Sunday, May 16, 2010

May 14, 2010 - Bryce Canyon National Park

I wanted to share a quote that I saw on our first day here on one of the park's signs:
"There are deep caverns and rooms resembling ruins of prisons, castles, churches with their guarded walls, battlements, spires and steeples, niches and recesses, presenting the wildest and most wonderful scene that the eye of man ever beheld, in fact, it is one of the wonders of the world."   T.C. Bailey - Land Survey - 1876
That just about sums up Bryce Canyon National Park and still applies today.  It is truly amazing and I don't think I've ever seen anything like it in all our travels.  In fact, Matt was speaking with a local and said that over 80% of the visitors to Bryce are European because there is nothing like Bryce on their continent. We have noticed lots of French and German speaking travelers here.  Its great to know they enjoy our country as much as we enjoy theirs.

Matt actually decided to stay in the warm RV with me this morning and not do his normal morning sunrise shoot.  It is supposed to be a nicer day so we decided to try our hand at hiking again and hope that we won't get snowed or sleeted on.  We parked at the Sunrise overlook and started hiking down on the Queens Garden trail.  It was a beautiful trail through the Hoodoos. 

Here I am on the trail as we descend into the canyon.  It is still chilly as I'm layered up with shirt, fleece and jacket.

This is the namesake of the trail.  The rock that is said to resemble Queen Victoria is in the one on the left.  It looks like her in a long gown with a crown on top of her head (facing to the left out of the photo).  I kind of think that the small middle hoodoo looks like a dragon head facing away from the queen, but who knows...
Another shot of me on the trail.  Getting a little warmer as I'm now only in a long sleeve shirt.  Isn't this a gorgeous trail???

We then decided to lengthen our hike by combining the Peek a Boo trail that goes all the way to Bryce Point and then completing the figure 8 hike by coming back up the Navajo trail to Sunset Point.  Overall, we hiked for 6 miles in about 4 hours and finished around a quarter to one with just over 2,000 feet of ascending and descending. 

This is on the Peek A Boo trail and is called the "Wall of Windows" - Easy to see where it gets its name from - If you can only hike one side of the Peek a Boo loop (its 3 miles in total), you should hike the more spectacular side near the rim.

We had to pass through several tunnels through the rock on the hike.

We also passed through a very snowy patch on the trail - Thank goodness for someone who had shoveled the trail out - Don't think this is gonna melt for a bit.

We were both hungry so we decided to make a stop at the Bryce Canyon Lodge for a lunch (a burger sounded great). 

Here is the lodge - Still the original structure (1924) and has never been rebuilt (click the title of this blog for a link to more information on the Lodge)

As we walked from the trail to the lodge, we passed so many cute cabins.  The rustic location and feel was just wonderful.

The burgers at lunch were OK, not as good as dinner the other night, but still nice especially since we had just gotten into the lodge and it started sleeting outside.  We were more than content to rest in the warm lodge and watch the cold wet weather.  As we were walking from the lodge back over to Sunrise Point, we noticed the old abandoned gas station that used to operate in the park. 

The antique gas pumps were really cool. 

We made it back to the RV after braving the sleet that was piling up on the windshield and then decided that the warm RV was waaaay to inviting to venture out again.  Oh well, there is always tomorrow to explore some more.

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