RoseHiker Part 5: Bryce Canyon

Day 5:

After our unbeatable canyon adventure on Day 4, we forced upon Bryce Canyon the impossible task of impressing us with only 10-12 hours, on a gloomy-weather day.  It was expected to rain and possibly snow in Bryce.  We figured we would hike through it anyway.

Bryce Canyon is about a 1-hour 45-minute drive from Zion.  We left at 8:00 a.m., drove through the odd entrance "town" to the park, checked out the visitors center, and then picked the 9-mile "Fairyland trail" loop.

We jumped out of the car and ran (literally) to the first vista point we could find.  This is the highest form of anticipation -- I love these moments.  My heart skips a beat still when I think about my first view of the Grand Canyon.  I remember those neverending minutes when you are in the Park, getting closer and closer to the Canyon, but nothing is visible....and then suddenly you are at the edge of the canyon walls and BAM.  Knocks you out. 

Grand Canyon, 1.5 years ago, Mather Point at dusk

Grand Canyon left me speechless, emotional, and mesmerized.  Bryce Canyon made me giggle.  I loved the view.  It was exciting and crazy, and so I giggled.

Accidentally dressed for Christmas

The long skinny rock features are called "hoo-doos".  Some ancient peeps thought they were beings who were frozen (by voodoo?) into stone for being naughty.  The portion of the park with hundreds of these in rows is called "the amphitheater."  The Fairyland trail hiked down and into and around these hoo-doos.

Team Red, hiking

If hoo-doos are frozen bad people/animals, then they were really enormous people/animals.  

Although the hike was very fun, we didn't really get to slow down and enjoy it because we kept getting hit with bursts of rain.  When it began to pour, we sucked it up and started speed-walking.  Then, when there was a break, we would stop and enjoy the view and eat a snack.  The last hour was pouring, so by the time we got back to the main lodging building, it was a beautiful sight to see a large fireplace.  We sat next to it drying and warming up.  When I asked a lodge staff member if there was anywhere to buy hot chocolate, she brought us some for free, and it was a sugary warming cup of perfect.  We chatted with some folks (I don't always approve of this term, but they really were "folks") who convinced me that next up, I have to visit Glacier Park, even though it is extra important to me that I don't leave this world via death by bear.  Anyone been to Glacier Park and recommends it??

The rest of Bryce Canyon is a series of viewpoints, so we played the part of tourists and drove to them.  The cold cold weather was making it hard to get out of the car for very long.  And at one point, I think the elevation attacked me like a hard bong hit.  I seriously felt like I was on laughing gas. We had to stay in the car for a while at that point and get the hysteria out.

Below, a series of what was seen from the various viewpoints.

"Natural Bridge"

Caves naturally built into the wall

Don't you just want to get down in there and hike some mazes!?

More hoo-doo amphitheatre.

In summary, and in conclusion, and in a nutshell, and to wrap it up, and in cliffsnotes, Bryce Canyon was beautiful but is really Zion's less cool sibling.  There simply isn't quite as expansive a list of dayhikes, but maybe it is fabulous to do some backcountry hiking in Bryce.  Also, while the hoo-doos are stunning, you can only stare at them for so long before the excitement wears thin.


My three sisters, our significant others, and my dad, spent the last 3 months secretly emailing back and forth to plan a BIG 60th birthday/mother's day surprise for my mom.  So this weekend was extravagant.  We're talking fancy Napa Valley spas, limo rides to the Top of the Mark in San Francisco, champagne, hot tubs, and cigars (those last three, combined, sound like a bad rap video).  I got a good run in on Saturday in Napa, and a bad run in on Sunday in Oakland (think: lots and lots of walk breaks.  Was it the champagne?).  It may be worth sharing a couple pictures once they flood in.  Mostly pictures of my family, sitting in a limo looking like we are going to old-people Prom.

Anyway.  My mom was treated really well, as she deserves, and really loved all the surprises.  She had no idea that all the sisters were coming into town.  Every birthday/mothers day from here on out will be a huge let down for her when she realizes no limos will be driving up to her door.

Happy M-Day to all the moms out there, and I hope all you daughters/sons treated your mom to some lovin' this weekend!