Time to move on, again, but we had one item of unfinished business in Zion. Kerry saw this photo of a natural bridge, but we hadn't seen it in the park, and wanted to find it.
Can you see it? Even with the sign to help us, we were glad a ranger happened by and pointed it out, as we never would have noticed it on our own.
One last look at the rock of Zion...
And yet another arch. (Partial arch?)
Not too far to drive, this day. Just long enough for Wyatt (who swears he never naps in the car) to sleep off the effects of the Benadryl. And onward to Bryce Canyon. This is another park I remember vividly from my childhood - the unworldly rock formations, the bright colors, and how deep blue the sky looked above the orange columns. Had to share it with the boys :D
After a stop at the Visitor Center to get advice and reconnoiter, we headed up to Bryce Point for our first real look at the canyon, and our first hike.
We decided to follow the Rim Trail for 2-3 miles from Bryce Point, around to Inspiration Point - near the middle of the photo below. The main part of Bryce Canyon forms a horse-shoe, or amphitheater, facing east. As I took the photo below (facing north-ish) the sun was directly behind me (no helpful shadows), so it's difficult to see all the layers and layers of rock formations.
Though Kerry was recovered from whatever troubled him at the Grand Canyon, Wyatt was not quite himself. Still, this was a relatively easy hike to begin with, as it meanders along the rim - sometimes uphill, but trending slightly downward, with continually changing views.
Yes, we're standing on the trail. :
The diversity just boggles the mind. Multi-colored layers of rock, green forest, farmland, and more cliffs beyond. I was looking generally to the east, toward the town of Tropic. We were staying just south of Tropic in Cannonville.
The rock is so different, it's startling. Unworldly. They call these columns hoodoos. We felt like we were on Mars.
And, not to mention, it was hot. Though the hike wasn't particularly strenuous, 90 degree heat and elevation (over 8000'!) take their toll. We stopped frequently in pockets of shade for water breaks.
When they say the trail goes along the rim, they are not kidding. It goes right along the rim. Only at the major viewpoints is there any kind of railing. This is not a trail for the faint-hearted, or kids who can't be trusted to behave. The rock is very crumbly and not secure.
But the views are oh-so-very-worth it.
I loved seeing the changes in the light and shadow as we made our way in a semi-circle round the rim.
Here we are, at Sunset Point, looking back in the direction we've come.
Though accessible to private vehicles, Bryce also has a shuttle system. Done with our hike, we hopped a free shuttle and made our way back up to Bryce Point... and a late-ish lunch.
With the temp rising, and the knowledge that we had all of the next day at Bryce, we opted - once again - to head out to our cozy KOA cabin to settle in and have a swim in the pool. I know, I know... 102F (39 for you metric folks) isn't that hot to some of you, but we're northerners, and when the thermometer climbs we head for water! I didn't get any pictures here, but we were thankful again for the clean and uncrowded KOA pools (and showers). I don't know what it would be like in the summer, when the campgrounds are full, but we really enjoyed our KOA stays.
Since the big Bryce amphitheater faces east, it's not a particularly dramatic place to watch the sunset. Still, we headed back into the park to see what we could see, and snapped a few pictures.
But our main mission, by this time of day, was food. After a quick stroll through the western village...
... and a stop at the hoosegow...
... (don't they look tragic?) we pulled up at the famous Ruby's Inn for dinner. Ahhhhhh :D
Back at the KOA the crickets serenaded us :D Even the walk to the bathrooms and back was a pleasure. The area around Bryce is well-known for its clear skies - meaning lots and lots of stars are visible.
Day 13 Miles : 176 Total Miles : 3073