Long before we reached Lake Powell, I saw pictures of Paria Canyon on Amazing Geologist's Facebook page. I swore we'd find Paria Canyon and I looked for it... to no avail. Leave it to my friend Joyce, affectionately called "Ever Ready," to locate it. A gloomy day when Pam, Ernie, Wayne and I were "shut-ins" Joyce and Charlie went exploring... and they found Paria Canyon.
|Ernie, Pam and Joyce in the red truck leaving Wahweap on U.S. 89|
Wayne, Lexie, Ozzie and I follow in Big Whitey.
Before Paria Canyon though, we made a hiking stop at Toadstools. Distance to the first toadstool is a bit less than a mile from the parking area and is relatively easy.
The cliff near the Toadstool parking area gave a glimpse of what was to come. Indeed this is beautiful country.
We gathered in front of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument sign for our group snapshot before the hike. I will mostly let pictures tell the story from there.
|A Selfie Stick moment! Joyce, Wayne and me in front. Ernie and Pam behind.|
|Joyce leads the troops.|
|Pretty stuff to see along the walk.|
|Wayne, the great explorer.|
|That's Ernie climbing along the trail|
|Steady as you go there, Pam. Ernie reassures her from behind.|
|Among the red toadstools|
|Wayne surveys the depths below.|
|How bright the wildflowers are on a colorless background.|
|More selfies in the midst of the strange landscape|
|From this distance, it's easy to see the enormity of these Toadstools|
|Wayne and me.|
|More selfie practice. Strange facial expressions help selfie stick operations.|
|Joyce and me.|
|Joyce, me and Pam, L to R.|
|More wildflowers. All are especially beautiful in this barren place.|
We reached Paria River Valley Road in the two trucks, Joyce, Pam and Ernie in one, us and the dogs in the other. These are the markers where the road intersects with Highway 89.
The road into Paria Canyon.
There is NO WAY any vehicle will exceed the 45 mph speed limit along this deep rutted road
To give perspective to the enormity of Paria Canyon, notice how small Ernie's truck, ahead of us, looks in these pictures.
This road was about 6 miles long, and became steep and twisted crossing hills and valleys. The cliffs surrounding us were multi-colored bands -- alternating purple, white, grey, blue and red.
We reached what I believe is the very same section of Paria Mountains I'd seen on Amazing Geologist's Facebook page months earlier. Surprisingly, the Bureau of Land Management had placed a couple of picnic tables near the base of the mountain. We spread our picnics out but the breeze became so cool, Wayne and I gathered our food and ran back to the truck to finish eating.
|Two people are standing among the colored stripes, near the bottom, just to the right of the center of this picture|
There are many possible hikes starting from this area, including the route to Starlight Canyon, however we did not see the trailhead, nor did we come prepared to take a second hike.
Not many records exist from the Pahreah's heyday. Much of what historians know about these people in this strange land has been recorded from decendants of the pioneers who lived here in the early 1920's.
We took a few minutes to walk among the graves at Pahreah Cemetery. This is a sad and forlorne place. I can't imagine how or why the settlers thought it would be a good place to live. It certainly is beautiful. You can't eat beauty though.
|View of the colorful surroundings from Pahreah Cemetery|
|Pahreah Cemetery entrance and iron perimeter gate|
|Ernie, Wayne and Pam walking in the cemetery.|
We made our way out of the valley and back to Wahweap, happy to have found Paria Canyon and the history hidden here. Charlie had mostly recovered from Montezuma's revenge when we returned.