Bushhead camp
image © Robert Luis Chavez

This is where Bushhead Canyon meets the Paria River.


The day before was easy hiking since we didn't move our camp. Now I was carrying my full pack of sixty pounds plus and my back was aching again. The soles of my feet were also hurting from walking in wet shoes in the river the day before. I continued on and the canyon opened up to a couple of hundred feet in places with wide sandy banks one to two feet higher than the river. In pain already, I tried to pick the most efficient path possible through the curves of the canyon, but I think it evened out most of the time; though the wide raised banks offered shortcuts between turns in the river, the sand was soft and deep, while the wet sand right along the river's zig zagging path was harder, smoother, and easier to walk on.

I found an area with a lot of tadpoles good for photographing, and ended up shooting a few rolls of film while I waited for the group to catch up. When they arrived Xronda was furious with one of the other women on the tour. The woman had been constantly nagging Kent and Xronda since I left the group, saying what if I got lost or separated from the group, I only wish! As if they were my keepers anyway. I saw the mad dog look in Xronda's eyes that was only barely concealed from the rest of the group. Normally the flecks of foam in the corners of her mouth only annoyed, but now with the full crazed twist of Xronda's face, the little bits of foam cabareted her lips sinister and cartoon-like. "Good thing you were here Kent, I was getting ready to kill her if she didn't shut her mouth" Xronda stated dryly. Kent only prodded Xronda with comments like "She's subhuman, you know what you have to do." Xronda smiled and nodded, then walked past us and casually re-entered what seemed an on-going conversation she was having with one of the scientists. Earlier she told Kent and I they were all lab rats, now she was talking with him about the similarities between science and religion.

Xronda and the other woman she had the spat with, never said a word directly to each other the rest of the trip. Still I could see the piercing narrow eyed looks Xronda shot her way after that. In any kind of interaction thereafter, Xronda would use the subtlest of putdowns when dealing with the woman. Because Kent and I already know Xronda's ways, we were the only ones catching on to the insults and put downs, I just had to hold my self back from laughing.

I had waited for the group right next to Shower Spring. The spring is set slightly off from the river and water runs from an overhang so it's possible to shower there. I walked back to take a picture of the spring and saw a frog hopping around a small pool below the shower. Many of the springs like Shower Spring have tiny ecosytems associated with them. There were ferns and other plants that only seemed to grow on the wet canyon walls.