My hubby and I had a great time exploring the Queen's Garden and Navajo Loop Trails in Bryce Canyon National Park. But with the other park trails deemed impassible due to rockfall or quicksand-like mud, we were left trying to figure out what else to see.
|Hoodoos in a line!|
When in doubt, consult the guide! Our handy-dandy Bryce Canyon newspaper mentioned a scenic drive south of the main park area. A winding road took visitors 18 miles past seven overlooks, the highest over 9000 feet in elevation. After hiking for three hours, a driving tour was sounding good.
|Looks like a huge melted candle|
So into the car and off we went! The first stop wasn't too far away. We probably could've hiked to Bryce Point, but by then my hubby and I were ready to let our car do the traveling.
|The line between white and red|
Bryce Point was breathtaking! Another great panorama of red-striped hills and hoodoos. Also, a side canyon had interesting formations that appeared to be more eroded than we'd seen in Queen's Canyon.
The rock was more of a cream color, and contrasted sharply with the predominantly red hues seen everywhere else.
|These look like old castles|
Wind and water had sculpted this soft, light-colored rock into fantastic formations. They reminded me of ancient castle towers.
Looking down into the canyon, I saw paths worn into the red dirt. Due to the lack of hikers, I assumed it was one of the many trails closed by wet weather (insert frowny face).
|Looking down on hiking trails (that we couldn't visit!)|
After soaking in the views at Bryce Point, it was back to the car and off to the next attraction. We stopped briefly at Swamp Canyon, and then on to Whiteman Bench.
|Roger admires the view|
These overlooks were more of the same - red layered canyons, more cool hoodoo formations. (Ho-hum, more fantastic scenery.....)
|Hole in the wall|
Don't get me wrong - the views were fabulous. But it began to feel like I was taking photos of the same stuff over and over again.
The next pullout, Natural Bridge was different. It provided a great view of an eroded archway. Something different from the endless hoodoos! Not only was this fun to photograph, we were also visited by a friendly raven (I'm not good with birds, but I think that's what it was) who was more than willing to model for my camera.
The next stop, Agua Canyon, had a large rock balancing on top of a tall column.
|Balanced rock at Agua Canyon|
Again, I was happy to have something different to photograph!
|Another view of Agua Canyon|
It was funny, at every stop we encountered the same cars in the small parking lots, and the same people crowded each overlook. With limited hiking options, it appeared everyone had the same idea.
|Striped canyon wall|
The higher we climbed in elevation, the colder the temperatures became, and the stronger the wind. By the time we'd reached Rainbow Point, elevation 9,115 feet, conditions were hovering near freezing.
|The highest overlook|
By then, I was suffering from scenery overload. All the canyon viewpoints, hoodoos, striped rocks, and eroded cliffs were beginning to look the same.
|Rainbow Point overlook|
Still, Roger and I rolled out of our car, bundled up against the cold wind, and made another trek to check out this final viewpoint.
|Wonderful panorama at Rainbow Point|
The sky was overcast. Thickening clouds seemed to indicate another rainstorm wasn't far away. But I was glad we hadn't bypassed this final panorama.
Perched high on the canyon's edge, I felt on top of the world. And boy, did the views stretch for miles! As I looked towards the darkening clouds, I spied a faint rainbow hanging in the air. Although my attempts at photography failed, it was a wonderful ending to a scenery-packed afternoon.
|Cold, windy, and wonderful|
Despite closed trails, we'd made the most of our first day in Bryce Canyon National Park. Heading back down the steep canyon road, it was time to check into our camper cabin (at 8000 feet in elevation, there would be no tent camping tonight!) and get some supper.
But I'd noticed a viewpoint called "Sunset Point" along the main canyon rim. Of course I wasn't going to miss a chance at capturing a sunset here! I'll share what I found in my next post.
Sharing with: Through My Lens and Our World Tuesday