You must be running a little late, but Sammy and I are fer waiting for you!
We were here on September 25th, 2016
The most amazing things happen in just a hundred miles, and now we see a completely different landscape and the wonders of Nature have again outdone herself in this setting high in the mountains of the Plateau. The elevation of the Bryce Park is the highest of the Western Parks. The entrance is at 7800', and Rainbow Point is at is at 9,200' elevation.
Ah! This brings a completely different set of dimensions to the Sculpture that the marvelous rain and wind play with. To start with the tops of the spires are capped in hard limestone, and the other layers make the supporting structure, and as these lower levels erode it produced the famous HooDoo's, the trademark of Bryce Canyon.
Rainbow Point - Elevation 9,100 ft
This is the highest point in Bryce Canyon NP; and I'm suing this photograph; not that it is the scene depicting the Beauty of Bryce you are use to seeing, but I want you to see the ridge forming the Wall at Bryce. This is most significant; as to your right is the Colorado Plateau. and to the left of this ridge is the start of the Great Basin.
The Great Basin is some 200,000 square miles and a third larger than the Colorado Plateau. Extending from South Eastern Oregon, most of Nevada, part of California, half of Utah, and a little of Arizona. The Basin was given its name by John Fremont, as it is the only watershed in the United State that does not flow to the Ocean. All of its water is held within the aquifer of the Basin. It's Eastern boundary is the thin ridge we just traversed in driving to Rainbow Point. Geologist suggest that within 15,000 years at the current rate of erosion in Bryce Canyon, that this landmark will be extinct. So don't procrastinate; get you fanny over here and see this marvel of Nature, before it's gone.
When you see this word (download) underlined and in blue that indicates it is a hyper link to the full scale picture. When you open it you'll also see that your mouse pointer is a round plus sign, click again and the part of the photo where your pointer was will enlarge again. This is great if you might want to see more detail in a particular view.
If you'll look closely, you note the hikers walking in the bottom of these spiral edifices. They are very clear in the download.
There are several trails leading from what you see to the right, and there were a good number of hikers making these walks. They were vary in length from a mile to several miles. My friend Lawrence German worked on these trails as a park summer employee while in High school and College. He being a young snapper and fleet of foot had no problems scampering up and down building these trails.
I walked down a quarter of a mile and a drop of maybe 300' for this photograph. I came to appreciate those who made the loop of some 8 miles. When I started back, there were these two grandparent types chugging up the grade. I stood back and admired their steadfastness. She was pretty perky, and he was an old guy rather hunched over but chugging right along. On top I complemented them on their walk, only to learn they had done the 8 mile loop. "Judge Not Lease You Be Judged" They won my At-A-Girl- Boy Award for their accomplishment.
This is Jay, our Tour Director, and the US Park Service Bus. These buses shuttle around the park's main points, and then also are on Tour as was the one we took. It was from Bryce City to Rainbow point and lasted about 3 hours. What a tremendous service the Park Service offers free to we touring people. The great part was the knowledge of the Park and of the Geology that makes Bryce different in the mysteries of the Colorado Plateau. He was fantastic in his presentation, and we left with the warmest feeling to Jay and to the National Park Service.
Bryce Canyon City
The Grand Staircase - Escalate National Monument
The area around Bryce Canyon in its self is adventure in it's purest form. We drove northeast of Bryce on US 12 to and through the Escalate National Monument, the full magnificent Grand Stair Case. This is another lesson in the Geography of our Colorado Plateau.
Just to give you an idea of this causal Sunday drive, I'll enclose this road sign. When we were leaving Torrey, UT for Bryce Canyon, it had snowed over the 9,200' pass. We elected to take UT 22. a 'farm to market road through Animony rather than the mountain pass. Miss Winnie was very pleased with our decision.
You'll notice the highway and the grade cadencing into the valley.
I'm repeating the posting of this picture taken at Bryce Canyon Visitor Center; as again it lets us understand the geology of the Colorado Plateau, and its massive uplift. It is so well displayed through out the Great Staircase with it tremendous exposer of change, not only elevation but look at the different rock formations on display.
We drove up Hwy 12 to Bluff, UT and found a cute little restaurant, and we also saw these Turkeys? No Dottie said they must be large Ravens. Regardless I took their picture; and only having a 200mm lens with us, I still couldn't identity them.
The fun of photography is that ofter one does not know the capture until processing. And this is one of those monuments, as my Turkeys, and Dottie's Ravens turned out to be Turkey Bustards. These are big guys.
I mentioned airily that when we drove from Capitol Reef to Bryce, we avoided the mountain route and instead choose the valley via UT 12 through Animony. It was farming and ranching country and a nice leisurely drive, until we passed Animony. AND, Wow! We discovered the Black Canyon.
The pristine Animony River flowing down the Valley into the Great Basin.
The road was narrow and winding through the valley and over the hills, so there wasn't an opportunity to stop and take pictures. We just drove and enjoyed the spectacular views. I believer our appreciation of the tremendous Malpais Lava flow was from us being enriched at El Malpais National Monument, as we started this trip. (hyper link)
We stayed at Bryce 6 days and this allowed us a day to come back to Animony and explore Black Canyon in the Chey. One can generally find a pull off with the little fellow, where as with the Winnie it is impossible.
We found the beautiful old ore milling structure. and even being past its day it still stands as a sentential to the historical past of the Black Canyon Valley.
Later, while we were having lunch in Animony, we were told this was not a mining mill, but an old water wheel Grist Mill for processing the crops raised in the Valley. Speaking of the Valley it is beautiful nestled in the wall of Malpais bluffs. It is probably some 8 miles long, but this photo give it a little credit.
We'll conclude our visit to Black Canyon with these three pictures. The first two of a Ranchers home tucked into the walls of the canyon overlooking the Animony creek.
His morning view would wake one before dawn
And this one just because I love the road bed of flowers in bloom.
Folks, it's time to be moving on, besides it is getting cold here at 7700'. Come go with us as we journey down the mountain to Zion National Park. We promise you something completely different and many spectacular scenes.