Just as a bug smashes into your car windshield, the idea hit me out of nowhere. I need to explore more of my own backyard….
and so that is exactly what I did this past weekend. Bryce Canyon National Park
is located about four hours south of where I reside, a perfect weekend getaway where one can enjoy being outside, and in nice weather. Not being much of a planner, I only checked the weather forecast the night before to see that a potential severe weather watch was in place for our State for the weekend.
I took my chances anyway, and early on Saturday morning, I loaded up the car with the barest of essentials, and drove to adventures unknown.
This was my first stop inside the park. I was blown away by the scene in front of me. Excitedly, I got my backpack ready and hit the hiking trail down into the canyon. I made it about 1/2 a mile when the trail disappeared under the snow. I ventured off the trail to see if maybe I could pick up the trail a little further down, but what I discovered is that Bryce Canyon still has lots of snow in April. I turned around, disappointed that I couldn’t hike down any further. As I was walking back up the snow covered trail, my legs sunk into the snow up to my crotch. I was screaming in pain from the sudden cold, and as I struggled to free myself, I saw that the snow had left several cuts on my bare legs.
Lesson learned. Stay off the deep snow.
Since hiking down into the canyon wasn’t a possibility, I just popped out the ole camera, and visited the different view points Bryce Canyon offers and hiked along the rim. April is a perfect time to visit if you prefer less crowds ( and don’t want to hike down into the canyon), as the only other people around were elderly retired folks and tourists from other countries.
My next stop was Agua Canyon, and you just have to love a place where each stop is more breath taking than the last. After this I also went to Ponderosa and Black Birch canyons, which also offer amazing views.
It was here that I really understood about the amount of snow this place receives. I felt like I was in the book, The Shining
, in the scene when they go outside in the snowstorm. The snow was over five feet high on both sides of the trail leading to the point.
I also hiked along the rim to Rainbow Point, and had a nice little picnic here, which I recommend to anyone. After lunch, I headed back along the highway to, unbeknownst to me at the time, the crown jewels of the park.
When my sister was killed in 2007, one of my favorite pictures of her shown at the viewing was from this place. Funny thing was, I had no idea where the picture was taken until I arrived here myself.
To imagine the time, the erosion of rock by water and wind, that is forming this place is hard to comprehend. Just to the left of the viewpoint is a trail you can take to really take in the whole area. In April, the trail is very muddy due to the melting snow, not to mention all the snow not yet melted. It was a very scary experience trying to hike along the trail and not slip and fall several hundred feet to your death. Add to that the winds from the predicted weekend storm started to kick up around 30-40 miles per hour. But I made it out to a outcropping, laid down, told my sis how much I love and miss her, and felt peace.
Sunset and Sunrise Points
The last stop on my journey. After Inspiration point, I thought I would be let down, but that was not the case. I was lucky to get these pictures though, as my memory card was about full ( Note to self, always bring extra memory cards)
So whether you go for a weekend or longer, Bryce Canyon is a paradise for photographers, hikers, nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, or anyone looking to just get away.