The drive up to Bryce Canyon was smooth, a couple of small towns passed along the way, hilarious conversations in the ladies toilet queue in McDonalds in Kanab! Turning off the interstate on Scenic Route 12 we were astounded at how beautiful the Red Canyon was. Fortunately there were scenic pullouts every quarter mile to admire the amazing red rock outcrops.As we arrived at Bryce Canyon it started to snow! We didn’t come equipped for such cold weather and Amr had decided to wear shorts today. Needless to say he didn’t linger at the various overlooks! Very different to the Grand Canyon, Bryces’ rocky outcrops are fascinating in shape and vivid red in colour, however it’s not as vast as the Grand Canyon. The road through the park is 17 miles and there are plenty of stops along the way to admire the view.
Our first full day at Bryce we had planned to walk a couple of the trails, however, we woke up to snow! So a plan B was required. We drove alone Scenic Route 12 ‘an all American route’. The first stop we made was at the Mossy Cave Trail. As the snow had eased a little and the trail was a short one we ventured along the route. The rocks above stunningly red, hoodoos looking down on us as we walked along the side of the stream which was lovely to hear as it bubbled along, seems ages since we saw streams with water in rather than dry river beds, never though we would miss it so! The path wound around and revealed a lovely waterfall, unfortunately the trail to view it closer was closed so we had to admire it from afar. We took the trail which went to the cave, and, just as it says, it’s a mossy cave! As the water drips down through the rocks you can see how much in a couple of thousand years hence there will be stalactites growing downwards from the ceiling.
We continued our drive and the scenery, even in the clouds and snow looked stunning ( a word Amr has now banned me from using again as he’s fed up with hearing it this holiday!). The huge red cliffs of varying colour and texture are fascinating, and just go on and on. After a while we decided to turn back and head for the warmth of our cottage and settled down to playing our new board game.
Our second day we woke up to sunshine and clean crisp air. Temperatures of -6C meant that we needed to wear as many layers as possible, not having been prepared for such cold weather. We made our way downhill from Sunrise Point along the Queens Garden Trail, dropping in total to the bottom of the canyon 300 feet. The pathway was steep and often close to the edge so we had to be careful not to be too carried away with the stupendous views as we made our way down. That meant stopping frequently to look around us at the changing landscape and amazing red rock shapes and ‘hoodoos’ . There were still occasional flurries of snow but nothing to worry us although we could see low dark clouds on the horizon. It was great fun walking through the tunnels through the rocks in places. We continued on along the Navajo Trail which led us through pine forest and more level pathways allowing us to look up at the rocks towering above us in comfort, until we had to rise again and this time the pathway was challengingly steep, despite the switchbacks. If we had know how steep this end was we would have walked down this way instead, anyway, it gave our lungs a real workout, not to mention the old legs!!