A three-day backpacking trip through Buckskin Gulch marked a successful start to the first in a series of female-exclusive outings hosted by SUU Outdoors.
Taking place Sept. 6-8, the group was privileged to hike into the longest slot canyon in the southwest and allegedly one of the longest known slots in the world.
Lengthy backpacking trips necessitate packing bags with only the most essential items, including 6 liters of water needed for the first stretch of the hike to the confluence of the Paria River.
In an effort to reduce weight in their packs, the girls spent Friday night at the White House Campground and Trailhead under the stars.
“We decided we didn’t want to take tents because we had to take extra water because there are no reliable water sources until you get to the [confluence],” said Outdoor Adventure Guide Mary Peek, a junior in interdisciplinary studies.
And they got a surprise visitor at the campsite: A stray cow wandered over the cattle guard which spooked one of the first-time backpackers.
“That was our fun thing that we dealt with during the trip,” said Peek. “One of the girls was very, very afraid of cows, so she slept in the van because she was afraid of getting trampled.”
The majority of the hike was through a wash until the Buckskin Narrows, which is less than 10 feet wide in some places, and the gorge is between 200-500 feet.
Saturday involved a hike of 9 miles to the confluence, two miles west into Buckskin Gulch to the nefarious boulder jam, and two miles down the Paria.
“We woke up [Sunday] at 5:30 a.m. because we thought ‘Let’s beat the heat,’ and everyone agreed. We got out of the canyon at 11:30 [a.m.] ” said Peek.
Rather than hiking a typical route from Wire Pass to White House, a 21 mile trip in two days, The SUU backpackers decided to go in and out of White House to spend more time along the Paria.
Peek used Gaia GPS maps as well as mileage tracking to navigate the canyon and keep the group on track.
Many of the girls who attended the trip look forward to more Female Series trips in the future.
Story by: Reyce Knutson
Photos by: Mary Peek