Our next planned stop on our National Park Odyssey was Bryce Canyon NP. The map says it’s only a short drive (72 miles) through Zion NP and up the road to Bryce Canyon, but the map assumed we would go through Zion’s tunnels (mentioned in my previous post) to get there. However, use of the tunnels is restricted as to size of vehicles. We pass the test for width and height (less than 13’1”), but “combined vehicles over 50’” are prohibited. So, we couldn’t take the rig through the park on the shorter route.
We pulled in the slides and hooked up the fifth wheel. In going through our pre-trip checklist, we found that we had no brake lights on Tracker. Hmmmmm. Upon examination, John determined that the electrical connection on the front of Tracker had failed. Fortunately, our next-door-neighbor in the RV park, a very nice guy named Ernie, was an RV mechanic. Between him and John, in an hour we were repaired and ready to go.
Mr. Rogers, the voice of our CoPilot Truck software, analyzed our options and sent us the long way around…up I-15, then east on Hwy 20, and in on Hwy 12, a total of 128 miles. It was Sunday, the traffic was light, and the trip was uneventful.
Up ahead were the lovely red rocks of Red Canyon and in the distance, the cliffs of Grand Staircase Escalante NP. We knew we were close. We pulled into Ruby’s RV Park in Bryce Canyon City, Utah, by mid-afternoon and were soon set up and ready for adventure. The RV sites are only a mile from the National Park entrance, so we didn’t have far to go.
That evening, the still-almost-full moon rose over the campground and gave us a good reason to bundle up and sit outside for a few minutes.
The RV park adjoins the Dixie National Forest on two sides, so all we had to do was exit the park and we had miles and miles of roads and trails to get our exercise.
Monday morning, after a nice walk through the forest, we packed a picnic lunch and began our tour of the Bryce Canyon Main Ampitheater region. The national parks we have seen have all been beautiful, each in its own way. Though I haven’t seen them all, I must say that so far Bryce Canyon has been my favorite, followed closely by Yellowstone, and by Arches and Canyonlands, which we visited several years ago. Bryce Canyon is small compared to some of the others, only 35,835 acres. It is named for a Scottish emigrant, Ebenezer Bryce, who was one of the area’s first settlers. When asked about the canyon, he reportedly said, “It’s a hell of a place to lose a cow.” You can tell that John agrees with him.
Of course, I was busy trying to capture it all on camera.
The canyon was set aside as a national monument in 1923, and established as a national park in 1928. It is famous for its hoodoos, spires, fins, mazes and spires.
The various formations include the Queen’s Garden, Silent City, Wall Street, Fairyland Canyon, Sinking Ship and others. Viewpoints around the Main Ampitheater include Sunrise and Sunset Points, Inspiration Point and Bryce Point. Since many of the formations can be seen from several viewpoints, I won’t attempt to distinguish among them (except to tell you that the first image below is Sinking Ship). Just enjoy them as we did.
A couple of notes. We enjoyed another of our “table with a view” picnics from this bench on Monday.
A short time before, John had noticed a couple of other visitors who had been sitting on a bench for some time looking into the canyon. John made a remark about the majesty of the area and one of the men agreed with him, saying, “We don’t have anything like this in Holland; it’s all very flat!” As we continued our walk along the rim trail, they were still sitting there, mesmerized.