August 24, 2015 Bryce Canyon, Utah

IMG_20150827_135957We left Torrey and Capitol Reef National Park and headed to Panguitch, Utah which is about 30 minutes from Bryce National Park.  Panguitch is a small town, population 1,500. Butch Cassidy and his gang was photographed here.


Fire water wagon from years past

As expected we were directed to a site with absolutely no shade but we had excellent satellite reception and good WiFi and Verizon coverage.  Since this area is cooler than Moab we were not too concerned about the heat.IMG_20150827_140034IMG_20150827_143042

IMG_1138Just when I think it couldn’t get any more beautiful, we go to a new park and we are awe struck by its beauty.  The same was true for Bryce Canyon which really isn’t a canyon but a plateau with a series of horseshoe shaped amphitheaters carved in the edges of the eroding plateau.  Bryce Canyon was settled by Mormon pioneers in the 1850’s and is named for Ebenezer Bryce, a Mormon settler who homesteaded the area in 1874.  It became a national park in 1928.

To get to Bryce Canyon we drove once more on Highway 12, The All American Road, passing through Red Canyon with its beautiful red sandstone and limestone formations and through two tunnels.  IMG_1136IMG_1132IMG_1137Once inside the park we stopped by the Visitors Center to see a movie about Bryce Canyon.  We then drove an 18 mile one way scenic drive through the park with 14 viewpoints with views down into the amphitheater.   Some of the stops had overlooks alongside the road while others involved short hikes along paved trails.  The views at all the overlooks were amazing.  We saw many “hoodoos” which are towering rock formations sculptured over time by ice freezing and thawing, some as much as ten stories tall.  There are approximately 200 days of freezing/thawing at Bryce Canyon each year.  It was fun to let our imaginations run loose and imagine faces or figures in the formations.  The Paiutes, original inhabitants of the area, believed that the rock figures were people turned to stone by angry gods.  If you look closely you can also see fairy tale castle formations.  Iron oxide gives red, yellow and brown tints to the limestone.IMG_1139IMG_1140IMG_1142IMG_1143IMG_1151IMG_1156IMG_1158IMG_1162IMG_1168IMG_1167IMG_1174IMG_1176IMG_1177IMG_1179IMG_1185IMG_1186IMG_1192IMG_1193IMG_1194IMG_1195IMG_1196IMG_1198IMG_1164

Here is a video for you:

Our goal is to return to the park and hike the popular Navajo Trail which will take us down into the amphitheater for a closeup view of the hoodoos.  More about that in the next blog.IMG_1200IMG_1201

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