September 23, 2017- Tropic UT to Bryce Canyon National Park to Hurricane, UT
Update on Dad: He is still in the hospital, but he is getting better. He has guests and so he needs to remember to rest, but he sounds upbeat, for the most part. He will stay in the hospital probably into next week. The doctors want to make sure that he is stable before they release him.
And yeah! Fast internet tonight in the hotel. So thankful.
Brrr! 29 degrees and cloudy this morning, but the breakfast room at the Value Inn was absolutely packed shortly after 7:00. Everyone was anticipating their day at Bryce Canyon National Park.
Ken and I arrived there around 8:00, hoping to miss the crowds. This park is popular. We decided to drive rather the 18-mile scenic drive rather than take the shuttle, and we were glad about this decision because it was so cold.
We went out to Bryce Point first, and there they were. The millions of hoodoos lining the landscape. Hoodoos are the walls of cliffs that have eroded. Rows of these narrow walls are fins, which I mentioned before in my blog post titled Ah! Arches. Apparently the action of frost forming and melting erodes the cracks in the fins. Holes or windows appear and the cracks get bigger. As the holes grow larger, their tops weaken and collapse. This leaves a column. Eventually rain further shapes the limestone columns into “bulbous spires.” These type of spires are known by the whimsical name, hoodoo.
Imagine an army of coral and cream warriors standing at attention. There you have it. The hoodoos guarding their beautiful Bryce Canyon.
The scenic drive took us up to an elevation of 9,100 feet. We drove through forests and burned timber. We drove through low-laying clouds. The trees that high were decked with frost. The air was cold, sharp, thin, and clean with just a hint of pine. So wonderful.
Along the way, we stopped. I couldn’t get enough of the hoodoos. The canyons were slotted. We saw a natural bridge that is really not a bridge because it was not formed by water. It was big. Both Ken and I said, “Wow, look at that.” I walked to the rim and looked over. Far below and close up were the canyons and the hoodoos. One time when I was peering over the rim, horses and riders came up a trail. That was probably a fun ride, I thought.
By the time we finished the scenic drive and finished up at Sunrise Point, the crowds were definitely growing. This is a very popular park. Our last stop was at the Visitor Center where we took the time to see a film about Bryce Canyon.
There I learned, among many other things, that the hoodoos have a life cycle. They form, stand at attention, and eventually collapse. I can relate to this at a human level. In fact, the Paiute people said the hoodoos were Legend People who tricky coyote turned into stone.
The movie also mentioned that the park was named after the Mormon pioneer, Ebenezer Bryce. He came to Paria Valley, currently part of Bryce National Park in 1875. He apparently had a dry humor. When visitors asked Ebenezer about the glorious vista spread out behind his cabin, he simply said, “It’s a hell of a place to find a cow.”
Bryce is truly a special place. Hoodoo heaven. It’s absolutely magic.
As we exited the park, we continued down Scenic Highway 12 to 89. On that drive, we entered Red Canyon in Dixie National Forest. Another eye-popping experience of red rock formations. It’s true. Here in Utah, you just never know what wonder is waiting for you right around the bend.
Tonight we are in Hurricane (yes, that is the name of this town) Utah. We had to drive through a part of Zion on Highway 9 to get here, and so tomorrow there will be more “wows” to try to describe as we go back to Zion to finish our tour of the Grand Circle.
Mosquito Update: Too cold. Mosquitoes are more tropical even though we stayed in Tropic last night.
Beehive Commendation: The National Park System. What a treasure!