It is funny to me how this area is called a “canyon”. When I hear canyon, I think small, tight, and narrow. Bryce Canyon puts off no such vibes! In fact, it was quite the opposite The sheer expanse of red rock is what really moves a visitor. The Amphitheater overlooks, the rolling colors of Fairyland, and the vistas from the southern highlands region are the defining features of Bryce Canyon. I think these landmarks are just so unique, that it had to be called a “canyon” due to the lack of words needed to describe it.
I need to get it off my chest – Bryce Canyon has crappy rock. The whole time we were there, I found myself dreaming of rigging a highline between the hoodoos, or climbing up one of the walls. But you can’t. The muddy limestone would just crumble.
That being said, the erosion pattern in Bryce Canyon has created some of the most thrilling views – EVER.
The first day we were there we hit part of the same storm that we were wrestling in Great Basin. It was off and on snow as we were hiking around the Navajo Loop.
That night we camped outside of the park on National Forest land. We are trying to avoid staying in the actual park to avoid the camp fees. And really, the only reason we are able to do that is because of our solar set up. We haven’t had to “plug in” at all so far. Even on these overcast and snowy days, the 400 watts has been able to bring our batteries up to capacity. In hind site, the 400 watts may have been a little overkill for our power needs, BUT, it is really nice to know that it will always bring our batteries back up by the end of the day!
The next day we hiked the whole “Fairyland Loop”. As we started the hike, the top, clay-rich layer, was so muddy from the moisture the day and night before! We could barely take a few steps without adding ten pounds to our boots.
As we continued the hike we quickly understood why the trail was called “Fairyland”. There were features that resembled castles and guard towers everywhere. Nothing seemed real. It all reminded me of the world from the creepy 80’s movie “The Never-ending Story”. Just so many colors!
We loved the greens of the trees agains the reds of the hoodoos all agains the blues and the whites of the sky. The combination is amazing.
Near the end of the day we hiked through the Bristlecone Loop. Since Bristlecones are some of the world’s oldest trees, we figured this hike would be a fitting activity for Arbor day. #plantatree
At the bottom of the loop there was a plaque that read:
“Silence alone is worthy to be heard.”
– Henry David Thoreau
It wasn’t until then that I realized that it had been almost totally silent for our whole hike. We hadn’t seen a single person on the trail. Clouds were looming so I am sure people weren’t out hiking in fear of getting caught in the bad weather. For a few moments I stood there at the plaque and Madison doubled back to see what I was doing. We both were able to appreciate the quietness.
After our bristle cone hike, we stopped at a few of the viewpoints along the road to the lodge. We figured we would get the kitty out to stretch his legs and maybe take a few pictures. However, all he wanted to show us was his back end.
We stopped at Swamp Canyon overlook, Natural Bridge overlook and also tried to time the sunset at Inspiration Point. There were still a lot of clouds, but the the sunset from there was quite… inspirational.
On our way out, we wanted to check out the lodge as well. We were talking with an older couple that said we had to see it before we left. We noticed that from the lodge you can go out on horseback into the canyons. I was kind of glad that we found out about these tours at the end of our stay, but Madison already wants to go back to ride! So far, it looks like we “need to return” to both Great Basin AND Bryce Canyon. I am starting to see a pattern…