November 23 – 25, 2014: We arrived at Bryce Canyon National Park after the entrance station had closed and quickly found a campsite. It was super freezing (18 degrees Fahrenheit) but we made the most of it with a campfire and a cold weather feast of mac ‘n cheese with hot dogs and s’mores before staring, mesmerized, at the night sky. We were able to make out the Milky Way very easily and Michael even saw the Andromeda Galaxy after I went to bed.
Although we didn’t sleep with it on, we did turn on Camper Dan’s furnace for a short time for some warmth. I also slept with my sleeping bag (in addition to blankets) for the first time.
The next day we left our campsite and drove to Sunset Point. This was our first view of the hoodoos – absolutely gorgeous rock formations that look like wet sand was dripped to form a pillar. The hoodoos were ombré in color, ranging from a brick orange color to white, depending upon the hardness of the rock. They are formed over time from rain, snow, ice, and erosion. They are absolutely magical and, in my opinion, ranks right up there with Death Valley National Park in terms of uniqueness and beauty.
These magical formations were drawing us in and, despite the freezing temperatures, we decided to bundle up and do a hike. We departed from Sunrise Point on the Queens Garden Trail (.9 mile) which took us down ~300 feet into the canyon amongst the hoodoos. The views were spectacular everywhere you looked! We then connected with the Navajo loop trail which took us up ~600 feet over 1.4 miles (the last part of the trail is a series of switchbacks) to Sunset Point. Since we started at Sunrise Point and ended at Sunset Point, we then took the .5 mile rim walk back to Sunrise Point.
We then drove on to visit both Inspiration Point and Bryce Point – each were short walks to a spectacular viewpoint. At this point we were fascinated and loving the hoodoos so we decided to continue to visit all the stops through to Rainbow Vista at 9100 feet in elevation. Each viewpoint offered one beautiful vista after another.
Our love affair with Bryce National Park made us decide to stay another night in the park. So, we headed out of the park to find a store for some more firewood. On the way out, we were pulled over by a Park Ranger! One of our headlights had gone out and we hadn’t yet noticed. Thankfully, he didn’t give us a ticket and we went directly to and from the store for our supplies.
We spent the rest of the night eating another cold weather feast – this time grilled cheese and soup – and admiring the night skies. Michael even headed over to the canyon rim to get some additional views and photographs. As you see, absolutely amazing!