Big Spring- fantastic flow to quickly fill bottles but slightly alkalic.
Last Reliable Spring- best tasting water but half dozen slow drips, utilize all water storage containers simultaneously.
Ryan "Tuna Helper" Weidert
The Paria River now has an entirely different character to the last time you saw it up on Section 8 where it was a trickle down a wide and open wash. Here the river has you and there is no escape from the majestic sheer walls for miles around. Bliss. The river is extremely sinuous, like the Escalante, but so much easier travel with wide weedless benches, a gravel streambed and an ankle-biting river. Adorned with beautiful walls, alcoves, springs, gardens, and delicate reflections, there isn't a bad moment on this hike. The stretch from the confluence to Big Spring has some of the best campsites around (some are hidden up on hills, others are in alcoves, or obvious ones down on sandy flats near the river). Springs also become less abundant downstream of this point. Savor this part of the hike, you will not find another canyon like it until you reach Parunuweap near Zion NP, hundreds of miles away. The canyon will gradually open up as you head downstream. Just when it looks like it might be possible to climb out of the canyon, you do. Downstream of Bush Head Canyon the Paria opens up to a wide and comparitively uninteresting wash for 11 miles to where it joins the Colorado at Lees Ferry, Mile 0 of the Grand Canyon. You would then find yourself many miles away from the HDT with only a busy Hwy 89A to get you back on track. So instead climb up to the seldom-visited Vermillion Cliffs via the Bush Head route. The Paria Canyon route is 17.8 miles from the Buckskin/Paria confluence to the base of the Bush Head Route onto the Vermillion Cliffs.