Travel Log: See Bryce Canyon in a Day [Day 4]

This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series Las Vegas to Zion & Bryce Canyons

Aaaand I’m back! Sorry for the long absence folks! I really have no excuse other than I was distracted by temporarily taking leave of my senses during which I started knitting a second sweater. I know I swore off ever knitting another sweater after the last one…but the photo in the pattern book was so alluring…

So pretty right??

 Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, Kanab.

As our stay in Kanab was almost entirely orchestrated by the couple to be wedded (Seriously, you guys planned our stay and your wedding? Thanks again!), we were housed in a 5 bedroom, 3 bath rental house with 10 other wedding guests of the young adult persuasion. I definitely recommend this rental if you ever find yourself in Kanab with a large party. Not only was our housing taken care of, but so was our entertainment. Our 10 other housemates would have been entertainment enough. (Thank you Richard. I know you don’t do social media, but as penance for asking whether I was in fact furiously journaling about my housemates each evening, you made the blog. Congrats.) The bride and groom had planned daily outings for us and all our housemates. Our first full day excursion was to Bryce Canyon National Park.

Our group, minus one family (for those of you counting)

The 12 of us piled into three cars. With the bride and groom in ours, we led the caravan during the hour-and-a-half to two-hour drive to the gates of Bryce Canyon. With only one day to spend at the park, we had to take it all in, thus we followed the advice of our passengers. We drove all the way to the end of the road where we could hike, picnic, and then use the drive back to stop at picturesque look-out pullovers and take photographs to our hearts’ content (or until our camera memory card filled, whichever happened first).  The drive through the park was tree lined, giving no indication of the red canyon we would be overlooking at the end of the road. The road climbed and wound steadily upwards. Our ears felt funny when we eventually all tumbled out of the cars in the parking lot at 9,115 feet elevation. While most of the party made a beeline for the outhouses, I ambled over to the log fence that stood between me and the canyon edge. I was looking down at a canyon of red rock made of oxidized iron which miraculously, it seemed to me, supported green pine trees as far as they eye could see.

While at a National Park one must take a hike. So we did. A short one. But I can now tell you, I hiked in Bryce Canyon. I mentioned in my last post that I had one hurt foot. I am not proud to say it was due to wearing improper shoes from walking in Vegas. My mother taught me from a young age to always wear comfortable and appropriate footwear. Maybe next time I’ll listen… (Sorry Mom! You were right! Again.) My dad has a hiking philosophy, “All blisters [or pain in general] will be taped and listened to when we get home.” So I pulled on my hiking boots, hoping they’d be enough support to dull the pain, and followed the group. Luckily, most of our group was out of shape (although they blamed it on the thinner air at the high elevation), so despite a slight limp, I was able to keep up. The trail descended in elevation quite rapidly. We were all surprised how far we’d come in only a short time when we reached a break in the trees. We had a lovely vista of the canyon, pine trees, and the top where we’d come from. The rock appeared orange in contrast to the brilliant blue sky and green trees. I wish I could tell you that I shared the rest of the party’s utter admiration of the scenery. While I was definitely not unhappy to be sitting outside in a t-shirt in a warm climate, under a sky from which no rain was falling, I couldn’t help thinking that I wouldn’t trade this climate for the lush green beauty of Southeast Alaska. But it certainly was nice to experience dry weather for a change.

Back at the parking lot we picnicked on sandwiches and then piled into the cars for the slow drive back down the park road. Bryce Canyon is famous for its tall rock columns called “Hoodoos”. If you haven’t seen them before, imagine snowman size balls of orange rock stacked atop each other much taller than any snowman you will ever make. Most of the photograph pull-overs provided us spectacular views of these famous Hoodoos.

So these don’t look like the Hoodoo’s I described, but you get the idea.

One of the pull-outs, rather than more Hoodoos, provided a view of a giant rock arch. The sign informed us that this was called a “natural bridge”, but it was however, actually an arch. Apparently a bridge is carved by a rushing stream while an arch is eroded by slower moisture seeping into cracks. This will be one of those random facts you’ll pull out one day and people will wonder why you know this. Just wait. You’ll see.

We made one final stop that evening at the outskirt of Kanab during our return drive. This was to visit the cemetery of the Best Friends Animal Society. This is the United States’ largest no-kill pet sanctuary and the cemetery provides a beautiful setting for laying to rest much loved pets. All manner of pets are buried here. Cats, dogs, horses… The cemetery sits solitary, backed up against a canyon wall. It’s a quiet and peaceful place where wind chimes add a beautiful sound to the wind that blows gently through the canyon. Small gazebos provide relief from the sun as well as a lovely space for reflection. We all followed individual trails along the stone walkways, reading the pet names marked on each resting spot. Some of the more memorable included Mr. Mister Mister, Blackee, Pimpernell, and Spock, to name a few. Many of the name plates had trinkets on or around them- collars, statues, and pet tags. I felt at the same time sad, and uplifted because the love of these humans for their pets was so evident. Human nature is capable of caring deeply.

That evening after returning from our excursion, we again joined the rest of the wedding party for dinner on the patio. As the sun set and the temperature dropped, I put on more layers, sat nearer the fire ring, and watched as the sky glowed brilliantly pink before fading to darkness. It had been a wonderful day.

Thanks for reading all the way to bottom! I hope you’re enjoying my travel logs! Between this and the last post I’ve been reading up on writing travel blogs, and read that posts should be less journal like. Let me know in the comments below if you’re enjoying this style or have any constructive criticism!

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