(My articles are out of order. Sorry about that. Operator error.)
It was the coldest night yet. Bob disconnected the water hose last night before we went to bed, as advised by the park manager. Good thing he did because when we woke up this morning, the thermometer read 26 degrees.
Neither of us wanted to get out of bed this morning. Auggie wanted to get into bed with us about 3 AM, so he was cold too. I had 2 extra blankets on the bed and we were toasty, but the furnace ran all night. Once we got up, there was enough residual water in the pipes so Bob could make coffee, but that was it. We had to wait a bit for the park to turn the water back on. Meanwhile, we found our outside water filter still frozen with a chunk of ice in the nozzle. We didn’t have to wait long before the water was flowing and everything was back to normal. Once the sun came up, things warmed up very quickly. We have somewhat better cell service here–1 bar, but the Internet is extremely fast. We waited for things to warm up a lot before leaving for Bryce at 10:30. Our plan was to drive in and see how bad the parking was. If worse came to worst, we could hop on the shuttle.
The line to get into the park wasn’t bad, but to make matters worse, we got behind a rental RV who took forever at the payment window. We finally made it through the gate and drove to the General Store where we were able to find parking. Actually, parking wasn’t much of an issue where we were today at all. From there, we walked to Sunrise Point and our first view of Bryce was awesome.
It was an easy walk from there to the start of the Queen’s Garden Trail.
The Queen’s Garden Trail is 1.8 miles long that descends into the canyon.
Everywhere you look the view is spectacular. This was Thor’s Hammer.
Hoodoos can be seen everywhere.
Hoodoos begin their lives as a fin capped with a harder form of limestone. The freeze and thaw cycle creates “windows” in the fins that open up. Eventually the cap rock becomes unsupported and the windows cave in to form hoodoos. Some are very striking in their formations.
We walked through stone tunnels and arches to the end of the Queen’s Garden. A likeness of Queen Victoria in the rock can be seen at the end of the spur trail.
We took a short breather there in the gathering place and ate our lunch. A very friendly, tame chipmunk came over looking for a handout.
This nuthatch hung around too, hoping to find a tidbit.
From there, it was either hike back the way we came or continue on the connecting Navajo Loop Trail for another 1.6 miles. Remember…what goes down, must go up and the trail guide recommended a clockwise direction to ease the climb out. As we continued our walk down into the lower reaches of the canyon, we could see our path behind us and ahead of us in the distance. This was the path that we had come down.
This was where the path would take us.
We even saw the mule riders going into and coming out of the canyon. Can you see the riders on the trail?
At times, I wished I was riding instead of walking. The hike was pleasant with lots of shade areas to rest and catch your breath. We even peeled off our fleeces soon after we started as it got warmer the more we descended into the canyon.
Once we started our ascent, we were all warmed up and there was a cool breeze blowing.
The temp was 70 in the canyon.and it took us 2 hours to hike in and out, with the final steep climb and switchbacks taking the longest with lots of rest stops. Every view was more amazing that the last.
Looking up at the top, we could see it was close.
Looking down below us, we could see where we had come from.
We reached the summit around 2:00 and waited for the shuttle to take us back to the truck. We stopped in the General Store for a postcard for my Dad and a walking stick for Bob. Then we drove the short distance back to the campground. I sat outside in the sun on the grass with Auggie to catch some rays. It was a beautiful fall afternoon. We took a walk before dinner towards the lake where we saw the mule deer gather last night. Auggie really caught some smells there.
We had leftovers for dinner and relaxed. Our hike today was awesome and we both felt very accomplished after we completed it.