My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Friday, November 9, 2012

We Do the Hoodoos

The only clue that we were getting close to Bryce Canyon National Park was a pair of natural bridges across the road. The rest of the landscape was dark and we were following directions from my GPS to find our camp site. We soon were winding up to our campground where most people were asleep. (We seemed to mostly drive at night to get anywhere, because, during the day, we had to stop more than we drove.) We quietly set up out camp and went to bed.

One of the windows you drive through

Sunrise by our campgrouond

The next morning I was going to start breakfast when the sky started lighting up.  I grabbed my camera and raced toward a hill to see what  the light was illuminating. The sky was beautiful and there was a line of hoodoos being gradually lit up by the sun. After a few pictures, we ate breakfast and set off to the visitor center. We spent about a half hour there, viewing exhibits, browsing in the store, and getting information about the most outstanding places to visit as well as about programs. 

Some of the hoodoos in the amphitheater

We began our tour at Paria Point which only merited a quick look before continuing to Bryce Point overlooking the Amphitheater. I immediately started taking pictures and then started down the trail leading into the amphitheater. At every switchback, I had to stop and take pictures - of the new angle on the hoodoos, the single or small groups of hoodoos, strangely twisted trees, birds, and even a chipmunk.  But Lucy never caught up with me, so I decided I'd better turn around and find her. She had hiked along the Rim Tail before coming back to find me.

"The animal legend people who lived in Bryce Canyon long ago, displeased the coyote. Angered, he turned all the people to rock."

Beauty in death

Glowing hoodoos


Then we continued on to Sunset Point for a geology talk by a ranger.  This was very interesting and we began to get a little idea of how this area came to be. This is not a canyon, merely a raised plateau that once was a sea bed.  This sea went down through the Americas where the Rockies are today, so all of the places we visited were once part of that sea. Now wind and water, especially in the form of ice, are eroding this land into the hoodoos and finally eroding them entirely away.  We could see flat areas which were hoodoo graveyards because  entire hoodoos has fallen down.And new hoodoos are born from the surrounding cliffs.

Next on our list was lunch and a hike down to Fairy Point. That point was very different from from the others but no less magical. Lucy took one of the side trails leading to a high plateau, while I went down the main trial. Later I found a trail up to almost the same place Lucy had been. At one point she was looking down on me and we took each other's pictures.

Fairyland Vew

Nature's bonsai
Glowing hoodoos

A few white hoodoos

Wonderful colors

View to far cliffs

Lucy on the trail

Orange and pink

We rested up by sitting in the visitor center theater and watching a movie about Bryce Canyon National Park. We were pretty dirty by this time, having only sponge baths for a three days and were ready for a shower. We drove to the general store where we  had to pay $2.00 each for a shower,  but it felt really good to have clean bodies and clothes.

We were ready for a long hike -  three miles down the Navaho trail, through the Queen's garden, and back to the rim trail to hike back to the car. I had wanted to do that in the late afternoon so we would have the beautiful evening light.  That will be the subject of another blog.

We got back to Sunset Point just after dark.  Lucy  wanted to see the historic lodge and I wanted to work on editing pictures - by this time I had a least 500 from three days of taking pictures.  Eating dinner there sounded like fun, so we ordered a wonderful shrimp and prosciutto risotto and shared an apple dumpling, made from an old settler recipe.  Then we hung out and I edited pictures while Lucy explored and made friends with the maĆ®tre d'.  She was picking his brain about working at Bryce next summer. 

By this time it was almost 10:00 P.M. so we drove the short trip back to our tents and were immediately asleep. Walking about seven miles definitely makes for a restful night. 

More pictures of this part of our trip are in my Picasa Albums