SW US Trip with Marion C. and Sue Hope

Bryce Canyon National Park, Stop 13

Thursday and Friday, May 28-29

Bidding Zion goodbye, we turned toward Bryce Canyon National Park. It was only a couple of hours cross country. We ran into some really nice scenery along the way. Here are a couple of panoramas from overlooks made by stitching several individual photos together.

This one was a preview of what we would find at Bryce Canyon.

We arrived at the motel where we were planning to stay, Foster's, about 2:30 PM. Foster's Steak House, hotel, bakery, market and wind generator sales is an interesting family business. Most places are hotels with a restaurant attached. Foster's appears to be, first, a restaurant but with an associated hotel. The restaurant is excellent and the hotel is basic but clean and comfortable. After checking in, we decided we'd drive into the park and up the park main drive, checking overlooks. We first stoped at the Visitors' Center just inside the park entrance, then drove on up the park road - but not the entire 18 miles. We wandered around, going to places Dot and I had seen and enjoyed earlier and generally familiarizing ourselves with the "lay of the land" prior to a serious visit tomorrow. I did take time to get the photos below. The first one is stitched from five or six individual shots.

   

We returned to Foster's and had a leisurely dinner in the Steak House and retired for the evening - a tired bunch - grin. Next morning, we had breakfast at Foster's and drove up to Sunset Point and started our hike down into the Canyon. We planned on hiking the Queen's Garden trail - named thusly because of a hoodoo that bears a striking resemblance to Queen Victoria.

Sue and Marion Cone about to descend into Bryce Canyon. The temperature at this point was about 80 and the sun was shining brightly and the sky was pretty clear - hold this thought for later.

The trail into the canyon goes directly down through a series of switch backs.

   

We finally get to the bottom.

And mosey along the canyon floor, being awe struck by the shapes and colors around us - including an occasional flower.

   

Occasionally a tight squeeze.

   

A photo of the four of us on the trail - except I didn't quite make it to the group by the time the shutter tripped (grin).

   

We had started the long, relatively gradual ascent to the rim a while back. Here, the trail goes through a window. I hurried around the switch back to catch the others as they came through.

Climbing out.

   

If you noticed, the last several photos in which the sky is shown were definitely threatening. This can't be a good thing. We could see a thunder storm in the distance but coming across the canyon toward us. Sure enough, it started raining, the wind came up and the temperature dropped to about 50. We still had a full mile or more - up a pretty serious grade - to get out. We hurried as fast as possible but we got drenched. The cold was very uncomfortable and we were all were becoming hypoxic every few hundred feet - our sea level physiologies weren't up to the thin oxygen at Bryce Canyon's 8000-9000 feet. We finally made it back to the Jeep, cold, wet, bedraggled and miserable. BUT, the heater in the Jeep worked like a charm and we were soon warm, if not totally comfortable. We went back to the motel, showered, changed clothes, rested and then got together for an early dinner. Feeling human again, we decided we'd drive out the park drive to see some of the overlooks we didn't get to yesterday. It was now about 45 so we donned jackets and set out. The scenery looking into the canyon from the overlooks was spectacular. Even though it was spitting a light rain off and on, the wind was blowing and the temperatures were COLD, we still got out to look at the canyon from almost every pullout we encountered. Here are several examples of what we saw.

   

   

We ooohed and aaahed our way up the entire 18 miles of park drive to the Rainbow Point overlook at the very end. Rainbow Point provides a view of the "staircase" of which Bryce Canyon is the top and Grand Canyon is the bottom. However, what interested us most was the information plaque at the overlook.

   

So, having seen most, not everything, but most of the more interesting overlooks on the Bryce Canyon park road, we returned to our motel. We had coffee and dessert at Foster's Steak House and turned in. Tomorrow we head for Moab, Arches N.P. and Canyonlands N.P.

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