Bryce Canyon is another of Utah’s beautiful red-rock areas. It is known for its hodoos - pillars of rock formed by the forces of erosion. Several overlooks allow scenic views of the Bryce amphitheatre - the largest in the park. Even though we have been here before, and Steve already has several great pictures (with snow as it was February last time we were here), we had always said that we would come back in the summer and hike down into the canyon to get a different perspective and more pictures. So, that is just what we did.
Bryce point has the best panoramic view from the lookout, and we got there just after sunrise. A few clouds faded the light in and out, but we were able to get some great shots anyway. Rainbow point was also very pretty, as were ponderosa canyon and natural bridge. By this time the light was getting better as the sun got higher in the sky, but we still played hide and seek with the clouds. We waited at sunset point for just the right light, and finally the sun came out and rewarded us with a beautiful picture. We saw people hiking
down a trail that started there at sunset point, so we decided to hike down there. Part of the trail was closed, so we had to go down and up the same way instead of taking the loop. It was a steep switchback trail of dirt and gravel, and the sun was hot. The air is pretty thin up here - around 9,000 feet elevation - and we found ourselves out of breath often. The going down was easy, but the coming up was a killer. And the air is really dry, so we needed to drink lots of water. But we got some fantastic pictures, so it was worth it.
There was still snow on the ground in shaded places, and we had to pull out our winter coats and gloves. Ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, spruce and aspen grow in abundance at this high elevation, making a pretty contrast with the red rocks. We also found out that the park is a place “where the deer and the antelope play”. Besides deer and antelope (actually called pronghorn), we saw elk, buffalo, prairie dogs, chipmunks, wild turkeys, red-tailed hawk, and a raven who was begging food from tourists in
a parking lot. We stayed at a place called Ruby’s Inn which is a Best Western Inn right outside the park. It was a great place - had a restaurant, gift shop, pool and hot tub, and was clean with comfortable beds. We were tempted to stay another night after our hike and just relax the rest of the day, but in the end we decided to move on to our next stop - Salt Lake City.
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