Friday, September 30, 2011
I'm fairly certain my family visited Bryce Canyon in 1976. I was ten years old, but one thing I remember clearly - a hike we did, in the heat of the day, down into the canyon. Yesterday, as we finished hiking the Rim Trail, and came out to the lookout at Sunset Point, I had a flash of recognition. This was it! The switchbacks, descending between the hoodoos... I remember looking back up at the striking contrast between the bright orange columns of rock and the deep, deep blue sky. I also remember being hot and thirsty.
But we had to do this hike! It's not a long hike, it's the "everything that goes down must come back up" factor - the opposite of the hiking we're used to. To beat the heat, we started early :D
In the photo above, the boys - all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed - are standing above the return trail. But this view - the way down - is what I remember.... switchback after switchback, descending out of sight, into the canyon.
The light changed as we dropped below the rim, still early in the morning with the sun at a low angle.
You think you can see the bottom, but you can't. The trail curves around a bend and... more switchbacks.
The park service has cut through some of the rock to make room for the trail. Fun :D
Yes, still descending...
... until you reach "Wall Street". So much nicer than the one in New York! And still descending...
Looking back up, the way we had come. And no, you can't see the top.
Further into Wall Street...
... you come upon three towering evergreens. Gunnar says it made him feel puny. Yah.
The trail wound around, down in the canyon. Lots to see. I think that's a bristlecone pine.
Still wandering around, below the hoodoos, the trail gently began to climb.
Soon, we were back to the switchbacks and the serious uphill began.
Coming early in the day meant lots of shady spots. And we brought plenty of water. :D
Once again, the switchbacks are deceiving. You look up and think you're seeing the top - you're almost there! But you're not.
The boys did an awesome job. Lots of water breaks, and no whining :D And here, they are finally nearing the top.
Just a bit more, but someone is feeling rightfully proud of himself.
Wyatt and Tate liked being in the lead. Looks like they're right at the top, doesn't it? Almost...
A look at Thor's Hammer.
Just a few more switchbacks...
And we're right below our starting point, at last!
And look at them! None the worse for wear ;D
After a snack, we drove all the way into the park, to the very end of the road and the literal high point of our trip - Rainbow Point - and stopped to explore several other areas on our way back out.
I loved the lookout point - the boys look like they're on the prow of a ship.
We saw an amazing array of beautiful places on our vacation, but Bryce has to be the most unique.
Astonishing, dramatic, even startling. This is likely my favorite "non-kid" pic I took for the whole trip.
And to our surprise, we saw several prairie dog colonies!
But by late afternoon we knew it was time to push on, under billowing clouds.
Our destination was the under-whelming town of Beaver, for the sole reason that it was on our way - finally heading west - and had a great hotel for a nice price.
Day 14 Miles : 124 Total Miles : 3197