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Thread: Parunuweap Canyon - The Barracks (east side of Zion Natl Park)

  1. #1

    Parunuweap Canyon - The Barracks (east side of Zion Natl Park)

    Hi all,

    This is my first trip report. But, for us, this one was one to remember. So, I'm sharing...

    Our group of five (three brothers and two, 12 and 16 YO, sons) hit the trail leaving Mt Carmel Junction in the evening of July 16. Spent 4 nights in Parunuweap, exploring the side gulches, washes, and slot canyons on our way down. Definitely a hot time of year to do it. Mostly that was just an issue as we tried to cool off and sleep the first couple nights. And we really felt it on the hike out Checkerboard Mesa. But, the experience, especially as we got into the deepest parts of that canyon, made it all worthwhile.

    I'm sure I don't need to tell this forum that the photos don't do these kinds of places justice. But, I gotta share 'em anyway. Incidentally, these were all taken with my GoPro Hero3, which I kept attached to a trekking pole most of the time. And thought it was a pretty convenient way to go.

    Day 1 (evening actually) - Making our way across private property to camp on BLM land
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    Day 2 - A pretty long, hot, and even quick-sandy day (seriously, there were a couple times we sunk hip-deep into some river sludge that absolutely required another person's help to be extracted.. enough of an issue to keep me from ever doing a solo trip here). But with a nice reward as we explored the slots of Mineral Gulch this day.

    Check out that weird sand texture. NOTE: Turn video settings to 1080p.

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    Mineral Gulch - our first side trip

    Day 3 - Moving deeper into the canyon, with some amazing exploration into Joe Braun's "French Canyon" and Poverty Wash.
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    French Canyon

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    Poverty Wash
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    Poverty Wash
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    Poverty Wash - getting up the the Grotto section

    Day 4 - Past the Boulder Obstacle, exploring Misery Canyon and down to Labyrinth Falls. Day 4 of this hike was probably the single most impactful outdoor experience I've had, ever. This place is magical.

    First came the boulder obstacle... that had us a little intimidated, especially with our younger companions.

    NOTE: Turn video settings to 1080p.
    But, we actually found it very manageable, with some caution and calculated movement, of course. I'm sure the high bypass route may be preferable during higher flow, but going directly over it was the right choice for us. The rope someone left for downclimbing, was probably unnecessary this time of year, but certainly convenient. And gave us some additional peace of mind as we went down to test the river crossing below (which was only above our waists for a couple steps).

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    Misery Canyon - it's was pretty difficult to go very far up. But, what you do see in a short distance is extremely cool. Incidentally, a few canyoneers coming down Misery Canyon were the first humans we had seen since beginning the hike.

    After leaving Misery... the scenery seems to get more dramatic around every corner. Here's a video with shots of sections down to Labyrinth Falls:

    NOTE: Turn video settings to 1080p.

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    Day 5 - Exiting out to Checkerboard Mesa (and our shuttle car). Better known as time to pay the piper. This is not a good time of year to do that hike. We started about 7am. If I had it to do over again, I might start at 3am. Or just live in the canyon until fall.
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    My son and I. Couldn't be prouder of this kid. Or any more satisfied with what we just did together.

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    And our full group... back at the car, where my brother-in-law was wise enough to bring a cooler loaded with ice and Gatorades.

    Gonna be hard for us to beat this one.

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  3. #2
    EXCELLENT first post! Welcome to bogley and thanks for the Trip Report

  4. #3
    Moderator jman's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
    Above you and looking down
    Blog Entries
    Quote Originally Posted by Sombeech View Post
    EXCELLENT first post! Welcome to bogley and thanks for the Trip Report
    x2. Great pics and write-up, and of course, even better when enjoyed with family.

    And it's pretty awesome not to see any visitors except the canyoneers at Misery. Let's hope it stays that way right?

    This is one I will eventually do...
    ●Canyoneering 'Canyon Conditions' @
    ●Hiking Treks (my younger brother's website): hiking guides @
    "He who walks on the edge...will eventually fall."
    "There are two ways to die in the desert - dehydration and drowning." -overhearing a Park Ranger at Capitol Reef N.P.
    "...the first law of gear-dynamics: gear is like a gas - it will expand to fit the available space." -Wortman, Outside magazine.
    "SEND IT, BRO!!"

  5. #4
    Rock on! Awesome trip and report!

  6. #5
    Thanks guys. It was seriously one if the great trips of my life. Glad I could contribute... I spend enough time on here reading others.

  7. #6

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