Sunday, July 17, 2011

Carmagettaway - Bryce Canyon National Park

After the majestic views of Zion, I was completely unprepared for the splendor of Bryce Canyon National Park. Although they are only about 150 miles apart, Bryce could have been another planet.

Here you see what makes Bryce so unique: the hoodoos. Bryce was formed by a different geological process than Zion; here a freeze/thaw cycle (melting snow drips into the rock, freezes and expands, then cracks the structure) causes erosion and creates these wonderful, whimsical formations. The red color made me think I was on Mars! These people on the Navajo Trail give a good perspective on the scale, variety and hue of the hoodoos.

We should have learned this in Zion, but the trail mileage markers have to be "as the crow flies," and not based on the standard 5,280 feet per mile. I know MY feet felt like each trail was substantially more than the posted amount! Then again, maybe it was the gazillion stops for pictures that added to my over-estimation of miles covered. In any event, both the Navajo Trail/Queen's Garden Loop (billed as the "world's best 3 mile hike," although I'm still questioning that distance!) and the Inspiration Point Trail were stunning. Each turn of a trail delivered a new vista, with another photo. Beautiful!

Also, be sure to check out the Bryce Canyon Lodge, dating back to 1925. Worthy of its own post, we had an amazing lunch in the restaurant. My meal started with a sweet potato and andouille sausage soup, followed by a spinach salad with ribeye steak chunks, bleu cheese, tomato and bacon, with a bacon-balsamic vinaigrette. Yes, I have pictures, and one would be of my contented, smiling face.

Getting back to "reality," we learned that the 405 project was completed early and there was no meltdown in Los Angeles. Begrudgingly, I would have to start heading back shortly. Nevertheless, I was thrilled that I got out of dodge and recharged my waning batteries during all that drama. I'm already noting that they'll have to demolish the other half of the bridge at some point. I'm starting to think about Carmagettaway #2 now...

Click here to go to Bryce's Web site.

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