Return to Bryce Canyon

We pulled into our campsite after Zion and as I got out of the car I heard a loud hissing sound: we’d finally gotten our first flat. The next morning we slowly rolled to the nearest gas station and re-planned our day with flat tire hiccup in mind.

We explored the two sections of the park that are outside the main area, Mossy Cave and Fairyland Point. We can wanted to hike a section of the Fairyland Loop, but the time spent with the flat tire meant we had to prioritize again.

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The Mossy Cave trail is just outside the park. Mormons in the 1800s built this waterfall to redirect the stream into their town.

We had wanted to hike a long section of the Fairyland Loop, the northernmost section of Bryce Canyon hoodoos, but due to busted tire we limited ourselves to wandering around Fairyland Point and admiring some of the less-famous hoodoos.

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We spent some of the afternoon in nearby Dixie National Forest at Red Canyon, getting even closer to hoodoos than we did in Bryce but resting our legs after our Zion expedition.

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Saturday we took the Scenic Drive to Rainbow Point, the highest point in Bryce Canyon at over 9000 feet, and the snow-covered stretches we’d seen in the distance from the Hat Shop. I was as enamored with this section as I expected: bristlecone pines, cold temperatures, snow, and we could see forever from canyon edges.

20170506_101036We tested out our tolerance for the extra 2000 feet in altitude on the mile-long Bristlecone Pine Loop, huffing and puffing more than usual up moderate inclines but loving the chill in the air.

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The cliff edges were reminiscent of the bare, windswept areas of desert we’d recently visited.

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The southern view of the Bryce Canyon amphitheater

From there, we hiked sections of the Riggs Spring Loop and the Agua Canyon connecting trail, which connects the Scenic Drive to the Under-the-Rim trail.

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Through the long lens and a little haze, we espied the Hat Shop about 16 miles away.
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Didn’t see any bears.
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A forest fire ripped through this area seven years ago, clearing dead underbrush and making way for new foliage.

We spotted our first horned lizard!

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From Farview Point, you can see several of the differently-colored cliffs that make up the Grand Staircase, and on the clearest of days – not when we were there – the evergreens of the Kaibab Forest on the Grand Canyon’s north rim are visible.

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We finished our day at Bryce Point, trying to capture our last sunset in Bryce Canyon, but the whipping wind drove us back to the campsite before the sky lit up with spectacular purples and oranges.

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