Hiking the Parunuweap in southwestern Utah near Zion NP

12:01 p.m. on June 12, 2010 (EDT)
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Near the begiining of the route looking back east to the White Cliffs of the western Grand Staircase Nat'l Monument. The East Fork of the Virgin is down along the orange sandy road winding thru the canyon below. US 89 can be seen cutting thru the sandstone hills in the middle of the picture. I hiked up to the top of the ridge where I took this shot.

Near the beginning of what is called the Barracks where the canyon starts getting very narrow and the trail and road disappear.

My friend Paul wades thru the shallower upper part of the Barracks. The brush and trees along the banks make it easier to wade the river from now on.

Quicksand gets to be a contant problem along the river where cliffs push the water over thru muddy banks. Here I was sucked down into the knee deep sticky mud and had to swim my way out causing the swirls of grey mud in my wake.

We leavethe bright open slickrock and enter the main Barracks. Now the canyon walls tower above us. It was late September/early October s it was a bit chilly, especially in the shade.

Seep springs flow out of the sandstone walls along the rivers edge.

Poverty Wash joins the Parunuweap from the north. One of many side canyons that are fun to explore!

Looking into the large seep spring cave along middle Poverty Wash.

Our camp outside the seep cave.

The seep cave the next morning.

Back in the Parunuweap the next day we wade thru another section of the main canyon as towering walls rise above us.

A wildflower grows out of a seep spring crack along the rivers edge.

Up another side canyon, Indian Petrigyphs cover a overhang wall. A stork, big feet, an arrowhead, big horn sheep and many other things drawn up to 4000 years ago.

Ancient sanddunes show their layers along the rivers edge. Sanddunes that once were higher than 3000 feet covered this area 100s of thousands or millions of year ago.

These acient sanddunes now form the canyon walls above us and the river.

A small tree caught above our heads shows the recent water hieght along another side canyon.

Cattails taller than Paul along a side canyon.

More plants grow from the seeps like a hanging garden.

The canyon widens a bit allowing a trail along the river thru the Horsetail and Cottonwoods.

Chimneying over a narrows in a side canyon.

A winding narrows leads us up to the route we take leaving the Parunuweap River.

We exited the canyon to the south and walked back out to highay 89 and back to Mt Carmel Utah

4:14 p.m. on June 25, 2010 (EDT)
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Very cool photos Gary, thanks for posting your trip.

About how many miles was your trip?

What is the Parunuweap named after? It sounds like a Native American name.

4:43 p.m. on June 25, 2010 (EDT)
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Parunuweap means something about roaring canyon which is a Paiute Indian word. It is very narrow most of the way and it probably sounded like it roared when the constricted flash floods rushed thru the canyon to the natives. Modernday people say a flash flood coming down the narrow canyons which are not much more than a few feet wide by sometimes hundreds of feet deep, sounds like a frieght train coming.

In 1996 in a narrows in northern Arizona at a place called Antelope Canyon on the edge of Lake Powell on the Navajo Reservation 13 tourists lost their lives to a sudden flash flood.

The hike was about 12 miles from where we started at US89 just south of Mt Carmel (near the first picture in my description above) to where we exited near Checkerboard Mesa in east Zion Nat'l Park. The first 6 miles was mostly wide open canyon and the last 6 were the narrows either called the Little Brother of the Zion Narrows or the Barracks.

The East Fork of the Virgin River starts way up north just southwest of Bryce Canyon and go down Long Valley past Glendale,Orderville, and Mount Carmel before it turns west and go thru the sandstone narrows and then into the southeast corner of the Zion NP thru a restricted area known for hundreds of Indian cliff ruins.

The Southern Paiute Indians were stillliving in the southern sections of Utah when the first Mormon settlers came in during the land rush days in the late 1800s. There are still many Indian ruins of flint knapping places, pit house's and old level area that used to have villages. I have seen many of these upclose. I have found thing like beads, stone tools, pottery shards etc. But the first white settlers found many more things like moccasins, metate's (grinding stones), arrowhead's etc in the early 1900s.

Inside Zions east entrance is a place called Petrigyph canyon where about 4000 years ago ancestors of the Indians left descriptive drawings pecked into the red sandstone walls. Images of people with pack,big horn sheep and elk, sankes, spirils and other beings are carved along a wall that has been preserved 3500-4000 years ago. Like in the picture above.

4:53 p.m. on June 25, 2010 (EDT)
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That's cool Gary, thanks for all the info.

I hike in a lot of land that used to belong to the Cherokee Indians, I can also find relics, and sometimes gold flake in the streams.

I've always thought that was neat.

9:49 p.m. on June 25, 2010 (EDT)
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I have hiked more in Zion than any other location. I have traveled off trail extensively, occasionally coming upon abandoned human sites. Amung others, I found two such sites on the west side, along the plateau above the 12 and 15 mile points of the Narrows (perhaps just above portions of your hike, Gary) that were previously undocumented. I am no archeologist, but both sites appeared to be way station camps of sorts, lacking petroglyphs, grind stones, other signs of sustained habitation, or obvious in situ resources. Nevertheless it is a fascinating feeling to glimpse upon a fire ring and pottery chards, realizing you may be the first person to gaze upon these articles in centuries.


10:51 a.m. on June 26, 2010 (EDT)
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The Parunuweap Narrows are just southwest of Mount Carmel Utah southeast of Zion N P The map above show the canyon running right to left in the middle of the topo. The Zion Narrows are in the upper left hand corner.

This is an aerial view of the same place as the map (both images care of my www.mapcard.com site)

2:59 p.m. on June 26, 2010 (EDT)
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Thanks Gary,

The map & photo helps a lot, I'm also going to take a look on Google Earth later today.

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