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Near the historic Lonely Dell Ranch, the Colorado River begins to carve the grandest of canyons. Along its course many streams, creeks and rivers will join erosional forces, and eventually spill into the main river channel—carving splendid side canyons of their own in the process. The first of these tributaries is the Paria River, and few are more splendid. Spilling off the Paria Plateau, the Paria has sculpted a series of sinuous canyons in the ancient sandstone. This class will explore the various geologic forces at work in this network of slot canyons, as well as water’s role in a delicate desert ecosystem. The prehistoric and pioneer history of the area is equally compelling, and so participants will also hear about humankind’s connection to this storied landscape, from the Puebloan peoples to the Mormon pioneers.
After a few days exploring Lees Ferry the class will head to the Paria. The entry point will be Buckskin Gulch. Hiking through this remote tributary will be relatively straightforward, with gentle grades, comfortable daily mileages and plenty of water. Participants will need to be prepared to walk in water with comfortable water shoes.
Day 1 Introductions and orientation at Marble Canyon Lodge; camp at Lees' Ferry
Day 2 Explore Lees' Ferry
Day 3-8 Hike Paria Canyon