We really tried to get an early start, or at least earlier than usual. Yet it’s an 1 1/2 hour drive from Kanab to the Wire Pass Trailhead, Utah is an hour later than Arizona, and it’s my day off. But Bill and I were determined to hike to The Wave.
When you receive one of the 20 permits issued daily to enter Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness you go through an orientation with a BLM Ranger that takes place in the Kanab Visitor Center. This includes a safety talk and a map with photos directing you to The Wave. Bill volunteers with BLM and patrols the area that includes Coyote Buttes North and took me in for an unofficial orientation. We were given the map and he wanted me to lead the way in by their method as I’d never been there before. So I was there for safety and to test the material for ease of use. Which I did and found it easy to identify the landmarks.
The 8 mile drive from SR89 on the gravel House Rock Valley Road, BLM Rd 1065, is a delight winding past the Cockscomb to the Wire Pass Trailhead. However, 4×4 with high clearance is suggested and after rain or snow the road may be impassable. For us it was in decent shape except for the Buckskin crossing which was a deep damp dip that Bill’s 4×4 handled with ease.
Surrounded by Navajo Sandstone, 200 million year old sand dunes, with surreal swirls of sandstone in multicolored hues of red, pink, orange, maroon, white and yellow displayed the cross patterns of bedding planes. The spectacular ribbons of various colors called Liesegang bands, were formed by movement and precipitation of oxidizing minerals such as iron and manganese by ground water. Thin veins of calcite cut across the sandstone, adding another dimension to the landscape. Everything around us was breathtaking.
We’d left Wire Pass Trailhead at 9:15am and arrived at The Wave around 11:45. It was a hot 3.2 mile hike with limited shade. One large lovely willow in Sand Cove Wash provided us respite before the last big climb to The Wave, which I’ll post about soon.
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