Old Paria, October, 2011

John Fowler

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Jan 17, 2012
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Near the end of last October I set out from home (Placitas, NM) for a trip to Zion to get in some hiking and leaf photography. The ghost town of Old Paria, a place I had never seen, was along the way and about 430 miles away, so I decided to stop there and camp for the first night.

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On US 89 out of Page, AZ, about five miles after the turnoff to House Rock Valley Road, the highway makes a looping curve from north back to southwest. Near the middle of this curve on the north side there is a pullout, a monument, and a bulletin board. From there a good dirt road leads about five miles northward to the Paria area. I got there in mid-afternoon.

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There used to be a movie set that I knew had been washed away in the '90s by a flash flood. Volunteers had reconstructed the set on higher ground and I wanted to photograph this with the striated cliffs in the background.

This is the area where the old movie set was located.
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ventually the road goes down a steep decline into a valley near the Paria river. Here I found the location of the original movie set, but no reconstruction was to be seen even though I wandered around for some time looking for it. So I drove back up to the billboard and read that the reconstructed set had been burned to the ground a few years ago. Arson was suspected.

Driving back, I stopped at the campground. I had seen two other vehicles in the area, but they were gone so I had the place to myself. There is also a pit toilet, always a welcome sight. I drove about half a mile further until the road ended by the river. The town was just on the other side, and there appears to be nothing left but the cemetery, which I had passed already. the river was only shin-deep so I waded around for a while. A longer hike down the river seems feasible and might be worthwhile.

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As the sun set I drove back to the campground, where I spent the night in my truck. tghe image below is a combination: I shot the ground during twilight and the stars about an hour later and combined them in Photoshop. I greatly admire the star photography of ibenick and summit and hope someday to approach their level of skill.

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The next morning I was up for the sunrise and got some more shots. the cliffs are spectacular when the light is right.

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Then it was on to Zion for some real fun.
 

Nick

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Aug 9, 2007
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I love it! Great shots, John! I've been wanting to check out the Paria Movie set for years but I heard that it was burnt by vandals around 2006. I don't remember where I heard that, maybe it was about a different ghost town. Did you see any sign of a fire? Looking forward to the 'real fun' in Zion!
 

John Fowler

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Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
217
I love it! Great shots, John! I've been wanting to check out the Paria Movie set for years but I heard that it was burnt by vandals around 2006. I don't remember where I heard that, maybe it was about a different ghost town. Did you see any sign of a fire? Looking forward to the 'real fun' in Zion!
All I saw was an old metal pipe sticking out of the ground where the original set was located. I didn't see any sign of the newer burned-down building, but I think it was higher up on the hill. The only thing I saw of substance that was man-made was the cemetery. All the markers in it were of recent vintage -- the old markers if any were probably removed a long time ago. One thing that always hits me when I visit these old cemeteries is how many people died in childhood or their twenties. Life was rough back then.
 

John Fowler

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Jan 17, 2012
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That bottom shot is killer! :twothumbs:
Thanks. The morning sun and the clouds were just right. This was taken from the road most of the way up the hill. I hate to get up early in the morning, but sometimes it pays off.
 

ladigue_99

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Jan 21, 2012
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At last I have an opportunity to see your photos that you didn't post on flickr! The one with the stars and the twilight combined together turned out really nice. I've never noticed the monument, next time I won't miss it.
 

pixie1339

Desperately Seeking Sandstone
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Jan 21, 2012
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Beautiful shots John!

I love it! Great shots, John! I've been wanting to check out the Paria Movie set for years but I heard that it was burnt by vandals around 2006. I don't remember where I heard that, maybe it was about a different ghost town. Did you see any sign of a fire? Looking forward to the 'real fun' in Zion!

The movie set is long gone, but the real treasure here is the amazing scenery! I've been twice now and one thing I thought was really cool the last time that I didn't notice the first time is that you can see Yellow Rock and Castle Rock out on the Cottonwood Road briefly on the drive in.
 
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