October 9, 2017 Bryce Canyon NP Day 4

We brought in the water hose and filter last night to keep them from freezing since the low was predicted to be 20 degrees. I wore socks to bed with the warm pajamas that I bought in Flagstaff, AZ when it got so cold there. We even brought Auggie into bed with us last night because of the cold. He’s a good little sleeper–never moved and didn’t snore. We had both the furnace and the fireplace going last night and we were WARM. We got up at 7:30 to a temp of 26. The sun came up shortly after and started the defrosting process outside.

We would give it some time to warm up before starting out on our road trip. An hour later, the temp had already climbed to 35. They say that the temp can rise 40 degrees in a very short time here in Bryce once the sun comes out to warm things up. Let’s hope so! It was getting warmer….slowly, but surely. The predicted high is 49 degrees, so it doesn’t have far to go. Everything we read in the park newspaper said to drive the 18 miles to the end of Highway 63, the scenic drive in the park, stopping at all the overlooks on the way back since they are all right turns off the highway. That’s exactly what we did after making a stop in town to make a call with better cell service and check out the Old Bryce Towne Shops.

It looked pretty quiet, so I thought maybe they weren’t open yet, until I saw this sign.

Oops! I guess it’s getting to be that time of the year for these folks. Well, so much for that and off we went. Auggie was making the road trip with us today. The road took us on a steady climb through the park with no line at the entrance gate.

We saw a few deer and some fire burned sections of forest on the hillsides.

The road took us very close to the edge and steep drop-offs at times, but the Bristlecone forest was dense in most areas. Our first stop, Rainbow Point, was at the end of the road.

 It was very cold and windy there. (Elev. 9115 ft.), but the view was spectacular. There are quite a few hikes from that point down into the canyon.

The white areas of rock in the last picture looked like snow.

We warmed up a little when we got back to the truck as we ate the lunch that we packed. We even used our seat heaters in the truck for the very first time…ever. Black Birch Canyon was our next stop at 8750 ft. It was named after the trees growing there. The rocks had that beautiful orange/red glow.

Ponderosa Point (Elev. 8904 ft.) was just down the road. Waiting for us was this huge raven. 

He never moved no matter how close I got.

The colors here were on fire.

I also saw some great examples of “hats”.

From this vantage point, we could see Navajo Mountain at an elevation of 10,328 ft. It was the highest point in the area.

Agua Canyon (Elev. 8800 ft.) was next on down the line.

Agua Canyon gave us a view of the river wash below us down to Willis Creek. The sun lit up the rocks and gave them a beautiful orange hue.

I love this tri-color hoodoo.

There were more beautiful rock formations and amazing colors. Many of the rock formations reminded me of castles. 

We could also see water trickling out of the rocks from above. I guess that’s where the name Agua Canyon came from.

The next stop was the one I was waiting for….the Natural Bridge.

Technically, not a bridge, it is a natural arch formed by headward erosion. The contrast of the red rocks and deep greens of the forest was striking. This arch was the biggest one I’ve seen so far.

Fairview Point (Elev. 8819 ft.) had a beautiful example of a window/bridge and one window formation that looked like an hour glass.

We drove another 7 miles to Swamp Canyon. From here, you could take a 4 mile hike into the back country.

Near Sunrise Campground there is a prairie dog town. We happened to catch a couple of them peeking their cute little heads out of their burrows.

One mile past the Visitor’s Center and park entrance station is the road to Fairyland Point (Elev. 7758 ft.).

It is a mile through the woods to the Point and we couldn’t believe our eyes when we got there. There were hoodoos and windows galore, glowing red in the afternoon sun.

Some hoodoos were multi-colored–red, orange, and white. I just couldn’t stop taking pictures. I’m sure by now you’re tired of seeing my pictures of rocks, but a camera just doesn’t do justice to the beauty here. They are so amazingly beautiful!

The Fairyland Loop Trail starts here, so I took a short walk down the trail to check out the view from there. You never know when you might see another window hidden in the hoodoos. Sure enough, there it was!

I saw these two ladies returning on the trail. I wish I’d had more time to walk longer on the trail. It looked like the trail went along the top of the ridge. How cool is that!

This was an awesome drive and a great way to spend our final day here in Bryce. If I ever come back again, I hope to take a trail ride into the canyon. We stopped in town, Bryce Canyon City, just outside the park, for gas and then went back to the campground at 2:00. On the way in, there were people renting this teepee for the night. That might be really cold, but how cool! 

By now, the temp had risen to 49 degrees, but that’s probably the warmest it’s going to get all day. Our neighbors left the campground this morning and left behind all their firewood, so we decided to have a daytime campfire. It was a sunny day and being out of the wind was quite pleasant, so we could enjoy the afternoon outside by the fire. (It would be way too COLD to be outside tonight even with a fire.)

We used up all the firewood before dinner and then moved inside. We will have to bring in the water hose and filter again tonight. Tomorrow we move on to Page, AZ and Lake Powell. The weather should be warmer there….we hope!

 

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