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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Utah Day 4- Hiking Bryce

We woke the next morning and did a couple of things we had been neglecting in the Zion Museum and one of the most picturesque spots in the park called the Hall of Champions, or the Justice League, or something thereof. Was a great easy hike and a nice view but after hundreds of spectacular views it tends to get a bit overwhelming or maybe yet another case of you’ve one magnificent million year old obelisk and you have seen them all.

We made the drive out to Bryce Canyon. It was about a 90 minute drive made all the more miserable by the fact they were doing road work which meant a normal 2 lane street was turned into a one lane street and stoplights gauged who went and who waited. But making it more fun yet was the road work meant a good stretch of road with huge divots, loose gravel, pot holes, teenagers rolling bowling balls down the hills, giant gorrilas throwing barrels, etc etc.

Bryce was funny in that one minute you were in a semi green wooded area and the next you were in the land of red hoodoos. We arrived to the lodge and were checked in by a couple of russians. I noticed later that the people servicing the rooms were russian as well. Later at dinner, the local greasy spoon served a quality of food akin to that of the snack bar at the Drive Inn, when they existed. I noticed the staff made up of one guy whole looked like Ahmenadijad and the rest being africans, not africans americans as they had a very very thick accent. I never thought a trip to Bryce Canyon would end up being the United Nations much less the same state we visited the same Costco not a couple of days earlier.

We unloaded and hit the park and I was amazed at the wildlife there...Deer were thick. There were bucks, does, fawns and you saw them at almost every turn. After seeing the 100th I told Tomoko-I think we can stop taking pictures of them now. We stopped by a couple of Viewpoints and the views were amazing. Where as Zion had a ton of views were you would be looking up at the monoliths, Bryce had views that were like deep 3D panaromas with rocks in front of other rocks in front of canyons with miles of mountains stretching in the background. We went back and on the drive home decided we would wake up early to see the sunset. The Sun rose at 6:10 and we were close enough to the park where we figured we could leave at 5:50pm.

As usual and par for the course I did not sleep very well and when the alarm went off was pretty much ready to go as I wasnt sleeping anyway. We opened the front door and were hit with a crisp blast of cold air that was reminiscent of the artic cold blast at mt haleakula on maui. We picked up the kids and put them in their car seats pajamas and all and covered them with the blankets we had brought with us. If there is one benefit of traveling by car is you really take an amazing amount of crap with you and go completely over prepared.

We hit one of the viewpoints that sounded like it might just maybe be a good place to watch the sunrise. It was called “Sunrise Point.”

Funny was that the sun was so bright that it was visibly clear and daytime long before the first blip of sun poached the horizon. It was magnificent as well in that the sun cast shadows that were amazingly long. I took a picture of my shadow that made me look like Kareem Abdul Jabar.

Me and my Kareem Style Shadow.

The other great thing about the sunrise here was that as the rays of the sun shown on the rocks different colors tended to radiate from them. Your basic red rock was showing orange, auburn, and sometimes even Burgundy. The sun rose and we decided to take the elongated drive to Rainbow Point. After 20 miles and 200 more dear we saw a sign that said we were still 13 or so miles from the Point so we settled on the first point we came to. It was still cold and this was yet another beautiful view. We coaxed Alex out of the van and wrapped him in a mexican blanket so he could enjoy the view as well. I noticed my bladder was full and if there is one thing I love is a good old fashioned out door piss....especially in a National Park with a cold breeze in my face. I walked down the fence area that separated the viewpoint from a 50 story drop and with a good 30 yards away from the loved ones leaked right over the side. It really is the little things in life that make it all worth while.

After that we drove right back to the Inn, Tomoko used the in room coffee maker and made me a nice cup of coffee, which I proceeded to drink 2 hours later as I was out like a light sleeping within minutes. I woke up, sucked down the coffee and ate a 2 day old croissant and packed the van. We were going to do a final hike before heading to Vegas and choose the .08 miles Queens garden trail. It was wonderful and wonderous with the only negative being the fear of one of the kids falling off the trail. Went very smoothly though and as we made the bottom of the trail we decided to go ahead and do the loop which added an additional 1.3 miles. The bottom of the trail was more mountain/meadow then red rock hoodoo and Alex was none too pleased the extra hike would mean a delay to our trip to Vegas-and to Alex Vegas means one thing and one thing only-M&M World.

At the bottom of the trail was an area with a lot of loose rocks where people had done rock stacking. We proceeded to make a couple of our own all the while staving off wave after wave of small nats. We started the walk back uphill and Alex and I joked about how many bugs we ate...Alex remembered a joke I must have said previously with his comment of “good protein.” It was either me or Bear Gryliss.

But what made this hike special was the both Alex and Dustin walked the entire trail without whining or asking for a piggy back ride. It was literally one of my proudent moments when we made it to the top and the whole family high fived each other and even Alex commented that Dustin was the man of the hour and that was his best moment so far.

We made it back to the van as to which I changed my sweaty shirt and we started the drive not only back to Zion but back to Vegas which quite frankly I was not looking forward to. Ill post some pics of this escapade later.

One of Bryce Canyons famous levitating dear.

A couple more the Ansel Adams collection...

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