Each of Utah’s Mighty Five National Parks is unique in its own way. Bryce Canyon has a rim around which you can walk the canyon, or you can hike or go by horseback down into the canyon. We stayed at the rim on all our visits. The characteristic feature of Bryce Canyon is the Hoodoos. These formations are eroded out of the cliffs where rows of narrow walls form, called fins. With frost cracking the fins and creating windows, eventually the tops collapse and a column is left behind. Additional impact by rain sculpts these pillars into spires called Hoodoos. Some of the Hoodoos look like people gathering to me. In one photo you will see rows of Hoodoos, and my husband told me he thought they looked like people in church pews. Look in one of these photos for what I thought looked like an adobe village, with Hoodoos standing in a group on the right.
I went out for sunrise at Bryce. When I first got to the rim, I thought I was alone there. But soon I heard male voices talking, even though I never saw them. Gradually more and more people arrived, and I had conversations with several of them. There was serious cloud cover, which can sometimes make a sunrise very special. This sunrise was not spectacular, and many left soon after the light rose over the canyon. I hung on for a bit longer, but it didn’t pay any dividends. However, I loved being there at that time of day.
The scenic drive takes you out into the plateau where there is vegetation and a very different look. There are many short hikes along the drive to overlooks with different viewpoints of the canyon. Along that drive we saw evidence of a serious fire, which I learned had occurred last July 2015. Regeneration had begun on the floor of the forest, but many trees were black and bare.
Bryce Canyon is at an elevation of over 8000 feet, and on the third morning there, I began to experience “Mountain Sickness.” We had been advised early in our planning to drink plenty of water when we were at higher elevations, and we had been doing that for the four days on the road getting to Bryce. But, my symptoms persisted until we left the park and got below 6000 feet. Light-headedness, loss of appetite and nausea, and poor balance all impacted my enjoyment of the park. Fortunately, it reached its “peak” (if you’ll pardon the pun) on the last day, so I was able to enjoy the rim walks and the scenic drive before it hit.