Monday, September 07, 2020

Bryce Canyon Hiking, Scenery and Visitors

After our week near Capitol Reef National Park, we continued south and west to Bryce Canyon National Park. This is probably our favorite national park and we became very familiar with it in 2005 when we volunteered here for three months. That was 15 years ago and we are still enamored. The scenery is spectacular. 

 We have done three major hikes and walked the rim during our stay. First, we hiked Navajo Loop to Queen's Garden and came up Wall Street. Bryce is not really a canyon, it is an amphitheater. You can look at it from the rim and it is beautiful. But hike down to the bottom--700 to 800 feet--and the experience is very different. Just remember, if you hike down 700 or 800 feet, you have to hike up the same amount. We have gotten lots of exercise!

This is a view looking up from the bottom. 
The bottom of Navajo Loop and the hike up Wall Street is like a moderately wide slot canyon. The light is filtered and everything has a red cast.
There were quite a few people enjoying the same experience we were.
These are views from the Rim down into the amphitheater. The rock formations and fascinating and the rock colors range from red to to pink to white.
After our walk along the rim, our niece, Tina, and her husband Vance came to visit. They have been traveling around beautiful Utah this month, as well. We had a really good visit. 
Bryce Point is the highest place along the rim of the Bryce Amphitheater. Saturday we rode the park shuttle from the Visitor Center to Bryce Point, then hiked down into the bottom and hiked back on the Peek-a-boo Trail to the Navajo Loop and hiked up to the rim on the Two Bridges Trail. We logged 13,438 steps that day. We were really exhausted.

Here you can "peek" from one area of the canyon to another.
Some people choose to see Bryce from the back of a horse. We were glad we met the horses at a wide spot in the trail.
At the end of a long summer, the trails in Bryce are very dusty. Just look at my legs at the end of our hike.
There were lots of people along the rim when we hiked out of the canyon. Unfortunately, I didn't pay attention to the fact our week here extended over the Labor Day Weekend. Whatever was I thinking? Bryce is very popular. There are lots of tents in Ruby's Inn Campground, where we are staying. There were also lots of trailers until this morning. Now it is almost empty. I guess summer is over.

The Year of the Mask

It’s the year of the mask. Or maybe the year of the gaiter. I always thought masks were for Halloween and gaiters were to keep snow out of your cross-country ski boots. Not in 2020. John and I are definitely at-risk for Covid-19 infection because of our age. So wearing a mask or gaiter makes sense for us. But I resent being told I have to wear one. I believe the mask regulations or rules set by governors or other executive branch people are an overreach on the part of the government. We live in a free country. I have the freedom to live my own life, take my own chances. If I need protection from others, I should take precautions. Not make others do something they don’t want to do. Government’s job is to tell us about the risks. I know driving a car or truck is risky. People die all the time in traffic accidents. But that doesn’t mean driving should be illegal. The long-term effects of business shut-downs, schools closed, working remotely, allowing restaurants to only fill to 25% of their capacity—all of these actions will impact us and our country for years to come. I have worked in an office, even worked in a cubicle. These situations brought me into contact with other people. That was an important advantage of working, not staying at home. I would not have liked only working remotely. No matter how well I knew my job, there were always times I leaned around the cubicle partition or walked across the room to ask a question. Restaurants may or may not be able to survive at 25% capacity. But how many businesses can do that? Meat packing plants? Automobile manufacturers? Shoe manufactures? Beer bottling plants? What does remote or online education do to children? I believe being socialized and learning how to behave around others—even those you don’t know or don’t like—is an important aspect of going to school. And learning takes place in the give and take of being with others. At my age, I have lived through polio, and 2 or 3 flu epidemics. The world wasn’t shut down. Is the death rate from Covid-19 so high we should limit or shut down everything? The seasonal flu comes back year after year. Won’t Covid do the same thing? Flu shots, when available, only protect those who get them. Apparently, many people won’t get a Covid-19 shot when it is available. So, do we keep living this way the rest of our lives? I hate the way things are! I’m sure many of us feel that way. We can’t see our friends and give them a hug. Often, we can’t even greet family with a hug. Yuk! We have been hiking in national parks here in Utah. Sometimes most people are wearing masks or gaiters. As we approach other hikers, we pull up the mask—like we are afraid of them. I guess, in one way, we are. What does it do to our society to view everyone as a threat? We have been traveling in our RV for over 30 years. I have never been so careful in opening the trash dumpster to throw away the garbage. Or even opening a door of a business. It has always been important to wash my hands—but I have never really been afraid of the germs, like I am today. That being said, the Government has no right to make me protect myself.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Hiking the Reef

That title might make you think we are near the ocean.  But I don't think it is possible to hike that sort of reef.  We are in Utah, exploring Capitol Reef National Park.  We have done 3 hikes on the Waterpocket Fold.  That is an uplift revealing "a nearly complete set of Mesozoic-era sedimentary layers," according to the park's Geology information.

Our first hike was a 3 1/2 mile hike to Cohab Canyon.  This is the backdrop for the Visitor Center.

Many of the cliffs are covered with these holes--called water pockets.  These holes are caused by water and wind.

This canyon wasn't quite as narrow as it appears. 

We didn't walk up this narrow side canyon.

Our second hike was to Hickman Bridge.  A bridge looks like an arch but it is carved out by water, rather than wind and sand.

The rocks in Capitol Reef come in many different colors.  The deep red stone is rich in oxidized iron.  Here is a hill of light pink stone.  We saw this as we were driving through the park. 

This was our view of that mountain as we climbed toward Hickman Bridge.

In places we found trees for some welcome shade.
One of  our views from under Hickman Bridge.

The center of the bridge is really narrow, considering the heavy rock it is made of.

Here are two views looking through the bridge.

Finally, a view of the Fremont River that carved the bridge. 

More interesting shapes on the landscape.

Our third hike was through the Grand Wash, a gorge that cuts its way through the upper portion of the Waterpocket Fold. Though the trail is long--3.5 miles one way--it is almost level, with only a 200 foot change in elevation. The trail was the busiest we have seen here in the park.

One hiker who passed us asked if we would like him to take a picture of the two of us together in the Wash.

Looking up at the sky.
I'm not sure how these plants get enough sun to make chlorophil in the bottom of the wash, but they sure add to the beauty of the place. Notice the windows--holes--in this rock formation.
If we didn't know that we could get out the other end of the Grand Wash, we might wonder where we were going or if we would ever find out way out.
John sure looks small against the massive wall.
Here are some more water pockets. If you look closely, you can see some the smaller stones in some of the holes or pockets. They must have been carried by the water rushing through the gorge.

To really get a perspective on the size of everything in the Grand Wash, look closely at this photo.  There are two people walking away from the camera just under the right side of the overhang at the back of the photo.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Come Ride With Us

 Yesterday we drove from Moab to Torrey, Utah.  We had been exploring the area around Arches National Park and now we are in the Capitol Reef National Park area.  More and different rock formations.  Utah is amazing.

As we left Moag, we were surrounded by cliffs of red and pink stone.

Then, suddenly, there was this outcrop of pinkish white rock.

I would name the white formation below Table Mountain.  We passed signs with name for a number of the formations.  But I was busy looking at the scenery and taking photos and didn't keep track of what they are called.

Maybe this is a guard tower.

I thought this looked like a house on top of the mountain with a large overhanging roof to shade the people inside.

This is just a jumble of rocks.  It probably doesn't have a name.  I sure wouldn't want to hike up to the top.

I think this was called Ghost Mountain.  

And suddenly, we were surrounded by a forest of pinon pine and juniper trees.

We saw several signs warning we were in  open range and we frequently crossed cattle guards.  But this was the only cow we saw on the road.

I hope you enjoyed the scenery driving south from Moab to Torrey.  We plan lots of hiking in the next couple of weeks so I will be showing a lot more of the wonderful Utah scenery.