Where To Begin: Parashant

Where to begin! I once wrote a song called “Where To Begin”. At the end of the song two voices sing simultaneously; the first one: “Can you realize you can never get enough of this?” and the second: “No I cannot get enough. I can’t get enough of this.” That is exactly how I feel now about my National Parks adventures: I Can’t Get Enough! And, it is impossible to figure out where to begin with tales from last weeks adventures in Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument. Parashant National Monument consists of 1.1 million acres put aside by President Bill Clinton in the year 2000. The monument backs up to and consists of the northern rim of The Grand Canyon and encompasses many other areas of great cultural and geological importance. There is also a mind-boggling amount of ecological diversity including: desert, forest, wetland spring, and grass lands. Clinton’s 1.1 million acre Monument doubles the size of Grand Canyon National Park lands, so much so that a person could spend their whole life exploring the Grand Canyon National Park lands and probably still not have seen and experienced it all.

Our route

This map is just to show the grand size of the Parashant Monument and the Grand Canyon National Park. I am also using this to show the few places we checked out and how small they are compared to the whole picture.

THE AROW on the map at the top of the page is St. George, Utah. This is where we picked up the students and started our trip. THE SQUARE is Tuweep, where we camped the first two nights. THE DIAMOND is the location of the Grand Canyon overlook where most of my photos of the Grand Canyon came from. I did walk along the rim about 3 miles in each direction, this is just the general area. THE CIRCLE is the location of the historic Mormon Sawmill and Paiute site and is where one of the research centers is located. This is also where we camped for two of the nights. THE TRIANGLE is Mt. Trumbull, an old volcano which we climbed. The round trip took about 4 hours. THE POLYGON is Mt. Logan. We camped there after the Sawmill site. We hiked the rim of the lookout there to Hell’s Hole. From Hell’s Hole we could see a small part of the Grand Canyon off in the distance. THE STAR is Nampaweap, the area we hiked that was filled with Paiute Petroglyphs. THERE ARE A FEW OTHER SITES, but I cannot divulge their exact location.

How to begin? How about our way in to the park. The roads in the wilderness areas, the less traveled areas of the park, are horrendous. Well… maybe primitive is a better word. According to one of the Professors who coordinated the trip, they usually blow through at least two tires on the 60 mile road to Tuweep. There are even signs that advise travelers to have at least one spare and several packages of tire plugs. We can’t complain, however. In most parks there isn’t even a road that goes through the back country. Usually the back country of a park is all on foot, so even having the option to drive into this part of the Grand Canyon is a luxury; a luxury, I might add, I’m still not convinced we should have. The terrain the first 30 miles isn’t too rugged. The land starts off pretty flat. As you go on, the flat lands become hills and then morph into full-on mountains.

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This is about where we first started the rugged trek.

You can start to see the hills turning to mountains about ten miles further.

You can start to see the hills turning to mountains about ten miles further.

Yes, there are cows all over the NPS lands. This is done through the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) they lease the lands out to ranchers. Some other lands  that Ranchers owned before it became National Park Land, are, in a way,  grandfathered in. This issue is complicated and very much a current hot topic. I as of yet don't know or understand all the details.

Yes, there are cows all over the NPS lands. This is done through the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). They lease certain lands out to ranchers. Some other lands that ranchers owned before it became National Park Land are, in a way, grandfathered in. This issue is complicated and very much a current hot topic. I, as of yet, don’t know or understand all the details.

Then, hello Mountains, Plateaus, Canyons, Hoodoos (the pillar looking rocks), and Fins (the rocks that look like skinny walls).

Then, hello Mountains, Plateaus, Canyons, Hoodoos (the pillar looking rocks), and Fins (the rocks that look like skinny walls)!

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After getting stuck a few times and moving a bunch of large rocks onto the road to fill holes, we made it to the first campsite, and what a campsite it is!

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The sun started to set and the bats came out. The wind died and I fell asleep on a picnic table under a sea of stars. We hiked to the Grand Canyon overlook the next day and also checked out a bunch of the terrain around the campsite. I will leave this for another post tomorrow when I have more energy.

I also forgot to tell you about our adventures before we got to Tuweep. I don’t think I have time to tell them all before Starbucks closes in thirty minutes, but here are a few highlights I wrote down in my journal. We first stopped at a famous Mormon Temple in St. George; The Christ Church of Latter-day Saints. The wood they used to build this temple came from the historic Sawmill site we stayed at. It was a five day horse and buggy journey through the desert to get the wood from Mt. Trumbull to St. George, Utah, but they did it.

I walked the block the Temple was on checking out all the fancy gardens and so forth. Mostly I enjoyed the falling pecans from the trees lining the streets. According to Utah.com it was labeled “The Jewel of the desert” and “was the first temple built in Utah after the arrival of the Mormon pioneers, and was dedicated in early 1877.” Plenty more could be said about the beautiful building and it’s history, but alas I must move on.

We stopped in Hurricane, Utah (pronounced Her-ah-kun) and ate donuts in a park. I will have more on the park tomorrow. I can’t remember and I’m being shoed out the door. Until then!

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2 thoughts on “Where To Begin: Parashant

  1. dad says:

    josh, i am enjoying the pictures and your wrintings. for i have never been there! what a great adventure.

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