Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah: Dave and I were hiking fiends today! Walked three trails on the floor of the canyon - up and down and up and down and up and down. We saw so many beautiful views. I snapped 80 photos and will post probably too many on this page today. Please forgive - Bryce Canyon is so dramatically gorgeous.
We left our car at Sunset Point, followed the rim to Sunrise Point and hiked down into the canyon along the Queen's Garden trail:
The view from the rim of the canyon
One of the many "windows" we saw on our hike today
Pretty view on the descent
At one point on the trail, a young male college student asked if we could wait for a moment before proceeding as a group of female Chinese foreign exchange students had decided to take a bathroom stop in the forest and apparently they needed privacy. Sure. We waited and chatted up the guy for a while. And then we waited a bit more and finally, I yelled out in Chinese, what literally translates to: Little Sisters, hurry up! My comment was followed by a flurry of giggles and one voice told us (in Chinese) we could finally continue along the trail.
We met many hikers on the trails today, but Americans were few and far between. We heard Chinese, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, French, German, Dutch and whatever language Sasa speaks.
Instead of climbing back up the canyon (like a reasonable person), we opted to add a 3+ mile loop, The Peek-a-Boo trail to our itinerary. So glad we did - a beautiful trail. It was a really strenuous trek for this old gal, but slow and steady saved the day and I trudged along. Hiking at 8000-9000 feet is no picnic. I think I'm in some sort of decent shape due to all my jogging, but I had to stop every once in a while for a rest. Goodness, imagine if I had not been jogging so much?
Here are photos from the Peek-a-Boo Loop:
We met several packs of trail riders today
And we also met a Park Ranger - his job today was to deliver toilet paper to a pit toilet!
Just a spectacular sky over Bryce Canyon this afternoon (but it was warm and it did not rain)
Anyone questioning their belief in a Higher Power should spend time hiking in Bryce Canyon... unless they are hiking with someone with a degree in Geology who explains the canyon in terms of sediment deposits and erosion. I don't listen to him. I know howit was created. It's the why that gives me peace.
The last loop in our hiking trifecta was the Navajo Trail - completing what is called the "Figure 8" on the park hiking map. This trail leads spectacularly up out of the canyon floor to the rim (and our awaiting car).
Switch-backs dragging me up the steep canyon
This trail is only for crazy hikers
But at the rim - the views are spectacular
(though to be honest, you can see this view from your car)
My pedometer was blowing-up! 20,000 steps covered by the end of the hikes and the GPS thingy said I had climbed 131 flights of stairs. (DT thinks that is wrong, he thinks we climbed more.) Whatever, I do not feel guilty for skipping my run this morning.
We returned to our campsite, only to find a new neighbor:
Prong Horned Sheep (American Antelope)
If you recall, we had visited the Lodge yesterday to see if things had improved since our last visit (2002). The menu looked fantastic, the wine list was impressive and they said "we are open until ten, and you don't need reservations". So, imagine our surprise when we arrived at 8p - really hungry and in fairly-desperate need of a cocktail - only to find we had to wait and received a buzzer/pager thingy.
The oldest remaining "original" dining room in our National Park system
Imagine an even bigger surprise, after we were seated, when we learned they did not serve cocktails - only beer and wine. Utah, don't forget. Sad thing is, they were out of nearly every wine on their list. I asked why, and our server explained (and I might not have this completely correct) the State of Utah only allows them to order wine once per month and last weekend was a huge crowd and they were nearly wiped-out. I hereby advise you all to visit this National Park early in the month!
We shared a wild Alaskan smoked salmon appetizer
When we visited in 2002, the dining room was operated by the omnipresent Xanterra and now the dining room is operated by Forever Resorts. Things have definitely improved and it is stated up-front on their menu that they are a certified Green restaurant (which means they patronize sustainable food purveyors and recycle, etc., etc., etc.) and that they are approved by the Monterey Bay Aquarium (which means I do not have to ask if their salmon is wild or farmed). These things are very important to me.
So is wine, but they still had a few bottles of a nice Bonterra Cabernet Sauvignon I like and it went very well with the local Utah lamb chops I ordered. DT had a beer with his smoked duck. We over-ordered (or our portions were too large), so I will try to find something to do with my fat lamb chop and I am dreaming of hash browns with that smoked duck.
Until my next update, I remain, your tired correspondent.
RV PARK: Ruby's Inn RV Park & Campground - We have a long pull-through with 50 amp, water and sewer. Bathhouse, laundry, store, pool, hot tub and nearby to shops, restaurants and all sorts of other tourist needs. Only a half-mile from the entrance to Bryce Canyon National Park. They have recently added many more full hook-up campsites. With tax, etc., we are paying $47.11 per night.