Drip Castles come to life.....

Trip Start Apr 20, 2012
Trip End Sep 01, 2012

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Flag of United States  , Utah
Monday, June 4, 2012

It was a bit of a sleep-in and a relaxing start to the day. We didn't emerge from the tent until 7:30 and didn't finish breakfast until after 8. Then the kids had a quiet and extended play in the tent and we didn't head out to explore Bryce Canyon until 9:30. We weren't even 2 minutes up the road when Tim screeched to a halt and called out in an excited voice, "there's a pronghorn antelope". It was one of the animals on our wanted list and it was the first time Tim had ever seen one in the wild. After we stopped and took a picture, we proceeded further up the road and ended up seeing several more. The best sighting was the doe far away on the hillside who was leading her two fawns into the woods. The closest sighting was the one who decided to flirt with danger and sprinted alongside Odie before leaping across the road in front of us and Tim slammed on the brakes in order to avoid the collison and the potential fine! 
The way that we decided to see the park was to drive all the way to the end of the road and Rainbow Point and then make our way back to the campground and visitor center, stopping at the overlooks and walking the short walks along the way. When we got to Rainbow Point we went on the Bristlecone Pine 1 mile walk which took us along the southern edge of the park  and the highest point. What we have really enjoyed about this 'canyon' park is the number and volume of tall pine and fir trees. It was amazing to be driving along the road and not even really seeing the unique 'hoodoos' of the canyon because we were traversing alpine mountain meadows and forests. Hoodoos are the names given to the multiple rock spires that dot the canyon and hillsides of the park. There are arches and natural bridges, hoodoos and sheer cliffs. It truly is one of the most amazing sights and spectacles on earth. The sheer red columns that dot the landscape are all shapes and sizes and there is no accurate way to describe it. Perhaps the best analogy is that hoodoos are eerily similar to the drip castles that Eli and Lily make every summer with Tutu in Pohara. These are the sand castles that you make by letting really wet sand drip through your fingers and stack on top of itself until they get top heavy and tip over. But, hoodoo don't tip over, hoodoo do what they do by being red and tall!!!
 The best part of the day, in many ways was simply leaning on the railings of the overlooks and staring in wonder and delight at the sights. One of the points/overlooks that we went to today was called 'inspiration point' and it truly was; staring over the amphitheater was the kind of scene where you could stare in wonder and all of a sudden, look up and realize that an hour had passed. Also, it caused us to speculate; is this really real???!?!?!
After Rainbow Point, we headed back through the park, dodging multiple tourist cars and buses as we stopped and ogled the various spires. Some of the highlights were; 'the natural bridge', the Bryce Point overlook, Inspiration Point and the 1.5 mile walk that Tim and Lily took along the rim from Bryce Point to Inspiration Point. Eli was still feeling a little bit under the weather and often chose to sit in the car with Jess when we went and admired and took photos. Nevertheless, the little trooper hung in there and after our walks and explores, we stopped in one of the picnic grounds for a lunch in the shade of the fir trees. Then we went to the Visitor Center in order to buy badges, postcards and stickers. Along the way, we did bump into our first 'kiwis', a couple from Orewa who had retired and sold their house and were traveling in the States for 3 months while their custom made caravan was being completed. Then the plan was to return to NZ and travel and when asked what came after that, they said; "We don't know, we've sold everything!"
The Kiwi couple recommended driving out of the park and visiting Historic Bryce Old Town where we could get generous scoops of ice cream. So out we went to get ice cream and lollies for dessert tonight. Then we were back to the campsite by 4pm for a relaxing afternoon of scootering with the kids, yes, Tim goes for the occasional scooter ride, playing card games and enjoying the cool shady campsite and the light breeze. A pleasant dinner, then a boy named Eli, whom the kids had met two days ago, showed up and they all played lego in the tent. It was into bed and up stakes tomorrow for a drive to the Grand Canyon and a cabin on the South Rim, courtesy of Grannie Gramma Heidmann (as Eli calls her)!!
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