Paria Valley Trip
November 9 - 11, 2013
By Mignon Slentz
Leaders: Mignon Slentz and Shane Somers
The group (Mal Roode, Sue and Bob Jaussaud, Mary and Charles Hughes, Ruth and Emmett Harder, Karen and Bob Monsen) met late Friday afternoon at Shane Somers' property off Hwy. 89 near the Paria Guest Ranch in Utah. Most of us camped at our host Shane's campground while the Harders stayed at a “quaint” cabin at the Ranch. Some of us went to see inside the cabin and the first thing Bob Jaussaud does is get in bed with Ruth while Emmett seemingly unconcerned shares a story.
Saturday morning we departed for a full day of exploring Cottonwood Canyon. Mal decided to go his own way since “he had been down that road before.” We visited Grosvenor Arch and Georgetown Cemetery before turning onto Skutumph Road and a stop at Willis Creek. Part of the group hiked downstream with instructions to turn back after 20 minutes. And they did! We headed back to Shane's via Johnson Canyon with a drive-by of the old Gunsmoke location.
The Monsens had arrived to join us for our potluck which was held in the 14-bed bunkhouse at the Paria Guest Ranch. Mal made it back from his solo trip to find “The Killer” view point (which he didn't) and regaled us with the story of the Russian rescue. The couple had a rented Jeep that was buried to the frame in sand. After Mal directed them to air down and pulled them free the man was outraged that a Ranger had told him they would have no trouble driving the very sandy road to White Pockets. He also thought there should be “services” for all the tourists.
Sunday we got an early start, with a reminder from the leader that we had a lot of ground to cover and things to see so there couldn't be any dilly-dallying (I think I used a different term). The convoy headed down House Rock Road to our first stop, the parking lot for The Wave and Wire Pass hikes. We hiked the 3.75 mile round trip through the Wire Pass slot canyon to where it meets The Buckskin Gulch. There were several rock obstacles to negotiate and I hate to admit it here, but we women needed some assistance. I hope there were no photos taken.
Next stop was Coyote Gulch where we hiked to some amazing petroglyphs. The sandy road to White Pockets was tackled next. After a 10 mile rough and sandy drive we arrived at the famed White Pockets area that the Russian couple never got to. Everyone was awed by the colors, textures and formations that these ancient sand dunes had morphed into. Someone in the group remarked " How can this happen?" We visited a nearby cave that had evidence of early man habitation and a nice panel of bighorn sheep petroglyphs. Mary and Charles tried to leave us at this point to return home, but they didn't get far before we passed them up on our quest to seek out just one more location. Sue and Mal wanted to find the early Mormon signatures at House Rock Springs. Shane remembered being there before so he led us to the site. The so-called Honeymoon Trail passed this way and early pioneers carved their names and dates in the rocks. Dark was fast approaching so we met up at Marble Canyon for dinner at the Resurrection Restaurant . The historic restaurant and gift shop burned down in June and they were using temporary quarters.
Part of the Group stayed at the motel while the rest camped at Lee's Ferry Campground and managed to not break too many rules.
Monday morning was spent visiting Lee's Ferry launch area on the Colorado River where there is an old stone fort. Some members walked up the river to view the original site of the ferry and the sunken steamboat. The trip ended with a walk around the nearby Lonely Dell Ranch. The group said their long goodbyes and headed home to four different states.