Bryce Canyon

The highest concentration of hoodoos in the world can be found in Bryce National Park in southwestern Utah.

Part One: The Rim Drive

This posting should be titled “Paunsaugunt Plateau”, because this is where the Canyon is carved in.
But the plateau is not as colorful and surprisingly ripped in pieces as the eroded canyonscape.
When you drive up there (almost 2.500 m elevation) the air is quite thin and cold, some would call it refreshing, others freeze their butts off.
Every ‘bay’ is filled with an insane amount of little statue like formations, called hoodoos.
Iron-rich, limy sediments were deposited in the beds of a series of lakes and streams.
These became the red rocks of the Claron Formation from which the hoodoos are carved and for which the Pink Cliffs are named.
The tele lens makes long distance views possible. Tracks from wildlife and humans are visible throughout the park.
Lake Claron existed around 50 Million Years ago, and was the source for the colorful rocks of Bryce Canyon.
Some shady spots even gathered snow in places the other night.
Natural Bridge viewpoint on the park’s scenic drive, all you got to do is jump out of the car and take a picture!
Most vista points are fenced off so nobody gets hurt staring into the orange and pink distance.
When water (from either rain or snow that has melted) seeps its way into the cracks in the rock, it resides there. Hours later, when Bryce Canyon is met with freezing temperatures, the water trapped inside the rock begins to freeze into ice. When water freezes into ice, it expands by 9%! This expansion into ice causes tremendous pressure on the surrounding rock, and thus causes it to break apart.
This process is known as “ice wedging”, because the ice is literally wedging apart the rocks. From a plateau, eventually the rocks break down into walls, windows, and then as individual hoodoos.
There even are some odd balancing rock hoodoos, it depends how much calcium carbonate is cemented in which controls how easily dissolvable (or how resistant) a rock layer is.
Bryce Canyon’s rocks (deposited, cemented, upliftetd and eroded) are limestones, dolostones, mudstones, siltstones and sandstones.
The nearing winter will bring another round of Frostsprengung.
It’s easy to get lost in thoughts just by letting your gaze drift over the extensive National Park.
Clear, earthy with a whiff of rusty nails, that what lies in the air.
Looking down into dozens of hoodoo-walls.
This tree looks a bit lost.
Colors of Bryce!
Having seen all the points on the rim drive, we’ll see how the trail down into the Canyon goes.

Part Two: Queen’s Garden Trail

The Queen’s Garden Loop Trail is the ideal short distance hike to experience Bryce Canyon’s spectacular hoodoos.
Starting from Sunrise Point it’s said to be the easiest of the Bryce trails.
From the start the views down into the gorges are … gorgeous (H)
Not steep, a real family trail, even our little baby hiker seems to like it.
The path is really more of a highway, probably the most walked in the area.
Down at the bottom you’re supposed to find a hoodoo that looks like Queen Victoria. Not sure which it was because they all are very suspiciously eyeing us.
The hoodoos look even weirder and more dangerous close up.
And there’s one gallery after the other, filled with stone people!
The odd tree.
The trail, meandering through the pillar forest.
The ground makes an artistic impression, but getting closer it’s just colored soil like any other, brimming with life.
A tiny chipmunk, never seen so many as here in the various National Parks.
Getting closer to the bottom.
Then the path divides and one leads back up to Sunset Point.
Like the walls of a cathedral.
We chose to back up where we came from with the boy, while our girl takes things in her own hands and walks the connecting Navajo Loop.
Not the easiest terrain for trees in this ever changing landscape.
Almost back at the rim drive.
This walk is absolutely recommendable, a beautiful way to end the day at Bryce Canyon. When we were here 20 years ago it was our favorite place and it did live up to the expectations!  :)



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