Forum Index > Trip Reports > The Grand Staircase (GSENM) Utah! Paria-Hackberry 10 day backpack April 23-May 2, 2017 Part 1
Previous :: Next Topic  
Author Message
John Morrow
Member
Member


Joined: 03 Apr 2007
Posts: 1463 | TRs
Location: Roslyn
John Morrow
  Top

Member
PostSun May 07, 2017 6:09 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument (GSENM) in southern Utah has become a favorite.  Previously, all my explorations (alone or with friends) have been in the eastern Escalante River drainage portion.  This trip explored the western portion through "The Grand Staircase" and can be called the Paria River-Hackberry Canyon Loop.  Within the National Monument is the Paria-Hackberry Wilderness Study Area and the majority of the hike took place in this 136,000 acre WSA.  Kimberly (Rainie Too), who did the bulk of the research for the trip, was joined by and fellow Escalante explorers Linda, Jerry, Robert and myself.  We are all becoming annual regulars down here.  Gwen, diving head first into her first desert experience, joined us for week two!
Total mileage with side canyon trips added up to nearly 100 miles over 10 days.

I'll break the trip into three parts:

Part 1: Paria River Canyon from Paria Movie Set/Kitchen and Starlight Canyons/Deer Canyon
Part 2: Paria River to Rock Springs/Asay Canyon/Sheep Canyon/Bull Valley-Willis Slot Canyons Loop
Part 3: Round Valley Draw/Hackberry Canyon/Yellow Rock/Paria Box

GSENM P-H Loop Overview
GSENM P-H Loop Overview
download for full size
download for full size

Part 1:

Highlights:  Petroglyphs, pictographs, colors, broad river canyon, narrow tributary canyons, beautiful camps, big mesa views, wildflowers.
We began with the car shuttle.  After leaving my car (full of resupply for Part 3) at Rock Springs Creek near Kodachrome Basin State Park and the Cottonwood Road, we drove the other two vehicles down the Cottonwood Road.  Then, popping out on US 89, we went up the Paria Movie Set road to the Paria River and trailhead start.
First, we stopped for a quick 1.5 mile hike of the Cottonwood Narrows along the Cottonwood Road.

Cottonwood Road colors
Cottonwood Road colors
Cottonwood Narrows
Cottonwood Narrows
Narrowest
Narrowest
Robert strolls through
Robert strolls through
lower down
lower down
Navajo sandstone walls
Navajo sandstone walls

Day 1 was short with a little over 4 miles to a nice camp at the junction of Kitchen Canyon and the Paria River.  We'd camp here for two nights.  The Paria River and Kitchen were both running muddy so we walked upcanyon about 3/4 mile to Drip Tank Canyon for clear water.  Starlight Canyon also ran clear.

Calico Peak textures
Calico Peak textures
colorful chinle formation bands
colorful chinle formation bands
Headed upriver!
Headed upriver!
To that distant Navajo dome
To that distant Navajo dome
snake!
snake!
Kitchen and Paria junction camp
Kitchen and Paria junction camp
Kitchen panel
Kitchen panel

Day 2 was our hike up Kitchen Canyon to Starlight Canyon, in hopes of a loop including a scramble of Mollie's Nipple 7271'.  Well, didn't quite work out that way.  Kitchen is now impassable at 1 mile, just upstream from Starlight junction, due to a landslide at the Kitchen Falls.  It is now nearly vertical to attempt passage around the waterfall.

Kitchen Falls and Prince's plume
Kitchen Falls and Prince's plume
Kitchen Canyon
Kitchen Canyon

Thus we walked Starlight to near its end where we ran into another dryfall impasse!  No Mollie's for us.  Several of us made a small loop of it by finding an exit out of Starlight to the north and walking the mesa to a north-western fork of Starlight where we descended a gentle rib through cliff bands back to the main canyon.  Starlight Cave with its pictographs was a highlight, as were the views and canyon narrows.

Starlight Narrows
Starlight Narrows
falls in the narrows
falls in the narrows
Kimberly scrambles through
Kimberly scrambles through
Starlight Canyon
Starlight Canyon
To Mollies Nipple...not quite
To Mollies Nipple...not quite
Starlight Cave
Starlight Cave
petros in years of soot
petros in years of soot
Denied in Starlight!
Denied in Starlight!
Exiting Starlight
Exiting Starlight
Too late for Mollie's
Too late for Mollie's
The White Cliffs
The White Cliffs
descending back into Starligh
descending back into Starligh
good game trail
good game trail
buffaloberry and phlox
buffaloberry and phlox
back through the narrows
back through the narrows
downclimbing
downclimbing

Day 3 we packed up our Kitchen camp and continued upstream about 6 miles along the Paria River Canyon.  The four days on the Paria River included much wading through ankle deep water.  It led us to a nice camp near the mouth of Deer Canyon.

Big canyon walls day 2
Big canyon walls day 2
yellow flower
yellow flower
Paria Canyon
Paria Canyon
Towards Deer Canyon
Towards Deer Canyon
Deer Canyon mouth
Deer Canyon mouth
near Deer Canyon
near Deer Canyon
Sandpipers on sandbar
Sandpipers on sandbar

In the afternoon, we explored idyllic Deer Canyon and its pictograph alcoves and beautiful canyon scenery.

idyllic Deer Canyon
idyllic Deer Canyon
Impasse!
Impasse!
Kimberly and Linda explore
Kimberly and Linda explore
pictographs detail
pictographs detail
picto alcove 1
picto alcove 1
wow!
wow!
2nd alcove
2nd alcove
colorful
colorful
beautiful
beautiful

I later checked out an old cattle trail exit that rises near the mouth of a western fork of the main canyon to reach the mesa above the canyon.  Much to explore up there for another time.  Deer Canyon was running clear enough for filtering water.

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument
Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument
Deer Canyon from above
Deer Canyon from above
Left Fork Deer canyon
Left Fork Deer canyon
L. Fk. Deer Canyon trail
L. Fk. Deer Canyon trail

Near camp, at the mouth of Deer Canyon, was another petroglyph panel.  A petroglyph panel with very interesting designs and mask like representations, if a bit faded.

Deer Canyon petros
Deer Canyon petros
faded petros rain and clouds???
faded petros rain and clouds???
dot lines and sun and faces
dot lines and sun and faces

Parts 2 and 3 to come at some point....

--------------
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”-Mary Oliver

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
― MLK Jr.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
sticky buns
Member
Member


Joined: 29 Aug 2010
Posts: 159 | TRs
Location: Seattle
sticky buns
  Top

Member
PostSun May 07, 2017 10:02 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Looks pretty fabulous. I'm looking forward to the next two installments! I'm especially curious to see Hackberry in spring compared to my one night there last fall.

What did you wear on your feet for all the water?
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
John Morrow
Member
Member


Joined: 03 Apr 2007
Posts: 1463 | TRs
Location: Roslyn
John Morrow
  Top

Member
PostFri May 12, 2017 9:45 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Hi sticky buns,

Thanks for the comment!  Jerry only had a more substantial pair of hiking boots and somehow kept them mostly dry searching for rocks to hop.  The rest of us had low cut running or approach shoes that we just let get soaked.  One 38 degree morning really froze my wet toes.  Otherwise, you just get used to it!  We all seemed to stop fairly often for some kind of foot maintenance: wringing out socks, pouring out sand, rubbing the toes to warm them up.

--------------
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”-Mary Oliver

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
― MLK Jr.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Gwen
LO Girl-of-the-Month



Joined: 14 Feb 2010
Posts: 1564 | TRs

Gwen
  Top

LO Girl-of-the-Month
PostFri May 12, 2017 8:12 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
John Morrow wrote:
beautiful
beautiful

I'm sorry I missed this. Really fabulous find. Were you expecting it or was it a surprise?

--------------
Tomorrow's not promised to anyone, so be bold, scare yourself, attempt something with no guarantee of success. You'll be amazed at what you can achieve. -Olive McGloin
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
   All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Forum Index > Trip Reports > The Grand Staircase (GSENM) Utah! Paria-Hackberry 10 day backpack April 23-May 2, 2017 Part 1
Jump to:   
Search this topic:

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum
   Use Disclaimer Powered by phpBB Privacy Policy