Monday, November 1, 2010

Bryce Canyon National Park - Beyond Spectacular

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah -- When you leave a place as beautiful as Zion National Park where you wander the bottoms of beautiful canyons in awe, it is hard to expect much of the next stop on our tour of Utah's parks.
Then you pull off the main road onto one of the overlooks at Bryce Canyon, and this is what you see:
and this:
and this:

It is really hard to compare one kind of spectacular beauty to another. But if forced to, Zion is like a cool quiet walk where you can look up and see the world, and Bryce is like standing on the rim of the world and admiring all of creation.
It is a different kind of place, and must be seen to be appreciated.

We found the campgrounds full because we arrived late, and stayed at a motel just outside the park. But it was literally just outside, and it was no problem to drive in and out as often as we wished.
We went by the visitor center to orient ourselves, had a friendly chat with a ranger or two, and then struck out to examine the hoodoos and towers and arches and glowing red colors so typical of this place.
That night we came back for a star show that took us on a trip to Virgo, and brought us back to earth to stand in line for several telescopes offered by the park staff and volunteers.
Staring into the universe with a hundred or so shivering people on a starry night in high desert country was extremely rewarding.
Most of our daylight time at Bryce was spent standing and staring. We did less hikes than earlier, but never felt we were missing anything when we watched people hiking back up the canyon walls. The entire park access is from the very top, like the Grand Canyon. so if you hike down there is only one way back. Up hill.

We'll leave that for another visit.

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