Sunday, March 8, 2015

Bryce Canyon

Wingo bringing us to our final destination.

Here's a brief recap of our journey to Bryce. First a man from Molokai picked us up on the outskirts of Kanab and left us on a road leading to Alton. Then we caught another ride with Phil, who was in the process of moving from Phoenix to Salt Lake City. Interestingly enough, he knows who Daniel Suelo is and has listened to him on NPR! And lastly came Scotty, a hitchhiker from back in the day, along with his dog, Wingo, who brought us to Fairyland Point just outside the gates of Bryce Canyon.

This incredible outlook is part of the Fairyland Loop Trail, which leads into the heart of the park. And so we followed this trail and began our visit to Bryce Canyon...

Bristlecone pine.

The next morning we began our ascent back up the loop trail, heading for Sunrise Point.

Tower Bridge.

We wandered over to the lodge to see if they were still open for the season, and if so, to check if breakfast was still being served. Some deer were grazing beside the path on our way there...

From outside the lodge we heard the clanging of pots and pans in the kitchen and smelled the tantalizing odor of fresh-cooked breakfast. They indeed were still open for the season. Inside we took a seat and were given menus to look over. Our server, Tammy, and the rest of the staff were moving about excitedly, this being the last day that they would have to work for the season. The very next morning, the lodge would close for the winter.

After a delicious breakfast, Tammy entertained us with ghost stories that are said to have occurred in the lodge. This didn't deter us from inquiring about a room for the night. Bryce was getting cooler at nights, and now that we were up on the rim at a higher elevation, a room sounded much more pleasant of an option. We talked with Yolanda at the front desk and got permission to inspect a room down the street from the main building.

As instructed, we found Karma, the head housekeeper, there. She unlocked the room for us and allowed us to look around. Karma was busily preparing for the end of the season, while her husband, the general manager, was hiking the Grand Canyon with their son. She had her hands full at the time, but loved taking the time to talk with us. Finally she continued on with her work while Freebird went back to Yolanda to reserve the room. I sat patiently with the packs meanwhile, while Karma continued to race all over the building.

Upon Freebird's return we took showers and prepared lunch, then we left to day-hike in the park...

Thor's Hammer.

We made our way back to Sunrise Point to begin the Queens Garden Trail, which leads down to several of Bryce's most well-known sights.

Sinking Ship.

Another view of Thor's Hammer.

Queens Garden.

Apparently this hoodoo looks like this queen. Whatever.

Two Bridges.

Walking up the switchbacks of Navajo Loop Trail to Sunset Point.

A man shooting a "selfie" video.

After reaching the top, we followed the Navajo Loop Trail back down to Wall Street...

Approaching Bryce Point, packed with tourists who are watching the sunset.

It was nearly dark when we arrived at Bryce Point. From here we night-hiked back to the lodge to listen to a ranger's presentation on mountain lions.

The next day, as we walked back from the lodge's last breakfast, Karma called out for us. She wanted to talk with us some more and make sure that we had a nice stay. But this time, she had to quickly return to work and monitor the other housekeepers. We looked on as she worked alongside and laughed with them, admiring her compassion. We retrieved our belongings from the room and returned to the main desk to check out. From there we retraced our steps from the previous night along the Rim Trail, from Sunset Point back to Bryce Point.

Inspiration Point.

Bryce Point.

We then walked down the Under the Rim Trail, back into some of Bryce's backcountry.

Jason and Christy.

Jason and Christy came running up the trail while we were walking atop these hoodoos. They too had the same idea as us. This couple from Colorado was in the midst of a run from one end of Bryce to the other. They have also done trail-running from rim-to-rim-to-rim through the Grand Canyon and from the West Rim to the East Rim in Zion.

Passing through the Hat Shop...

Temperatures never reached below freezing that night as we camped on a ridge, but we knew that it would be time to leave Bryce's higher elevations soon. No longer were we interested in hiking the entire Under the Rim Trail. We considered many options for what to do the next day. A couple thoughts we had were to hitch out the next morning or to hike a short trail leading out of the park into the town of Tropic. In the morning we chose the latter of these two options.

The glow of sunrise as seen from our campsite.

After watching the sunrise and moonset during breakfast, we turned back for Bryce Point.

We walked back down the Peek-a-Boo Trail. We had only hiked half of it the other day, so we would complete the loop this time. This is a choice that we will never regret!

Peek-a-Boo Trail was the perfect way to end our 4-day hike of Bryce Canyon. Every single place we visited in the park was incredible. And to top it off, we shared lots of wonderful experiences with so many kind people, from park staff to tourists.

But it was time to move on. The park was slowing down for the winter, and the temperatures were dropping. We were satisfied by how the entire visit had unfolded and felt no need to stay any longer. Now the warmer climate of Tropic was sounding rather appealing, so we followed the trail all the way to this next stop on our journey back to Moab.

1 comment:

  1. So amazing. You even took a photo of one of the tunnels I photographed long ago---although the tree at the end of it was looking healthier then.