Monday, May 16, 2016

Buckskin Gulch - White House - Toadstools

Last April we had three weeks of rain, and I wanted so badly to get out of town and into some sun. This April we finally realized a decade long dream of going to the Grand Canyon. We tacked on a few side trips along the way.

We flew to Phoenix and then hit the road to Vermilion cliffs and Paria Canyon. Driving all day, we arrived in Page, AZ after dark, and then couldn't find our campground. Fortunately, I had gotten a good deal on an SUV so (after driving back and forth in the dark) we just pulled off of the highway and slept in the car.

In the morning we drove along a muddy, rutted road to the trailhead for Buckskin gulch. Mr. X negotiated the muddy road well, but we were both glad to have four-wheel drive. We were a little surprised when a Canadian couple bounced into parking lot in a little rented sedan. We hiked with Amanda and her husband for much of the gulch.

We hiked to progressively narrow canyon walls. Traversing cold water puddles, enjoying the sun reflecting on the ribbon-ed rocks. We spotted a mouse and marveled at the remains of flood debris more than 40 feet above our heads.

Knowing that thunderstorms were in the forecast, we hustled out of the canyon after hitting a dead end in the form of a boulder the size of school bus. On the way back we spotted some pictographs on the wall. 

The road had dried significantly, so we had little trouble getting back to highway 89. We stopped at the Whitehouse Campground for dinner and the host told us about the white conch shell formation up the second wash. The thunderstorm rolled through right above Buckskin Gulch.

We were also guided to the Toadstools. The weather followed us and we did not wish to be out in the open  with lightning.

We headed into Page loving the views of the Glen Canyon area, including the Glen Canyon dam.