25 November 2015

Bryce Canyon

When we were down in St George for my marathon in October, Mr B and i stopped by Cedar Breaks on our way back north. It gave me a desire to visit Bryce Canyon, but i didn't think that it was going to happen this year.

And then, a couple of weeks ago, one Tuesday night we were discussing our weekend plans. For some reason, i suggested driving to southern Utah to Bryce Canyon that weekend. Not really expecting Mr B to take me seriously, i was shocked when he said, "Well....I'd just have to be back for my meetings on Sunday morning..."

So we went!

 We drove down to Provo on Friday after work. Saturday morning, we woke up early and finished the trip, arriving mid-morning to the canyon. Mr B had never been there. i was sooo excited for him to see it, that i was bouncing for most of our drive.

looking out over Inspiration Point
We spent the first couple of hours at the different lookout points, getting a view of the amphitheater from above and enjoying a picnic lunch. 

Dusting of snow

Although i had visited, i had never hiked down among the hoodoos. After some research, i had selected a 7 mile hike for us that looped in a figure 8 and combined three of the "best trails" in that part of the park. We were pretty stoked as we dropped down into the slot-like canyons. It didn't take us long to realize that you can't grasp the magnitude of the place until you get down inside and hike around the amphitheater.

There were some other hikers (especially at the very start of the hike) but it was pretty empty for the most part. It was chilly during the day, with the high temperature peaking in the mid40s. But with the beautiful sunshine (and our fairly strenuous hike) we were just fine.

The most surprising thing to me was how interesting and different every mile of the hike was. Sometimes we were right next to the hoodoos and the trees:

Sometimes we were in narrow slot canyons between fins:

Sometimes we were going through tunnels:

And, sometimes those tunnels led us to look out over fabulous vistas:

Besides that, the hike was very up and down and windy, which kept it engaging and exciting.

Looking down on the switchbacks we just climbed
We took sooo many pictures because we were both blown away by the unique beauty of the place. In the end, we finally realized a camera was never going to capture it.

After our hike, we went out to "Bryce Overlook" which was the best one of the park. We bundled up, got ourselves our picnic dinner and watched the sunset.

Then we bundled up even more (man did it get cold!) and hunkered down to watch the stars come out. The milky way appeared in the sky above us. We both saw several brightly shooting stars and saw the moon set. It was cold, clear and stunningly beautiful. When we were sufficiently frozen, we trooped back to the car and drove back to Provo for the night.

Based on the storm the swept into the west this week, that will be our last non-snow related adventure of the year. i'm so grateful we had a chance to do one last spontaneous hike together in a magnificent place.

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