July 9, 2011
We are visiting one of the most famous natural amphitheaters today…Bryce Canyon National Park. We dropped Shyla two days ago, in case you were wondering where our fabulous pouch was lately, off at a wonderful boarding location near Panguitch, Ut called Pawzdogz. We were a little hesitant as we drove to take her. This visit will last three days but we really wanted to be able to visit the national parks…..and well …. there are no dogs allowed in them. But our hesitation quickly disappeared as she happily began sniffing around and we really felt comfortable after a few minutes as we realized that the owner really cared about the well being of her visitors. Besides with all the critters running around the place she has plenty of other animals to keep her mind stimulated.
The Bryce Canyon Park is almost 36,000 acres but interestingly is not as crowded and popular as we would have thought. It has a fantastic bus system that runs the length of the park so you can park your car, hike as far as you like or are able, and then catch the bus back again. Much of the trail system is deep down into the canyon itself but it has a decent hike all along the rim that is plenty for a one day visit especially if you take the hike up to the various view points that are up rather steep climbs.
We arrive fairly early in the morning. Well before lunch at least let’s say. The weather is perfect, a cool breeze accompanied by sunny skies. The temperature is currently 78 F. First order of business, the various overlooks along the 18 mile scenic of the rim. The assortment of stops affords fabulous views of the Hoodoos, some which are up to 200 ft high, and the various natural bridges. We caught the tail end of a bus tour at one stop and learned some very interesting geological information in regards to how hoodoos are formed. For instance, this region is continuously changing due to frost wedging that is created each winter from the expansion of frozen water within the crevices. Many times “windows” first form as bits and pieces chip away from erosion. Then as the window expands wedging eventually helps separate columns to form the Hoodoos.
About half through the drive at one of the pull-outs the crowd was entertained by a Canadian couple that had brought their pet cat along on the trip. We learned that they were taking a 3 month across the US trip and decided “pussy” would be missed to much left at home. The crowd was intrigued that they had trained their cat to not only wear a leash but walk with it much like dogs do. Now that is something I don’t think our puss will be like to allow any time soon. To add to our delight a local raven decided that too much attention was being paid to this feline and swooped in with protest. Now not only was there the shiniest, blackest, cat we had ever seen taking in the magnificent views but barely three feet away sat an equally black raven defending its turf. Hmmm wonder if there is any superstition having both in the same local at the same time.
After a bite to eat and a stroll along the rim between Sunset Point and Sunrise Point we decide to venture down into the canyon below. Navajo Loop Trail is by far a definitely must do! Don’t be intimidated by it when first glancing down the steep path. The hike down and up is definitely considered a moderate hike but well worth every sore muscle. Traveling down the switchbacks puts everything in a different perspective. We did not do the entire hike as part of the trail was closed off due to rock slides. Too bad because the mile or so we did go was absolutely amazing!
I have included a slideshow we created with the many pictures we took today. Pictures are viewed best at the setting of 720p HD, which you can change by clicking the “cog” wheel. This is when the pictures in full screen are at the best resolution but you may have to pause it and let it load completely first. The preset setting of 360p loads quickly but the resolution is not very good and does do the pictures justice.