First thing on the agenda the next morning was 124 miles of driving, before arriving at Bryce Canyon. The weather was good, no sign of snow despite the forecast the night before! Our first glimpse of what we were about to embark on was entering into Red Canyon, which alone was spectacular, and was only a tease to what was coming.
The rim at Bryce varies from 8,000 to 9,000 feet (2,400 to 2,700 m). The Bryce Canyon area was settled by Mormon pioneers in the 1850s and was named after Ebenezer Bryce, who homesteaded in the area in 1874. It was said that it was a Hell of a Place to loose a cow! We arrived Sunset point, the trail head for the Navajo loop and readied ourselves for the hike. Wall Street area of this loop, which would take us back up to the rim, was closed due to snow, so we had to swing around and complete the hike on the Queens Garden Trail. It was a fantastic day, even though I had us back track about ½ a mile, and then go back over the same part of the trail a 3rd time to actually finish the Queens Garden trail to the rim of the Canyon at Sunrise Point. Once at the Rim we followed the Rim Trail back to the car. It was truly is an amazing trek, and I would love to go back and do more of the trails. The weather was perfect, no rain, no snow, and the temperature was just right for hiking the steep terrain. It is amazing that anything grows there. At one point our eyes played tricks on us making the greenery look blue, even my runners looked blue, however we soon realized it was all due to reflections from all the red in the canyon.
The norm for places like this is pictures just don’t do justice. Nothing can replace the sensation one feels when you are standing above all the valleys and spires that weather and time have created. Hiking to the bottom of the Canyon is even that much more breathtaking. Although the hike was a work out, it was shorter than we anticipated, or maybe we were in better shape than we thought! We didn’t have time to do any of the longer hikes so set our sights on arriving in Flagstaff, Arizona that night, another 283 miles. We had a quick bite to eat at Ruby’s Lodge in Bryce City and followed Hwy 12 to Hwy 89 and headed south. It seemed a shame to pass so many places to sight see, explore and hike on the way to Flagstaff, but one only has so much time, so we’ll have to go back and do some more exploring another day. Maybe incorporate a jeep for some of those not so travelled roads – next time!