BRYCE Canyon National Park
Our third trip to Bryce Canyon.......
Why have we been here 3 times......because we absolutely love it here!
Bryce is the western most park that we had time to visit on this trip. We have been to Zion twice and think it's very lovely, but we've been away from home and our favorite fur girl, Marly, for two weeks, so we had to make hard decisions......which parks to skip this time.
When we were here for the first time, 10 or 12 years ago, we came on a tour bus from Vegas in November. We lived in Ohio and I had never been to Vegas and was looking forward to some warm sunny weather. Vegas had unseasonably cold temps and torrential rains that flooded the streets!
Our trip to Bryce was no different. It was in the 40's by the time we reached the park. It was so cold, rainy, and windy, that most of us just stepped out of the van, took a peak, and jumped back in. We took a few photos, but the hoodoos were almost completely covered in clouds, fog, and mist. I could feel that this park was really something even though I couldn't see it, so I was determined to someday return, and we did a few years later.
Driving in from Zion NP.
I searched for one of the photos from that trip, but found nothing. I thought for sure that I had a stray somewhere. All of the images from that trip are lost on a portable hard drive that has gone bad. I'm so sad. I believe the year was 2007.
We returned with both of our girls in 2012. It was a gorgeous day - sunny, 80 degrees, low humidity - just beautiful and we got to see so much of the park....in all its glory!
We were there shortly after sunrise in June. Unfortunately the photos are on the same defunct hard drive although I do have a few low resolution images that I had stored on Shutterfly. I'll share some of those along with our new images. Here are a few to compare and contrast.
Could this possibly be the same tree?
Slightly different angle?
I liked this view back then. I still like it today.
I remember all of us walking toward the first scenic overlook and being so excited to get our first glimpse of the hoodoos.
They did not disappoint!
Back to present day........On our drive in from Escalante, we hit a few areas of light rain - bummer, but by the time we got to the park, it was just cloudy.
I think it's so hard to tell if your horizon is straight here. Same area; different view.
Certainly by now, if you've been reading day by day, you know we like our zoom-ins.
Did you know that Bryce Canyon is not considered a canyon at all? It is a collection of giant natural amphitheaters.
Because of its remote location, Bryce receives about 2.7 million visitors per year or well over a million less than Zion.
Even though Bryce Canyon was settled by Mormon pioneers in the 1850s and was named after Ebenezer Bryce, it didn't become a National Park until 1928.
The number of hoodoos clustered together in this park is just astonishing!
Luckily, we did get a few peaks of hazy sunshine.
With the high elevation, it was a little cool this day, especially compared to all the hot days we spent hiking the other Utah parks. The Rim Trail that overlooks the park is between 8000 and 9000 feet elevation.
I hadn't looked at the old pictures in quite a while, but we did not notice this bench on this trip.
Based on the ordering of the pictures and the timing, I'm pretty sure this was our view.
Now to the right of the tree.
We started making our way down the main road, Route 63, stopping at each scenic stop for a short hike and lots of pictures.
Whether you're at Sunrise, Sunset, Inspiration, or Bryce Point, you'll notice that the big picture doesn't change much.
The change is in the details.
More rain - YUK!
We drove almost to the end, Bryce Point, for more views of the hoodoos.
I would like to hike down there.
That sky is not looking good at all!
Just one more sign that we should not hike right now!
Making lemonade out of lemons.....or something like that.
This seems like a good time and place to dance. You can't tell from our pictures, but the park is actually pretty crowded.
Or just pose with your mom.
Oh! Mom's a dancer too!
You can never get enough hoodoo pics, right?
And Now! Where did the time go?
I had to check the date on the pictures......Saturday, June 23, 2012 and Sunday, June 16, 2019......almost 7 years to the week.
Just one more before we go.
We apparently liked this view 7 years ago.
All that dancing and posing made us hungry, so we decided to head back into town in search of lunch.
A trip to Bryce without a stop at Ruby's Inn would just be........well, incomplete. They have a large restaurant with a big buffet. The food is descent and the price is reasonable, plus they have a huge gift shop! My gal loves to shop. I think we could be here a while!
I had time to make my own post cards while Abby was shopping.
It looked like we might have some dry time for a while so we headed back into the park. We went to Sunset and Sunrise Points to hike the Navajo Trail. As luck would have it, they have a gift shop here!
Somehow it got colder and this is how the smart one warmed up her hands.
The trail seems steeper than we remember. Maybe we're just older and our knees are just weaker.
It's worth it. Let's Go!
We started down the switchbacks with lots of other people. Bryce was our 6th park in Utah during this past week and was defitinely the most crowded - this trail in particular. Our images really don't show how crowded it felt - maybe because there were a few larger groups or many people were slow and we had to try to manuever around them or maybe because some kids were very loud and rowdy...... I don't know. It just felt like there were a lot of people/
It was already slippery and it wasn't even raining, yet.
Even though signs are posted trying to help people escape from stupidity, it happens.
People, and when I say people, I mean ladies, were hiking in dress shoes, flats, chunky low heels, and even high heels! Who goes to a canyon, or any kind of park, in high heels? Outside of Salt Lake City, Utah is a vast wilderness. It's not like you jump in the car, leave your neighborhood heading to the grocery store to pick up a few things and drive past Bryce Canyon and say Oh, let's stop by and take a peak. Bryce Canyon National Park is a destination, not a drive by stop. It has a visitor center, a lodge, an entrance sign, and a fee to get in. Even if you're not hiking, you still have to walk up hill and down hill from your car to see the sights of interest.
I doubled checked my pictures and I do not have any photo proof of the above. Darn, I guess I was slacking that day!
About half way down, it started to sprinkle. It's okay. We kept going.
You cannot hide in there little girlfriend.
Definitely not the same tunnel, but I like it. Not sure if we saw it on this more recent trip, but we did not take a picture of it.
It was really slippery now and raining pretty hard! Hikers kept on hiking.
We felt so small among these giants! The rocks and the trees.
Must you pick up everything you find????
By the time we reached to bottom of the 'canyon' the rain had stopped. I like this tree but I certainly didn't remember it from the past......
but here it is in my archived photo collection.
Another oldie but goodie.
A little splash of color. Unfortunately, it was raining again. Umbrellas open! Cameras tucked in.
Once we reached about the half way point or a little beyond, there was a sign saying that the trail was closed. YIKES! No loop today. We had to hike back up the slippery switchbacks.
Even though it's not a good idea to feed wildlife, people do it all the time and today was no exception. This squirrel had no fear of us or anyone else on this trail.
I guess she has been teaching her children and they teach their children......
Once we were back up to the rim trail, the rain stopped again giving us the courage to venture down the other side of the Navajo Trail.
We wanted to take some pictures on the cliff's edges but several groups of people were dominating all the scenic spots, so we waited patiently.....5 minutes.....7 minutes......still waiting, so we started edging in to one particular spot only to be shooed away by an Asian couple. How Rude!
No worries. After about 500 pictures with a blowing scarf (that must be the new thing, we saw lots of Asian people in Wyoming also posing with scarves), they finally moved on and let us have our turn.
Hey! What's that over there?
Come to the edge with me!
In 2012, we spent the night at Ruby's. Since it was a short drive to the hotel, we hung out for sunset.
Our girls wanted to sleep in the next morning, so my husband and I got up early and drove back into the park and hiked down into the hoodoos to shoot the sunrise.
It was so magnificent!
I wish I had more than just these 3 images.
I don't remember what else we took, but I know we took a lot more than 3 images. We also did some painting with flashlights. Lesson: Don't trust the portable hard drives to last more than a few years. Now we have cloud backup. I don't think we knew about cloud backup back then.
Goodbye Bryce! We will see you again!