Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Bryce Canyon NP, Sunrise to Sunset trail - Utah, Day 4-2 {Sabbatical SW trip}

After we finished up at Mossy Cave Trail, we drove back north and then south again to enter the park proper. We paid our $30 and then sat in the parking lot trying to figure out where to go next. I had some vague ideas, but was confused. So we drove south to Bryce Point but could not get a parking spot. It was absolutely packed with people and overrun with cars. So we drove back out again and the opposite way to Paria View. We found parking there but the views were not that spectacular...or at least not what I had seen pictured before.

We hiked down and took a picture nonetheless, a little perturbed that it was so insane there that it was eating into our limited time supply in Bryce.

It was a very quick stop so we loaded up and again tried Bryce Point. No parking. The park ranger yelled at us if we tried to wait just a little bit. On our way out he was closing that stop since it was so packed. He seemed really grumpy and I could understand. Crowds make me irritable too. But we gave up on Bryce Point and drove back north to the next stop, Inspiration Point. That was the place  for views. We hiked a short distance to a higher point at Inspiration and took it all in. Beautiful. The kids complained a lot during this small jaunt up the hill. It was like 90 and they were hot.

Bryce Amphitheater. Boom baby! Gorgeous!

Panning just a bit to the right.

Terry and the kids with with view. 

And me! 

Next we hiked back down and decided to try to do a hike just a bit further down at Sunrise Point. There was plenty of parking there.

Once we got up to Sunrise Point we overrode the kids' complaints about not wanting to do a hike. Terry especially wanted to get down there and explore some hoodoos! So we hiked the red trail in this photo (which I made for Steven and Prae in case they'd like to do it on their honeymoon) from Sunrise to Sunset. The only way we deviated from this was we didn't do Wall Street but came up next to Thor's Hammer.

We thought 0.8 miles didn't sound so bad. It was a bit further than that to come back though.

This is what the trail looked like from the top and it wound away into the canyon on the right.

The view to the right once we began.

Off we go! 

I could have taken pictures non-stop. 

Cool solitary hoodoo and cool twisty tree. 

Getting further out.

Pretend you're having fun kids! 

Descending even lower. 

We took many, many shade breaks, mostly because of the heat. We had no idea how good we had it here until we got to Zion and Hurricane that night and it was 111. Bryce felt amazing compared to that.

Looking out south away from the hoodoos. These looked like just piles of sand but they were firm. 

Cool hoodoo wall.

Some switchbacks on the way down. 

There were two or three tunnels. Good shade opportunities.

Keep trucking Evie!

The next tunnel became a selfie. 

Terry dusted Ezra's butt off and when they set off again, it just looked so darn cool. 

Heading back nearer to the canyon wall. 

Tired boy in another tunnel. 

We came to the end of Queen's Garden and realized that we had to climb back out to be done. Sad day for the kids who were so hot and tired.

We took a nice long break at Queen's Garden and then started out again. When we came to this shady overhang, we just had to rest. The folks behind us said we looked like a Christmas card and offered to take our picture. I never say No to that.

So cute! 

Almost to the outlet.

This place was called Two Bridges (see them in the background?) and we were almost done. But we didn't know that. Evie was especially grumpy. Her expression sums up her experience hiking in Bryce Canyon. Zero smiles and all grumpy face. She earned herself a new nickname a couple days later in Zion - Wilted Flower. This is what Evie looks like when she turns into Wilted Flower.

Almost done!

All we had to do was climb all of these switchbacks! No small feat... 

There were occasional squirrels and chipmunks and though we never fed them, they were pretty tame and expected to be fed. They'd run right up to you. 

Evie held out her hand and the little guy touched his nose to her skin. That made her day. Evie was back and Wilted Flower was gone. 

After the switchbacks were done we had a short ascent to get out which led us right past Thor's hammer. Pretty cool.

Zoom in on that Hammer. 

The other side of the switchbacks we came up were another set called Wall Street. They were even more steep and the view was pretty incredible over there. It would've been only an extra 0.1 mile hike but at the decision point below we didn't think the kids could handle that. Plus we would've missed Thor's Hammer. I advised Steven and Prae to do Wall Street if they do this. I wish I could go back and do it too. From there we were done in Bryce for the day and we drove south to Zion National Park, our ultimate destination.

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