CAMPING ON THE PARIA RIVER
By the time we reached the confluence of the Paria River and the Buckskin Gulch, a thin layer of water flowed over the wet sand as it joined a slightly larger trickle of water from the Buckskin Gulch. Our group decided to pitch camp a quarter of a mile or so past the confluence.
Xronda and I threw the tent together while Kent setup the stove so we could eat right after sunset. Then we started exploring the immediate surroundings. Freed from my backpack, I tried to get into some serious photography which wasn't too hard to do. The late afternoon sun lit the rim of the rock canyon where we were now willing captives, and everywhere around us the bounce light played on the canyon walls. I could not move my camera fast enough for all that I was seeing, and I photographed until after sunset. Then it was time to eat dinner and get ready for sleep.
It was after dark and everyone had eaten and made their beds. I was resting in the tent when I heard what sounded like a sports whistle echoing in the canyon. We couldn't believe that someone was really blowing a whistle in the canyon several hours after dark, but that's what it sounded like. Xronda and I speculated some more as to the source of the sound, and finally decided to go investigate. We soon found out that the sound was coming from a single toad swimming in a small pool cut off from the Paria River. The canyon walls gave the toad's amorous aria real carrying power as well as a spooky echo, but up close it sounded very normal, cricket-like, but continuous for 5 to 10 seconds with a slight rise of pitch.
My curiosity satisfied, I returned to the tent. The May heat wave produced 90 to 95 degree temperatures in the day, but now, a few hours after dark, and hundreds of feet below the surounding mesas on the river bottom, the air was chilly, and I found the warmth of my sleeping bag very welcome.