country to traverse the Paria one last time to get back to our car.