Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon is about a 5-hour drive from Vegas.  Before leaving Vegas, we hit Costco to stock up on water, bread, and cold cuts for the hikes.  The drive along the way was initially uninspiring, but as we got closer to the town of St. George (home of the St. George Marathon), the scenery started to garner more enthusiasm.

We got to Bryce Canyon Resort (a misnomer given that it was really motel caliber) at around 5PM.  We quickly dumped our belongings and headed to do the 18-mile scenic drive through Bryce Canyon National park.

Given that all the vistas are located to the left as we were driving in, it was recommended that we drive all the way to the end of the park at Rainbow Point, and then stop off at the individual vistas on our way back.  Each stop off had it’s own unique view of the canyon.

I felt a little short of breath because of the elevation.

A little short of breath because of the elevation.

We thought Rainbow Point was pretty, oh, were we in for a treat.

We thought Rainbow Point was pretty, oh, were we in for a treat.

One of my favorites is the Natural Bridge.

One of my favorites is the Natural Bridge.

Natural Bridge is apparently a misnomer.

Natural Bridge is apparently a misnomer.  It’s the freezing and thawing of the water inside the rocks that cause erosions, and subsequently the spectacular formations of the hoodoos that’s unique to Bryce Canyon.

Along the drive were pronghorns.  They can run up to 60mph.  The only animal faster than them are cheetahs (this is why I love National Parks - all these esoteric tidbits of information).

Along the drive were pronghorns. They can run up to 60mph. The only animal faster is the cheetah.  This is why I love National Parks – all these esoteric tidbits of information.

Bryce Point.  Jackpot!  This is when we all went crazy with the cameras.

Bryce Point. Jackpot! This is when we all went crazy with the cameras.  Queens Garden is at the uppermost portion of the photo.  The middle part is the Wall of Windows.  If you look closely, you can see hiking paths down below.  Those were the trails we hiked the next morning.

Bryce Canyon is much loved by photographers (professional and amateurs alike).  Which means sunrise and sunset are when you see all the photographers staked out with their equipment.  Since it was overcast (scattered thunderstorms were forecasted to ruin our hikes), and sunset seemed to be at the wrong position, I decided that we’d wait for sunrise the next morning.

Sunrise – 6:12AM

Woke up at 5:30AM in order to give all 4 of us time to get ready with only 1 bathroom available.  S didn’t sleep a wink, but he still hit the trails with us.  We got to Sunset Point (instead of Sunrise Point because one of the reviews had suggested that it was a better vantage point, but in hind sight I think Sunrise Point would have been a better location) at 6:10AM, and people had already set up their tripods.

Sunset Point at sunrise.

Sunset Point at sunrise.

Unfortunately, one side of the canyon didn't get any sun.

Unfortunately, the sun rose behind this wall of the canyon.

After being satisfied with the photos we took, we set off on the Navajo trail a half hour later.  The plan was to do the Figure 8, which is to go down the Navajo trail through Wall Street, and pick up the Peek-a-boo loop and return via the Queens Garden trail.  A total distance of 6.5 miles.

Entrance into Wall Street.

Switchbacks leading into Wall Street.

The pines in Wall Street, and 3 little people.

The pines in Wall Street, and 3 little people.

The view from Peek-a-boo trail.

The view from Peek-a-boo trail.

The Wall of Windows.

The Wall of Windows.

This bold chipmunk climbed up my leg as I was taking a picture of it.

This bold chipmunk climbed up my leg as I was taking a picture of it.

The switchback leading out of Queens Garden.

The switchback leading out of Queens Garden.

The view at Sunrise Point.

The view at Sunrise Point.

All in all, it took us about 5-6 hours to hike the entire length.  Had it not been for stopping every few feet for photo ops, we would have been able to finish it much faster.  But the whole point of this hike was to marvel at the beauty of this place.  As luck would have it, the thunderstorm that threatened our hike never materialized.

A Utah prairie dog.  This little thing caused cars to pull over to the side to take it's photo.  We humans are funny.

A Utah prairie dog. This little thing caused cars to pull over to the side to take its photo.

After dinner at Bryce Canyon Pines with their wonderful cream pies and overcooked steaks (according to J & B), we decided to head to Inspiration point as we wanted to maximize our stay at Bryce Canyon since we were leaving the next morning.

The view at Inspiration Point.

The view at Inspiration Point.

Marveling at the view.

Contemplating…

To be continued…

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