April 26th – Thursday – Today has been a rare rainy day in the Southwest and I was glad for it, as I had had about all the ‘high adventure’ that I could stand…..at least for a day or two. I have come to appreciate the need for a day off from time to time, so as not to ‘burn out’ on our sightseeing. Today was perfect for being lazy….sipping coffee….finishing a book….doing some laundry….writing my blogs….and planning our next week or so (We have left ourselves some flexibility, as we do not have to be anywhere until May 8th, when we arrive in Oakland, in time for Laura’s graduation on the 11th).
April 27th – Friday – After an easy morning, we drove over to Bryce Canyon for a day of hiking and overlooking. Bryce is at a higher elevation than the other parks that we have been in, starting at about 8100 feet and rising to over 9000 feet at the southern end. Higher elevation means cooler temperatures which contributes to the unique look of the canyon. All of that cool results in temperatures below freezing for at least part of the day, 200 days each year.
That freezing and thawing, along with erosion from water and wind create some of the most interesting sculptures anywhere in the world. This breath-taking view from Sunrise Point greeted us as we approached the trailhead to Queen’s Garden trail.
We wanted to get up close to these amazing shapes and this meant hiking down. Fortunately, Bryce is not nearly as deep as the Grand Canyon so we only descended about 800 feet on the Queen’s Garden and Navajo Loop trails to walk among the Hoodoos. (Hoodoos are the name of the stand alone columns and structures. As erosion slowly eats away the surrounding rock, these odd shapes evolve.)
At each turn of the trail, another wonderful view appears.
The colors are beautiful!
A lot of the Hoodoos have been named. The 2 on the left look like Queen Victoria and a Lady-in-waiting to me.
Looking up at these spires made us feel like we were in the middle of a sand castle.
The tall structure on the left is called Thor’s Hammer.
This one was called “The Hunter” though it looks more like an alien peeking over the rim to me.
We were pretty awestruck at each overlook, but this raven seemed to be taking it all in stride. Just another day of ordinary views for him!