1 This map shows all the areas we hit. On September 23rd we explored Coyote Buttes North from the Buckskin Gulch Trailhead. On the 24th we explored the permit area of Coyote Buttes North from the Wire Pass trailhead, this was mostly the area called The Wave. On the 25th we entered Wire Pass and hiked 12 miles down through Buckskin Gulch and camped about 3-4 miles from the confluence with the Paria River. On the 26th we hiked down to the Paria River and south into Arizona and camped the next two nights there. On the 28th we hiked back up the Paria River to the White House trailhead and from there Steve and I headed home.
2 This was out camp the first couple of nights at the Stateline Campground on House Rock Valley Road.
3 At the trailhead the morning of the 23rd to figure out where we were going to go. We dayhiked about 8 miles this day.
4 The valley starts out really wide.
5 We saw signs of recent flooding which worried us because our backpacking adventure in a few days was going to be through Buckskin Gulch, and if it had flooded the hike would be difficult.
11 The rock formations are endless geometry puzzles.
16 Some cool rock staining.
18 From a distance these formations looked like pillows.
20 Climbing up the steep slopes was easy with the bare rock, but caution was still needed.
22 The "pillows" I saw from below.
34 Steve and I checking out the rocks.
36 There were a lot of water holes.
37 This little chute ended in a dropoff.
38 Me trying to compose a shot.
40 Brian heading east toward a cool formation.
41 Steve taking in the views.
42 These layers looked like waves coming in from the sea.
44 Iron deposits.
45 The guys behind me.
46 Up close the "waves" seem to be puzzle pieces.
47 The drainage in the middle is the top of Buckskin Gulch.
49 Just SO DAMN COOL....
53 Me making my way watching my footing.
65 More iron deposits.
66 Desert spiny lizard which is the end of my photos from the 23rd.
67 On the 24th we took off from the Wire Pass Trailhead to go to the permit only area and see the famous "Wave". The weather had improved this morning and the skies were clearer. We covered about 7 more miles today.
68 Spea multiplicata, I think. It might be intermontana but there was no boss between the eyes.
76 Entering "The Wave"...
78 Brian and Steve looking at some cool critters in the puddle.
79 The puddle was full of a type of isopod.
80 Brian got a better picture of them.
83 This might be my favorite picture of the trip.
86 Explosion of rock!
87 Me trying to find the right composition.
91 Brian trying to get the light.
96 GOOFY self-portrait and Brian was climbing a peak behind me.
97 Just a cool place...
111 I'm glad I carried the tripod that day.
116 The colors were right from a candy store.
127 I should wash that hat... hahah
130 We then hiked over to the other side of the canyon from the wave to see some dinosaur tracks that we read about on the net. You can see the tracks here.
131 Dinosaur tracks.
132 That is just too COOL!
133 Then off to explore more and then back to camp around dark.
134 This is us about to head out on the backpacking trip on Tuesday morning the 25th at the Wire Pass Trailhead. The clouds had came back and it was actually raining when we took this picture. Raining while about to enter the world's longest slot canyon didn't make me feel very at ease, but the weather was supposed to improve. We covered 12 miles today and I had nine liters of water in my pack, that sucked!
135 To save weight and worry about mud, I opted not to carry my dSLR. My point and shoot was going to have to do. In restrospect, I should have carried the dSLR.
136 It was not long before the cayon started to turn to a slot.
137 And then it started... Many miles were as wide as me and my pack and the walls were up to a hundred feet high or more. I was really thinking a lot about the rain that was falling.
138 I took this video in Wire Pass.
140 At the confluence with Buckskin Gulch the system opened up a bit for a few hundred meters.
141 Buckskin Gulch.
144 Petroglyphs at the confluence.
145 Petroglyphs at the confluence.
146 Petroglyphs at the confluence.
147 Petroglyphs at the confluence.
149 Petroglyphs at the confluence.
150 Petroglyphs at the confluence.
151 We dropped our packs and hiked about a mile upstream from the confluence to see some of the short section of Buckskin that we were missing by taking the Wire Pass entrance. I was encouraged because the mud was not that bad. Maybe this hike was going to be easier after all.
154 Back at the confluence, we donned our packs and headed out. It was not more than five minutes later when we hit the first of the water crossings. :-/
155 This was going to be a wet backpack afterall. Here is brian crossing the first of dozens of shallow to deep water crossings we had in Buckskin Gulch over the next 12-14 miles. It was instense and sometimes the mud beneath the water was quite deep. This sixty pound pack was now feeling even heavier...
156 Here's a little video of Brian crossing one of the earlier water sections. Losing a shoe in the mud in these pools was a real threat we had to be careful of!
157 Steve's first crossing.
158 Me getting mucky! I pulled my shorts up to try to keep them dry.
159 Between the pools and along the way the bottom of the slot canyon was this cobble mess, often with the cobbles being covered in a layer of slime. It was very difficult to not fall and I was worried that I would blow out my already fragile knees. I kept a keen eye on every step to avoid doing that.
160 Some of the pools were not clean. This pool was covered in debris and had a few dead critters floating in it too. It smelled lovely...
162 Here is a video Brian took of me crossing this pool.
164 More pools...
165 Beautiful and quiet and eerie and treacherous all at the same time.
167 Rain water coming down in a trickle from above in this spot.
169 Debris fields 20-30 feet up. Yikes... We just walked under most of them.
170 We found out after the trip that 2 weeks before we arrived the canyon had a major flood event.
171 Imagine the amount of water coming through here to do that?!
172 Here is a little video of one of the debris chokes.
173 A little wider spot. We debated making camp on that raised area which was probably about 8 miles in.
182 Patchnose snake that Brian pulled from the mud and released in a drier area.
183 Deeper pool...
188 A red-spotted toad
189 Me dealing with more debris...
190 A tarantula that probably fell in from above.
191 A little drier when things widened up in places.
192 This small neonate rattlesnake would have messed me up had it bit me! It was about 5 inches long. This is a great basin rattlesnake.
194 Camp after 12 brutal miles. I was beat and done, I had to go to bed early.
198 The next morning we had about 4 more miles to the confluence with the Paria River.
204 Brian pulled this neonate glossy snake from the mud and he carried it in his pocket a ways to a patch of habitat. It would have died in the mud.
206 More debris...
208 Then we reached the one real cliff. It was about 20 feet and a rope had been left so it was not too bad. Small footholds were cut into the rock by someone in the past.
209 We lowered the packs on the rope and used the rope to belay ourselves down.
210 I was nervous. ;)
211 Me coming down, I made it with no real issue.
214 Raccoon tracks, we are getting nearer the river.
215 A tight squeeze under.
217 More slot canyon video.
218 More slot canyon video again...
220 Time to let the glossy go in some decent habitat.
221 Bye little glossy snake!
226 Almost there...
227 Around the bend and then this. "This is the river?", I thought. It was supposed to be about 6 inches deep and clear and easy to filter instead it was 2 feet deep in places in the middle of a small flood event and was totally 100% full of particulates. My nine liters of water was almost gone and we had to get water so the next decent spring was about 4-5 miles downstream. It was now around lunchtime, so off we went.
230 We found some nice real estate just inside AZ and decided to make camp and that way the hike to get water would be with lighter packs.
231 Watch out!!! Another great basin rattlesnake, this time an adult right near our camp. We were a LONG way from any help, so we had to be careful.
232 I'll move it! ;)
234 Short video of the rattlesnake.
235 Time to get water, so we headed downstream.
239 These tracks have a tail dragging between them. Muskrat? River otter? I do not know.
240 This site further down was really nice but we had already set up upstream.
241 We found the spring after about a 4-5 mile walk. It wa snot flowing heavy so Brian did some "maintenance" so it would fill a pool that we could filter from.
243 After we let the water clear up we filtered our water for the next few days and then headed back upstream with our now heavy packs laden with water!
244 There were lots of springs coming right out of the rock.
247 The moon was near full and rising. The several hundred foot cliff across the river from us was lit up with moonlight. The lower left darker area was the shadow cast by the moonlight moving across the rocks above. It was telling us a story with shadow figures, each figure changing as the light slowly changed. It was incredible to watch and try to come up with names of the figures that formed on the rock walls. We told the ever changing story of the wall for hours until sleep came.
249 The next morning I decided to stay in camp. I had a toe problem starting with one of my big toes and I wanted to chill so I stayed in camp all day. Brian stayed somewhat close but Steve had a wild hair and was off and gone early. He went downstreak about ten miles and back so he was tired by the time he got back near dark.
251 Throwing rocks into the murky mud was a fun activity. The mud was shaped like little explosions had happened.
253 Then after the seal was broken with the surface the crater would fill with water!
254 Here is a video of Brian and I throwing rocks into this mud.
255 I liked exploring around camp, lots to see!
260 Cool caterpillar.
261 Lots of colors...
262 The silty water of the Paria River.
263 So the rattlesnake I had moved a little bit away moved right back. He stayed in the bushes on the left and we camped under the cliff on the right for 2 nights.
264 He never moved from this position. A true sit and wait predator!
265 Steve and I at camp.
266 Now on the morning of the 28th it was time to hike upstream to White House and get our car we left there and head out. This was back at the confluence with Buckskin Gulch. On the left, the water coming out of Buckskin was pretty clear compared to the Paria.
267 Walking through this water was easier than the pools in Buckskin because the river bed was pretty stable. There was an occasional deep quicksand, but I never hit any.
277 Photography nerds!
280 The Paria finally opened up as we neared the end. We had about 4 more miles at this point.
283 I was walking away from the river and found this area of cool rocks, many were perfectly round. I loaded my pack with several to bring back for me and friends. One rock in particular I brought back to my friend Marjorie at work because I knew she'd appreciate the weird shape.
287 The last 0.5 miles...
288 The trailhead signs at White House.
291 The intrepid adventurers, after a somewhat challenging backpack trip and week. For the whole week I think I covered around 43 miles and my knees held up well thanks to my amigo Dr Jonas Skardis in Santa Fe NM! After this we shuttled Brian back to his car at the beginning of the Wire Pass Trailhead and then Steve and I took off. We were home by 10pm. Thanks for reading. :)