Wednesday, May 12, 2010

May 11, 2010 - Bryce Canyon National Park

We woke up to 32 degrees but bright blue skies.  The forecast calls for snow today, Wednesday and Thursday morning but better weather returns for Friday through Sunday.  We will leave here on Monday to make the drive over to Moab's Dead Horse State Park.

This first photo was taken by Matt in his Monday sunset photo session at Sunset Point here in Bryce.

Matt left a little after 6am to do his sunrise shoot while I stayed warm under our down blanket.  He came back to the RV to pick me up about 8:30 and off we went to the Sunset point to start our hike down the Navajo Loop and into the Queen's loop.  It was just starting to spit snow as we left the RV.  Since it was just lightly snowing, we decided to put on our down jackets and start our hike.

We started on the rim of the canyon and hiked down to the floor following some very steep trails and lots of switchbacks.  It continued to snow all the way down the hike and we were only able to do one side of the Navajo Loop as the trail was experiencing some very large rock slides on the other side of the loop.  We finally reached the end of Navajo and were just starting to hike on the Queens trail when it began snowing harder and sticking to the ground a bit.  We decided we had better turn around and go back the way we came.  It was amazing, in 30 minutes, the once hard packed trail had become wet and muddy.  Near the top, the mud caked on our boots in about 2 inches under and all around.  It felt like we were walking with weights on our shoes.  We finally reached the parking lot and had to find some water puddles to get some of the mud off before we could even get in the truck to go home.

After a rest and warm up back at the RV, we decided to go exploring some more.  We left the RV about 4pm to pay a visit to the Visitors Center and Museum and to watch the introduction film there.  The video was informative, but the photography was not very good (although the lightening time lapse was pretty cool).  It was still cold and very windy so we decided to drive out to Bryce Point and Paria View.  We had packed a picnic dinner, but it was so cold and windy that we decided to have dinner at the Bryce Canyon Lodge.  It is a great old building built with the typical dark timber style and the wonderful old wavy glass panes.  It was a great dinner and I would highly recommend a visit there.

Here are a couple of photo's from Matt's sunrise shoot this morning.  This is what is called the Bryce Amphitheatre.  This photo was taken from the Bryce Point Overlook.  The Hoodoo's are amazing structures.

This second photo was taken of Thor's Hammer just after sunrise.  Thor's Hammer is located on the Navajo Loop trail just down from Sunset Point.

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