We finally decided to learn from our experiences from the last few days with near-heat exhaustion, and left our Utah lodge a little bit later today. Ironically, it was a perfectly lovely cloudy day so we could have left in the morning and still could have escaped the scorching sun. Derp.
Nevertheless, our trip to Bryce Canyon was wonderful. Like Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon (which is not actually a canyon; more on that later) has a shuttle system that takes you to the trailhead of several hiking routes. We hopped on a shuttle and got off at Bryce Point, which offered beautiful views of the canyon, with its red rocks and hoodoos (rock columns), canyon “windows”, and more. Awesome!
We followed the rim trail to Inspiration Point, taking a bunch of pictures along the way. Highly recommend this route – it’s easy to walk and offers mesmerizing views of every angle of the amphitheater, from a vantage point of up to 9000 feet!
We finished the day with the Queen’s Trail, a 1.8 round-trip trail that goes all the way down to the amphitheater and is marked by a rock that supposedly looks like the Queen. What do you think?
Bryce Canyon impressed us so much that we went again the next day. We hiked the Navajo Trail, which looked formidable and steep at first, but really wasn’t too bad of a walk. I highly recommend this trail as well – it offers a unique look at landmarks such as “Wall Street” and many more.
At night, we attended a space talk. The one went to was about spaghettification and other space oddities, and once again, highly recommend. Our speaker, a ranger, was super funny and a wonderful, informative host, and he had a hilarious powerpoint presentation to boot! Though to be honest, 80% of the presentation was about Bryce Canyon and its geographical features, and there was even a part about some glow worms, but he found some way to tie it back to space. I think he mentioned only spaghttification once, despite the word being in the title of the talk. Nevertheless, the presentation had my laughing and I learned a lot of cool things about Bryce Canyon! Like for example, the hoodoos and unique rock formations were created (and are still being created) by a process called frost weathering, which involves the freezing and defreezing of water. During the day, the ice melts and the water seeps into the canyon rocks. During the night, the temperature drops and the water that has seeped into the canyon rocks freeze and expand. The rock is literally wedged apart by the ice, and little by little, rock columns are formed. Because of this, Bryce Canyon isn’t really a canyon (which are created from erosion caused by rivers), it’s actually an amphitheater created by frost weathering. The frost weathering continues to this day, which means that in 1000 years, Bryce Canyon may have a very different look!
After the space talk, we had the opportunity to view some stars through telescopes at the parking lot at the visitor’s center. Thanks to the volunteers for organizing this wonderful event! I had the opportunity to see some really cool stuff, including the planet Saturn, rings and all! I didn’t even know you could see the rings. I also saw the surface of the moon, a dead star, binary stars, and a star globulus… thingymabob… yeah I forgot the name of it. But seriously some cool stuff! The biggest telescopes they had were even bigger than I am, and we had to climb ladders to look through them. Definitely an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed!
I am convinced that Bryce Canyon belongs in the master list of must-see places around the world. The dizzying views from the rim of the amphitheater to the satisfying hikes through rock formations, to the friendly park rangers, this not-a-canyon has it all!