Bryce Canyon National Park

Trip Start Nov 01, 2009
Trip End Nov 30, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Utah
Thursday, June 10, 2010

ROAD TRIP DAY 5 - Although we could have stayed in Zion National Park for a few more days as there were loads of walks to do, we were keen to see the other national parks of Utah so we packed up the tent early and left for Bryce. We drove along Hwy 9 followed by Hwy 12 for the relatively short drive of 50 miles. On the way I found BBC Radio 1 on an XM1 station and so we caught up on some UK news, World Cup hype and songs.

When we arrived at Bryce, we first set up camp in the North Campground ($15/night), in a section that was for tents only, so for once our tent did not feels so inadequate - at all the other sites we had camped at, huge RVs with everything you could possibly want inside of them had parked next to us. As we had arrived early, we first had tea and shared a banana muffin and cinnamon bun for breakfast at our site, over which we planned our activities for the day.

We decided to go on a hike, which apparently included ‘the best 3 mile hike in the world’, plus a little extra to make it 6 miles in total. We hadn’t stopped at a supermarket along the way, which meant we had to buy way overpriced food at the little grocery shop in the park for our packed lunch.

The hike itself was amazing. It went through the heart of the canyon, weaving in and out of all the ‘hoodoos’ and buttes, which are tall towers of orange sandstone that have been weathered to look like melting wax sculptures, some of which take on the appearance of strange looking people.

The basic route of our hike was through the ‘Queen’s Gardens’ and past ‘Victoria’ (one particular hoodoo with an uncanny resemblance) followed by the ‘Peek-a-boo Loop’ and then one side of the ‘Navajo Loop’ finishing by going past the ‘Two Bridges’. At one point I noticed a particular interesting looking hoodoo peeking out from round a corner and I ran down to it shouting ‘Wit-woo, what a hoodoo!’, to find a couple walking toward it from the opposite direction. I was a little embarrassed to say the least! From listening to Radio 1, I annoyingly had Eminem’s ‘Don’t be Afraid’ in my head for most of the hike.

We took lots of photos of the hoodoos, which looked particularly great as it was a beautiful day with a bright blue sky. On the trail we passed a point where people had made loads of cairns, with rocks precariously piled on top of each other on the ground and also in the trees, which looked like miniature hoodoos. Doog and I added to the collection and made our own cairn.

Our hike came out of the canyon at Sunrise Point and we walked along the rim to Sunset Point where the trail ended. We then walked back to our campsite, stopping off at the grocery store on the way. We treated ourselves to hot broccoli and cheese soup (for me) and chili con carne (for Doog) - well deserved after our hike! We also bought some marshmallows as Doog, now confident in in his foraging abilities, thought he could get a fire going again. He had to do this quite discretely as this time there were signs specifying that wood had to be bought from the shop and not collected.

As we waited for it to get dark (before starting the fire) we made tea and read a US newspaper at our picnic table about the fast approaching World Cup. It was very hard to keep a straight face whilst reading the article, which really brought to light the lack of football knowledge Americans have. Saying that, in the article soccer was referred to as “footie” , which goes to show that some research had been made.

After tea, we drove to Bryce Point to watch the sunset. It had started to get a little chilly after what had been a scorching hot day, and so we both got a little cold whilst watching a pretty unremarkable sunset. As the main amphitheatre, which has the majority of hoodoos, faces east, we thought we would come back in the morning to watch the sunrise, which should be a little more impressive.

Back at camp, Doog once again created a pyramid structure from all the wood and kindling he had found with 2 big logs at the top. The structure was something he was very proud of. Once again, Doog successful got a decent fire going and we sat around it toasting marshmallows and drinking hot milk. By this point it had got quite cold and although I was wrapped up in a scarf, jumper and jeans I was still chilly, which didn’t bode well for our night in the tent, with just a sleeping bag liner and a fleecy blanket to keep us warm.

That night I went to bed with loads of layers on but still woke up shivering in the night. Doog seemed to be suffering more than me and woke me up every 30 minutes or so when he tried to get even closer to me to get some of my body heat. At 4.50am, we both decided to get up and go and see the sunrise, neither of us wanting to stay in the tent any longer, the cold being unbearable. I got dressed in record time and sat waiting for Doog in the car wrapped up in our only blanket with the heating cranked up. We drove to Bryce Point and sat in the car as we started regaining feeling in our fingers and toes, until we thought the sun had risen enough for it to be worth while venturing out the car.

I left the car still wrapped up in the bright blue blanket and we walked to where there were a handful of people waiting for the sun. It was still freezing and I could see everyone looking at my blanket with envy - either that or at how silly I looked, but I didn’t care! It was so cloudy that the sun was struggling to get through to light up the hoodoos and after sticking it out for probably longer than needed we decided to call it quits and go back to the warmth of the car. By 7.30am we had packed up the tent and were ready to leave Bryce.
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