Day 3 in Paria Canyon, Utah and Arizona.

The Quicksand Chronicles: Backpacking Paria Canyon

In Backpacking, Family Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , ,   |   4 Comments

By Michael Lanza

Walls of searing, orange-red sandstone shoot up for hundreds of feet, so close together in places that I could cross from one side of this chasm to the other in a dozen strides. On the floor of Paria Canyon, a shallow river slides lazily forward like very thin, melted milk chocolate. The early-spring sunshine only occasionally finds us in here, even at midday; instead, it ignites the upper walls and sends warm light bouncing downward in a cascade of reflected glow, painting every wave of rock in a subtly different hue.

Hypnotized, I fall a short distance behind the group, pointing my camera and clicking away.

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4 Responses to The Quicksand Chronicles: Backpacking Paria Canyon

  1. Michael Hicks   |  March 30, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    Great write-up! We have a group from TN planning to do Buckskin/Paria from Wire Pass in May.

    • michaellanza   |  March 30, 2016 at 1:20 pm

      Thanks, Michael. May should be a good time. Have fun and safe travels.

  2. NateKat   |  March 29, 2016 at 9:13 am

    We did Buckskin Gulch several years ago and still talk about it as one of the most unique and incredible 2 day backpacks we’ve ever done. Photos can hardly do it justice, I think because a single image doesn’t capture the feeling of miles and miles of continually amazing slot canyon. We went in April and lucked out with completely dry conditions which certainly made travel easier, but sounds like we missed some of the fun of quicksand!

    • michaellanza   |  March 29, 2016 at 9:50 am

      Hi NateKat, I’ve also backpacked Buckskin to upper Paria as an overnight, a number of years ago, later in spring, and we still had some cold pools of debris-filled water to wade. I suspect it varies a lot from year to year.

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