May 20, 2013

National Parks- Bryce Canyon, Giant natural amphitheaters


Utah Bryce Canyon National Park Amphitheater

Bryce Canyon National Park is a land of natural giant amphitheaters of hoodoos. As the name suggests bryce canyon is not a canyon. The hoodoos are structures in the form of pinnacles formed due to frost weathering. These exposed delicate pinnacles are red, pink and white in color and about 200ft high. The whole set of amphitheater area is about 20 miles long north-to-south. The rim of the amphitheater varies from 8,000ft to 9,000 and hence has a cooler weather. Being remotely located in south-western Utah clear sky and colored rocks make a beautiful contrast, and the clear air helps produce good photographs. Like any other national park in USA, Bryce Canyon NP has an entrance fee of $20 per car.

Utah Bryce Canyon National Park Inspiration Point Panorama
Panorama from Inspiration Point
I continued my roadtrip and drove from Page-Arizona following the Scenic Highway-89. Experiencing beauty of this park starts even before we reach the park entrance. Red sandstone spires welcome the visitors. They are the prologues to the beautiful story of Bryce Canyon trip. I had never seen such landscape earlier to this. It was not as vast as or as magnificent as Grand Canyon. While Grand Canyon is awe-inspiring, Bryce Canyon brings a feeling of beauty.

Utah Bryce Canyon National Park Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria
 Most of the viewpoints in this land of beauty are accessible by road.   Because of the clear sky here and the high altitude, the sunrise and sunsets can be spectacular. And hence sunrise and sunset point parking lots are always full. I camped in this park for three days and visited this park twice. My friends were surprised, according to them a day is enough to cover all viewpoints. To tell you the truth, I do not visit these places to tick off the viewpoints. I want to feel the place, I love the sense of peace I get when I see something beautiful.

Park offers around 80miles of hiking trails. Some are easy and moderate and some strenuous. But, all those trails are worth walking. Day-1, I went on a hike early morning. I went down the Queen's Garden Trail to follow the Peek-a-boo loop and then back up the Navajo (Wall Street) trail. Once I started descending ... I was surrounded by those high standing red sandstone pinnacles. I passed through arches and small tunnels. Everything around me was red! It was a strange experience. I felt like I was lost in the sands of serenity. Walking down the Queen's Garden trail takes you to the queen. Do you see Queen Victoria

Utah Bryce Canyon National Park Natural Bridge
Natural Bridge
Peek-a-boo trail rolls up and down several times with total elevation gain of 1,800ft. Remember there is hardly any shade. When I was back at the rim after climbing that steep Wall Street trail I felt all the other crowd was just out of the spa- fresh and clean. I was sweating profusely and the the dust mixed with sweat was a very familiar feeling :) My shoes were soaked in the red sand. I walked like a monk along with those clean people! Near sunrise point there are showers which was a boon for me.

Day-2, I drove around the park. I found the Natural Bridge to be a spectacular one. At several places I saw herds of mule deer and pronghorn antelopes. In the evening light I could not get good shots of these. And also the park had enforced very strict traffic rules. Parking roadside to take picture would fetch me another ticket which I would never think of. 

Day-3, I revisited the places I liked on Day-1 and 2. I knew where I should be for sunrise and for the sunset. And I did watch spectacular ones. The sunrise near Thor's Hammer was one of the spectacular sunrises I have ever seen!

Utah Bryce Canyon National Park Sunrise Point
Sunrise

At the visitor center I came to know that there is a waterfalls in the park. Looking for it I had to drive past the park on Hwy-12 towards the town of Tropic. It is a short one mile roundtrip hike to this waterfalls on a man-made stream called Tropic Ditch. In that reddish-pink landscape the water was cool and extremely clear. I walked in that stream- the pebbles and the cold water were healing my feet. I just couldn't believe the experience- the blazing sun was mercilessly burning my head and the cool water was soothing to my feet! I just poured some of that water over my head before returning.

Utah Bryce Canyon National Park Tropic Ditch
Tropic Ditch
Nearby was another destination- Mossy Cave. There wasn't any moss there and in fact there was nothing interesting other than just a cave. If you are not fond of waterfalls then do not go to this part driving all around the park. It would be wise to check with national park staff about the water flow. Early next morning I drove towards my next destination- Zion National Park.

Whenever I have visited these National Park Trio- Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion, I have tried hard to learn the language of this dry land, this red landscape. I remember reading ... language of a landscape could be understood with the right eyes! Not sure if I have understood that language but, on these harsh trails for sure, I spoke out loud to God- to thank him for creating such beautiful and wonderful world for us to live in, to see and to experience. Also for providing me inspiration, courage, strength and safety in all my little journeys.

Note: Other destinations on this roadtrip- Grand Canyon NPAntelope Slot Canyon, Wupatki Ruins and Sunset Crater Volcano National Monuments, US Scenic Route 89A, Horseshoe BendZion NP, Angels Landing hike and Zion Subway hike.
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Related articles-
National Parks of USA.
My trip to Utah.

This post is linked to Our World Tuesday.

If you want pictures please ask me :)
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Scrapbook- A Travel Blog by Kusum Sanu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

28 comments:

  1. Such a brilliant natural wonder. Nice post Kusum.

    http://rajniranjandas.blogspot.in

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  2. how incredible. i really really want to see this someday.

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    1. Yes, its a must visit place in the pacific sw.

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  3. What gorgeous scenery. And that sunrise shot is stunning!

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    1. Thanks Lady Fi. Yes, those sun rays are fantastic!

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  4. Stunning, Kusum!
    Love the sunrise very much...
    Warm greetings from a wet Holland,
    Anna :))

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  5. Cool shots of Bryce. One of my favorite parks to visit. Have a happy day!

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  6. Each capture a gem! Such a wonderful place, I want to visit this some day. Thank you for showing.

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  7. What an amazingly beautiful natural landscape.

    Mollyxxx

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  8. Great tour!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  9. Love all the wonders you show us from this remarkable canyon.

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    1. Thank you Arija. Glad you enjoyed the post!

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  10. I just visited Bryce earlier in May - your photos took me back. It's surreal and lovely there.

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    1. Thank you Barb for visiting. Yes, this place is amazingly beautiful!

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  11. I never got to that part of the States so I thank you for the wonderful virtual tour! It must be a breath-taking place.

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    1. Betty, you are welcome! Glad you enjoyed the place, and yes, this place is truly breath-taking!

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  12. Seriously, places like these, we need atleast 3-4 days to explore, do trek, and enjoy the moments there! I am glad you made some great walking trails!

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  13. Oh there is no where near my area where the landscape is like this.... Love the warm colors.... I just liked your Facebook page.... Michelle

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    1. Yes, Bryce Canyon is truly amazing! Thanks Michelle for liking my Facebook page though there is nothing much posted other than what is in the blog :)

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  14. Ah-may-zing!! The place, the pictures and all.
    Someday -- I hope. ;)

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