Bryce National Park
Trip Start Apr 23, 2009
8Trip End May 02, 2009
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Bryce has a lot of hiking trails. We picked the most popular, the Sunrise to Sunset Point.
When you are standing on the Rim. look to your right. That is the trail you want to take down. This follows a few graded switchbacks, then starts stairs and stairs and stairs. Those who started the trail on the left side have to huff and puff their way up the stairs. And if you ran out of water before you hit the stairs, it's not going to be pretty.
There was a man offering to pay $10 for a bottle coming up the stairs
The Sunrise point return is also up hill, BUT no switchback stairs. It isn't handicapped accessible. But the overlook that runs the width of the canyon is.
If you look at my photo's there is a "secret" spot that no one seems to go to. It's a slight rise off the path. You are surrounded by hoodos and formations. When we were leaving the area, we told a few hikers coming around the bend about it. Later that day we met them again and they said it's the "best kept secret in Bryce."
The main overlooks were packed by tour busses. Fortunetly, these people only come to "jump out for 15 minutes and jump back on the bus."
At some of the overlooks we saw tourists trying to feed the squirrels and birds. Corn chips, pretzels and other unidentified junk food. Yep that's a perfect diet. Makes you wonder if they can't read. The signs are posted right beside them.
Bryce's lodging is one of the most expensive in the Park service
Bryce is a huge canyon. Don't stop aat the Sunrise-Sunset rim, continue thru the Park. There are so many beautiful areas.
I took the following from the handout.
Visiting the Park: Following the plateau rim for much of it's 18 miles, the park road and its overlooks offer stunning geological panoramas. Stop first at the visitor center and see a free film, look at exhibits, browse the books, maps, and publications about the park and this area.
Bryce offers more than driving tours. In summer, rangers conduct walks, talks, and campfire programs. Topics range from geology and wildlife to air quality.
Some 50 miles of hiking trails offer close encounters with hoodoos. Trails lead down amoung them from overlooks on the main park road.
HOODOS CAST THEIR SPELL
Hoodoo- a pillar of rock, usually of fantastic shape, left by erosion. Hoodoo - to cast a spell.
Geologist say that 10 million years ago forces within the earth created and then moved the massive blocks we know as the Table Clirrs and Paunsaugunt plateus. Rock lyaers on the Table Cliffs now towe 2,000 feet above their corresponding layer on the Pausaugunt. Anciet rivers carved the tops and exposed the edges of these blocks, removing some layers and sculpting formations in the others. The Paria Valley was created and later widened between the plateaus. The Paria River and its tributaries still carve the plateau edges.
Carrying dirt and gravel, rushing waters gully the edges and steep slopes of the Paunsaugunt Plateau on which lies the national park. With time, tall and thin ridges called fins emerge. Fins then ereode into pinnacles and spires called hoodoos, that weakening and falling, add their bright colors to the hills below.
People have lived in the Colorado Plateau region for about 12,000 years, but only random fragments of worked stone reveal their presence near Bryce Canyon. Artifacts add details of human use at lower elevations beyond the park boundary.
Capt. Clarence E. Dutton and John Wesley Powell, explored this area in the 1870s and gave it many place names. Dutton's report gave the name Pink Cliffs to the Claron Formation. Names from the Paiute are Paunsaugunt, place or home of the beavers; Paria, muddy water or elk water; Panguitch, water of fish; and Yovimpa, point of pines. Paiutes were displaced by emissaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints who developed many small communities in Utah. Ebenezer Bryce did such work in southwestern Utah and norther Arizona.
In 1875 Bryce came to the Paria Valley to live and harvest plateau timber. Neighbors called the canyon behind his home Bryce's Canyon.
Soon after 1900, people were coming to see the colorful geological sights, and the first accommodations were built along the Paunsaugunt Plateau rim above Bryce's Canyon.
In 1920 people were trying to protect the canyon's scenic wonders. In 1923 President Warren G. Harding proclaimed part of the area as Bryce Canyon National Monument under the Powell (now the Dixie) National Forest.
In 1924 legislation was passed to establish the area as Utah National Park, but the provisions of the legislation were not met until 1928
Each year more than 1.7 million people visit the park from all over the world. Open all year, the park offers recreational opportunities in each season. Hiking, sightseeing and photography are popular summer activities Spring and fall months offer greater solitude. Winter quiet combines with the region's best air quality for unparalled views and serenity.
For Gary and I, every season would be my favorite.
I keep forgettting to mention the National Park's accommodations. We use them every chance we get. Staying in the Parks is half of the fun. Many National Parks offer camp fire programs or stargazing at night. You learn something and you don't have the problem with traffic. You just walk out of your cabin and... there you are. In the Park. http://www.xanterra.com
Their prices are competitive. And once you're there, you park your car and take the shuttle bus. So even IF it's a few dollars more than the "Cheap-O" hotel in town. Think how much you save on gas, and the time you lost driving back to the hotel.
This was definetly one of my favorite trips. At the end of the month, we're headed to Texas. Yep, The Alamo. And Austin and Hill Country.
I may go into shock, cause this is more of a "museum" trip. Limited hiking.
If I don't post that trip, you know my body just shut down from lack of leg movement.