"The Wave" in Paria Canyon area.
Do this hike before you die
I read in a hiking book that "The Wave" is one of the top world class hikes you should do before you die. Friends told us since only 10 permits are won at the land office lottery per day and usually about 50 people are trying to win permits,we had little chance of winning the lottery to hike into "The Wave".
We try to win the lottery
We were on a hiking holiday driving Utah highway 89 which goes right past the lottery location at the land management office. It is half way between Knab and Lake Powell in Southern Utah. So we had to try. We camped at a nearby campground and waited at the office first thing the next morning. It was a clear day with no chance of rain so we planned to hike the dramatic slot canyon called Coyote Buttes if we couldn't get Wave permits. We won three permits. An Englishman "Andrew" won the fourth permit and asked if he could join us. It was his second trip in to the area.
Andrew told us:"I hiked in alone last year and got off the route somehow. I thought I was done for wandering in the badlands with no water, no food. I was exhausted but then I saw some hikers way up on a ridge. I hollered and they saw me. They waited for me."
Andrew led us to the turn off. The drive on the dirt road south off highway 89 takes about an hour. The road got rougher and rougher. Near the end, the road dipped down through a wash which was full of flowing muddy water. I gunned the Volkswagen Van and made it through. The red mud turned the White Van pink.
FOLLOW THE ROUTE MARKERS
There is no trail. The area is south of Escalante and Knab in the general area where the events of the wonderful but shocking film "127 hours" occurred. "127 hours" tells the story of a skilled young rock climber who goes alone to climb a deep crack in a lonely desert canyon. A large boulder comes loose and pins his arm. For 127 hours he tries to free himself and finally must cut off his lower arm to avoid dying of dehydration. The film is based http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travelling_with_Pets on true events. You don't want to get lost in this desolate area.
THE WAVE FORMATION IS VULNURABLE
Since the rock formations making up The Wave formations are soft and fragile access is strictly limited. The lands managers gave us good directions and a map.There are vague trails in some parts and piled rock cairns leading to The Wave. You need to look carefully since the cairns are far apart and constructed of red rock which blends into the red ground rock and red sand. There is no drinking water so everyone needs to bring at least 2 liters as well as food, sunscreen, sun hat, and of course a rain jacket just in case. The hike takes about 2 hours each way. You could spend many intense hours exploring the rock formations once you arrive at "The Wave"
IF YOU PLAN TO GO
Its an amazing magical area. If you want to do the hike,Google "The Wave" for more information about getting the permits, maps etc. It is best to book ahead. You can enter the email lottery for permits up to 6 months ahead. Ten permits are given by email each day to allow 20 people per day into the area. If you don't win your permit the first time you try-KEEP TRYING. Its really worth the effort.The day hike permit costs about $9.US per person.
This is Desert Wilderness
Due to the extreme fragility of the area no overnight camping is allowed. There is no water, no services, and the only out houses are at the parking lot. We went in November and the temperature was perfect-a high in the 70's Fahrenheit. In the summer it goes over 100 degrees. We hiked out to our van in the early afternoon since we were afraid to get lost out in the desert wilderness after dark. However we wished we had more time in the area.
Back to Civilization
The next day we camped by Lake Powell. The shallow lake water was warm and the beach at the lakeside a nice change from the desert. We had a good rest. I spent a long time washing all the red mud off the white Van.
Other Adventure Hikes
Here are some other beautiful exciting hikes:
Hours of Adventures in Arizona Slot Canyons-Antelope Canyon
The Napali Cliffs-Best hiking in Hawaii
Best hiking in New Zealand's Volcanoes and Golden Beaches