Monday, July 18, 2011

They named a canyon for Me? -- Bryce Canyon

My son has been enamored with the place ever since he learned of it.  "They named it after me?" he says.  Perhaps not, but and after hiking around the entire place, I'll have to take him there someday.

I'm glad that he didn't go this time though.  He would have passed out within the first 2 miles, and we hiked until even Brenna stated,  "Not one more step.  It's hot. I'm tired. You can get the car." as she found a heaven sent log bench after climbing back up to the rim of the canyon.

I know I need to wrap up my posts about this trip, and I can't seem to find time to edit together the last big a "Moses Ride"(i.e. seems like you are lost in the desert for 40 years) video. I'll get to that next, but for the sake of getting a story written, I'll jump out of order and write up Bryce Canyon.

Of all the strange geological formations we have seen out in Utah over the past 2 trips, this pretty much tops it.  Arches national park was cool, but Bryce Canyon was something else.  It's high elevations and alien rock forms "hoodoos" are a true miracle to see and explore.  It's actually not a canyon, but a ridge where water has been eroding away the sides for millions of years dissolving the softer rock compounds away and leaving constantly changing spires and deep cuts in the rock.  The hoodoos look like giant drip castles from the beach.  Eventually the erosion will cut deeper into the high ridge and level the whole place out.

What struck me most was the color.  Every hour as the sun would move the colors would be different.  From a deep orange and white in the morning to pinks and tans in the afternoon.  The shadow effects were remarkable and made for photographs that you couldn't really get wrong.  Utah, makes my total hack photography skills better just by being there.

And with that, I see this post turning into one of my literarily (perhaps even literally) lazy posts and more into a slide show.  Hopefully you will enjoy it just the same.  Assuming that anyone even visits this link at all.

You enter Bryce Canyon NP from the rim and hike down into the base.  The trails wind all over among the walls and spires.  The place is actually named after a Mormon settler that famously mentioned that Bryce Canyon was "A heck of a place to lose a cow".  Fortunately for us, we weren't looking for any large animals down there.  The joys of a relaxing vacation...  I'm also glad we were up at 10k feet because I could tell even at the mid day temperatures in late spring that for much of the summer the canyon would be dangerously hot.

I love the twisted gnarled nature of the junipers and pines on the slopes all over the canyon country in Utah.  The environment is so harsh that they are just clinging to life on craggy hills, but they seem to keep growing just the same.

The rain hung over the far mountains, but never made it to us.  You don't realize how small our horizons are here in the southeast until you get to a place like this.  We are always surrounded by tall trees in the Appalachian and you can only see maybe 100-200 yards at any given time?  Out west you can see for miles quite regularly.  Not a bad thing, just an interesting observation.  If you grew up out west and came to the southeast it might be a pretty claustrophobic place.

We got up early to catch the sunrise over the park, and realized that we didn't own enough clothing for the high altitude temperatures.  
We were standing on the rim overlooking sunrise point (aptly named...) with the temperature reading 29 in the car as we pulled up to the park entrance.  The interesting variation is that when we finished the day the car thermometer read 98 degrees.  That's quite a change for one day.

The sun flashed above the horizon and the glow crept slowly down the rock faces as the sun cleared the mountains and mesas in the distance.

May 25th and there were mounds of snow 10 feet high still on the ground.  I have no idea how much snow this area must have had just a month before.

We climbed to the top of a rock outcrop to look back at the tourist laden observation area.  It does amaze me the amount of people that will drive everywhere in these parks and just hop out for a photo and drive on without exploring or even trying to hike around.  They are really missing out.

Hiking shoes got a few miles on them during this trip.

One of the many arches that are found everywhere if you look for them.

Bryce Canyon, a place I highly recommend visiting if you ever make it out to Utah, and as I keep finding out, we could spend years in the state and not see everything that we would want to.  I'll try to edit up the JEM / Hurricane Rim/ Goulds trail ride video for the next post.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mom and I spent the last hour catching up on your blog and videos . . . Gooseberry and others . . . and Bryce Canyon pics. I am always amazed at your varied skills, from highly skilled mtn bike riding to creative video editing. Great fun.

And, Brenna is such a sport--joins in as much as humanly possible and seems to truly enjoy her husband's (or fourth child's) feats and loved activities.

Thanks for the ride!!!

Nana & Papa