Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Trip to Bryce Canyon

Last Friday, Lee and I took off on our eagerly anticipated Spring (well, almost Spring!) trip to Bryce Canyon in southern Utah. Although we have both lived in Utah for over 30 years, I’m embarrassed to say that we haven’t made it a point until recently, to venture out to the many beautiful scenic places that Utah has to offer.

Lee had been to Bryce Canyon long ago, before we met, but as for me, I’d never seen this natural wonder until a few days ago. And, of course, now that I’ve seen it, I regret that we waited so long!

Bryce Canyon shares its geologic origins and history with the Rocky Mountains in the western United States. Along with the Grand Canyon, Bryce is part of a vast geological landmark called the Grand Staircase, which spans portions of southern Utah and northern Arizona.

Lee has been planning our trip to Bryce Canyon National Park for months. Intrepid photographer that he is, Lee's main goal was to explore the photo opportunities of this striking landscape.

We knew that March is still the “off season” for tourist travel to Bryce, and that it would likely be chilly there, particularly since Bryce Canyon and the surrounding country is at an elevation of 8,000 feet or more. But, Lee wanted to go this time of year, hopeful that he could capture some photos of the magnificent red rock formations of Bryce Canyon and the nearby Pink Cliffs with a light covering of snow.

As it turns out, we did indeed experience some snow during our one day/two night stay at Ruby’s Inn near Bryce Canyon National Park. Unfortunately, by the time we drove out to the Park, and stopped at Sunset Point, where one has the best view of the Bryce Canyon "hoodoos", the brisk winds had already blown the skiff of dry snow off most of the hoodoo peaks.

Nevertheless, I think Lee did manage to get some beautiful landscape photos on this trip. So please do keep an eye out on Lee’s Blog and in his Etsy Shop for some new photographic images of this beautiful part of the country!

In, the meantime, I wanted to show you some of our trip “snapshots” right here on my Blog!

Here we are, “on the road again”! This photo was taken as we headed southbound on US Highway 89, near the small town of Junction, Utah.

This is a shot of Piute Reservoir, also near Junction, Utah.

Here we are, eastbound on Highway 12, as we’re entering the red rock country of southern Utah, and nearing Bryce Canyon National Park.

There were two of these natural red rock “tunnels” we passed under within a few miles of each other.

And the following photo shows the entry to Bryce National Park.

The road within the park runs about 18 miles from northernmost to southernmost tip. At the north of the park, is Bryce Canyon, which is viewed from Sunrise Point and Sunset Point.

As the main Park Road winds its way south along the top of the Pink Cliffs, there are a number of smaller canyons and view sites scattered along the way.

Our first photo stop was as Sunset Point. This is probably one of the most popular spots for photographers, in that it overlooks the main part of Bryce Canyon, an area called the Bryce Amphitheatre.

It is at the Bryce Amphitheatre that one sees the miles of distinctive “hoodoos” for which Bryce Canyon is well known. These hoodoos are pillars of rock standing high above the base of the canyon, their unique shapes the result of years and years of erosion.

Although there weren’t all that many fellow tourists around in the Park this time of year, the ones that we encountered were quite friendly, and one was kind enough to take a photo of Lee and me at Sunset Point. (If you think Lee and I look cold in this photo, we were! I think it was about 28 degrees late Friday afternoon when this photo was taken, and a brisk wind was blowing as well.)

Sunrise Point is another overlook which affords a slightly different view of Bryce Canyon.

And here’s the intrepid photographer himself, standing near the edge (well, as close as I would LET him stand!) of Sunrise Point.

We took a drive along the 18 mile highway in Bryce National Park that runs south from Bryce Canyon and adjacent to the Pink Cliffs, which comprise another segment of the Grand Staircase, and stopped at several of the smaller canyon overlooks to enjoy the spectacular views and take a few more photos.

I don’t recall the name of the area where we stopped the take the following photos, but the scenery was a mixture of red rocks and towering pine trees.

And here’s another photo of Lee and me that was taken by a fellow tourist while we were at this scenic overlook.

And a photo of me.

One of the scenic viewpoints about 2/3 of the way south through the Park is called Natural Bridge, no doubt named after the distinctive shape of this rock formation.

Here is Lee again, headed back down the hill from a viewpoint over Black Birch Canyon, another canyon toward the southern end of the road through Bryce Canyon National Park.

Ponderosa Canyon is yet another canyon toward the south end of Bryce Canyon National Park. The next few photos were taken at Ponderosa Point, overlooking Ponderosa Canyon.

And here was one of many large ravens we saw during our time in the high country. It was clear that this particular bird was not very afraid of us, and I suspect that many of the crows in the area are accustomed to being fed by tourists. He did sit still long enough for Lee to get a pretty good photo of him!

I should mention that during the time we were in the Bryce National Park, we also saw a number of deer grazing at different locations, as well as some cute little singing birds that I later identified as nuthatches! Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get any good photos of them.

As always, I would like to thank you all for visiting my Blog, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my little “travelogue” as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.

Lee and I are continuing our vacation now in beautiful Sedona, Arizona, and I will most likely be posting a few photos of that phase of our trip in a few days, so if you’re interested, please check back!


Lisa said...

I thoroughly enjoyed your commentary and pictures of your trip. Utah does have wonderful landscaping, and you and Lee caught it beautifully.!
Have a safe trip to Sedona.!

Teddyree said...

Hope you're having a wonderful time Jan, love the photos especially the ones of the Bryce Amphitheatre, will definitely check back and keep an eye on your travels. Stay safe

BeccaRoo said...

WOW you got to see some really beautiful sights. I hope you'll are having so much fun!!