We arrived at Dixie National Forest about mid to late morning and I am showing, in the first photo, where we came from. We were climbing and had just driven through arid desert like country, but still very cold. There are no towns or services anywhere near here and we are living on trail mix, fruit and plenty of water. The climate is very dry here and one must drink plenty of water, even though it is cold.
Now we are on the other side of the sign and you can see how the topography changes abruptly. There are red rocks and soil everywhere and the hoodoos are giving us a sense of anticipation as we near Bryce Canyon, the mother of all hoodoo canyons.
There had been a two inch snowfall the night before and the fluffy dry snow was making the photography a lot of fun.
The altitude creates deep blue skies which contrast so wonderfully with the red and orange of the rock formations. There is no photo shopping of pictures here. This is what it is really like. I did use a polarizing screen on my lens to cut glare and reflection. The sun is very intense at this elevation.
I cannot describe the feeling of being surrounded by something so out of the ordinary, so different from what we are used to. The natives of Utah would probably say the same thing about our Fraser Valley and all the lush greenery if they were to visit our province.
Whether for practicality or for another tourist photo op, this arch was carved into the sandstone. It had icicles hanging from it, of which I have photos, but I had to be more selective than that.
How could Bryce Canyon be more beautiful than this. There was no entrance fee here, only a sign, and plenty of pull-outs for gazers, oglers, and photographers.
We finally arrive at our ultimate destination. As I filtered through all the 100's of photos, I was torn about which ones to post and which ones were not worthy. I am going back and forth, agonizing, but ultimately, I can not show them all, and chose a few representative images that were typical of the vistas and views.
Stepping to the rim of the canyon for the first time reminded me of doing the same at Grand Canyon. You have seen photos and heard descriptions, but there is nothing like being there. There is a sense of awe, and you can feel it among the other visitors as they stand at the lookouts and think the same thing. It is sensory overload as one's eye tries to relay the information to the brain and the brain saying something like "no previous reference points".
We soaked it all in for the rest of that day and stayed until we got our 'sunset photos', then came back the next morning at dawn and caught the 'sunrise photos'. The maps and information guides are helpful in that they tell you which views are best at which time of day. Above, you can see last night's snow drifts on the trail. The chasm dropped off to the left and the right from the trail above.
The 'Rim Trail' connected all the view points and one could hike all day just ravelling the rim. We found the best experience was to go down into the canyon. It was a bit sheltered from the bitter wind and we no longer just looked down on all the formations, but were eye level with many of them. 'Up close and personal' is best when visiting Bryce Canyon.
As we descended the trail, we looked up to where we had just been. The signs say to remember that "what goes down, must come back up". The trails are steep and a bit treacherous in places and there are many warning signs about proper foot wear and about the many deaths each year from falls.
Tomorrow I will post the best photos of the trip to this point.