THE BUCKSKIN CANYON HIKE
For those of you who missed the report from 1999, here's another trip summary to some of the most beautiful country in Arizona and Utah. I had heard about the fabled canyons of Paria from a working associate about 4 years ago and decided that it was a must do hike. After more procrastination than planning I finally did the Paria hike in 1999. In the process of hiking this river I happened to stop for lunch at the confluence of the Paria and Buckskin canyons. During the break I took a short hike up the Buckskin, and shot my best pictures of the trip. I determined that this year I would go back and hike more of Buckskin and less of Paria. Buckskin is a more challenging hike in some ways, and less in others. The terrain in Buckskin is more rugged, but the environment is at least 15 degrees cooler. Flash floods are more frequent in Buckskin, but the canyon walls have more variety and color.
One of my regrets from 1999s hike was the lack of good, high quality, pictures from Buckskin. As I noted at the time, the exposure times were too long for good hand-held pictures, and I needed a tripod. I was fortunate to have Dale Kesel (Spectrum Photography on Chandler Boulevard in Phoenix) volunteer to go with me and show me the ropes for good photography. Along with Dale, long time fellow adventurists Lisa Taylor and Dick McKenna joined us for the jaunt. Now for the rest of the story
Buckskin and Paria Canyons are largely in Southern Utah between Kanab, UT, and Page, Az on Highway 85. This area is part of the Paria Canyon Primitive Area that has as its major attractions Paria Canyon, Buckskin Canyon, and the Vermillon Cliffs which are on the Southern boundary of the wilderness area. Buckskin Canyon runs largely East-West beginning at either Buckskin Trailhead, or Wirepass trailhead. Wirepass trailhead is about 1.7 miles from Buckskin Canyon itself, but has some unique properties not offered by the upper Buckskin Canyon if entering at the Buckskin Trailhead itself. Upper Buckskin between Wirepass and the Buckskin Trailhead is not unique and gets very little traffic for that reason. Most hikers enter on the West End at Wirepass and pass through to the White House trailhead on the Paria, or day hike and return to Wirepass. We decided to park one vehicle at the Paria entry, then drive another to Wirepass, our starting point.
The official distance for this point-to-point hike was about 21 miles (14.4 to the Paria confluence, and 6.8 to the White House campground. However, the Buckskin bulletin board (on the web) advised that the road from 89 down to White House would be closed for the duration of this hike. The road is 2.2 miles long, so the official length becomes 23+ miles. This will become longer as we will reveal later on.
Since there is always a danger of flooding in Buckskin in earlier parts of the year, I elected to delay the trip this year to May, instead of April. This is also the busiest time of the year for the canyon, so the passes were secured in January. The plan was to drive up and park the vehicles on May 4, hike 5, 6, and part of 7th, and drive back on the afternoon of the 7th. That would normally be a good plan, but the road closure evoked a little change in plans on the fly.
In 2001 I plan to backtrack last year's trip to take a few more pictures in the East end of Buckskin where we took little time on the second hike day. This a most striking canyon, and to fully capture the full length and color at various times of the day, I need another day or two. Plan is to drive up and camp at White House on day 1, hike into Buckskin (East end) on the morning of day2, set up camp and take pictures for the rest of day 2, and most of day 3. Hike back to White House on the morning of day 4 and drive back to Phoenix. Any takers?
This story is written much as the previous Paria hike: There are days, and each day is further divided into Pages. You can choose the day from this starting point, and a page from the Day index. You can return to this master page from any page to choose another day, or you can choose any page for a given day from any other page for that day. Happy browsing!!