Doing our small part to help the environment on the 4th we rode the bus system into the park. We took it to Bryce Point which overlooks the same hoodoos as Sunrise and Sunset Points, just at a different angle. We walked almost 2 miles to Sunset Point along the rim trail
. At Sunset starts the most famous trail in the park – the Navajo and Queens Loop Trail. However, being a holiday and the fact that many people had the same idea as we did; the trail seemed like the Atlanta Airport on Thanksgiving week. Wall to wall people on the trail. But it could not take away from the beauty of it. The trail starts descending into the canyon via steep switchbacks carved into the soft rock for about 500 feet until you’re in the middle of a forest of tall hoodoos. What a cool experience – felt like you are on a different planet. There were even trees going up beside the hoodoos and challenging them for height. The trail was about 2.5 miles for the loop. Going down was not so hard but we knew at the end of the trail we had to climb back up to the rim. But between those rises was a wonderful trail with Dr. Seuss like hoodoos on one side and ponderosa pine forest on the other. A feature of the trail was the “Twin Bridges” which were hard rocks that connected two hoodoos. The other feature was the top of a hoodoo that looked like a sitting Queen Victoria. It was fun to make your own characters out of the other features. You really did feel that you were in the middle of a Seuss land theme park and that Thing One and Thing Two would jump from behind a hoodoo at any second. But soon all good things must come to an end – it was payback time. For a good half mile the trail went uphill at a steep angle.
At the end of the trail at Sunrise Point I was missing a lung
. I’ve done trails that are steeper and longer but I think that the fact the elevation here is 8,000 ft. above sea level. So the oxygen level is not too much. From here we slowly walked another quarter mile to the Bryce canyon Lodge to have some lunch. This would be the reward lunch for making it out of Bryce Canyon. Pooh had some salmon while I had the Taco Bar. Just like on the North Rim, this salad bar was really good with their balsamic vinegar dressing. The tacos were just OK but on my third trip up I made a nacho plate and that turned out great. From here we took the bus back to our RV and chilled for the afternoon. Pooh did her nap while I did the computer work. Later in the afternoon we did some laundry which at $2.50 a load was pretty pricey. But when you’re in the middle of the sticks you have to pay a premium. During the evening I took Quique for a walk to the hotel parking lot to watch the fireworks which was quite impressive for this small town. Quique did not like them at all as she hid behind me the whole time. By this time it was 10:30 and time to do some blogging before bed.
Ken Burns said that the National Parks was "America's Best Idea." After visiting many of these parks during this trip, I have to agree with him. I shudder to think what would have happened to some of these places if there were not protected. I can see roller coasters running up and down the Grand Canyon or some religious group limiting Zion to their own kind like a Mecca. But no, we have some of the best preserved places on earth. And I’ve seen many wonderful natural places in the world – but the US does the best at protecting theirs. So being patriotic, spending a 4th of July at a National Park seems like a good idea. And today, we’ll spend it at Bryce Canyon.