Thursday, April 2, 2009

meeting more of Utah's "rock stars"

Hello from Torrey, a teeny-tiny town (population 171 !!!) in south-central Utah. It feels like we're in the middle of nowhere, it's SO remote. But this is where the next destination happens to be located on our tour of the national parks in Utah.

But before I continue with the details of our journey, I forgot to include something in my last post. Yesterday, I didn't mention that the National Geographic Channel airs a weekly show called DogTown that features dogs (and staff) from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary! It's on Fridays at 10:00 pm (ET/PT) and highlights wonderful stories of new beginnings for precious canines. Hope you can tune in for (or TiVo or DVR) tomorrow night's episode called "Starting Over"!

And now back to my regularly-scheduled blog post ...

We spent all of Tuesday exploring Bryce Canyon National Park. Like Zion, it's almost as if there aren't enough superlatives to describe it! The geology there is so unique, in fact, that there's none like it anywhere else in the world. And the scenery is such a departure from what we had just seen at Zion, the geology in the 2 parks is totally different! Taking center stage at Bryce are the famous hoodoos, which are columns of rock that have been shaped by erosional forces. And when I saw them up-close for the first time, we're talking complete SHOCK and AWE! They are so textured and colorful ... shades of pink and orange and purple and tan ... all perfectly blended by Mother Nature on what look like painted sculptures.

And I'm now "2 for 2" with Ranger geology talks! First, a Ranger was giving a geology talk while we were in Zion, and then I was so fortunate that a Ranger gave a geology talk at Bryce Canyon too! We were in an outdoor "classroom", standing on the rim overlooking the hoodoos, discussing the geologic features and formation of the park. It was thrilling for me!

My favorite hike at Bryce (my favorite so far in Utah, actually!) was the combined 3-mile-long Navajo Trail/Queen's Garden Trail/Rim Trail that forms a loop joining Sunset Point and Sunrise Point. The trail took us down into the base of the "amphitheater", where you're standing among the hoodoos ... it's surreal ... and was such a great experience, seeing them from above and below the canyon rim. And the contrast of colors ... the green of the trees (Bryce is SO forested!) against the pinks/oranges of the rock against the crisp white of the snow ... it was mesmerizing (I'm running out of adjectives)!
Here are more of my favorite memories of our visit to Bryce Canyon:
Along the Navajo Trail, there's a deep & narrow slot-type canyon called "Wall Street" (that speck at the base of it is me, no bailout required! *wink*):
an aerial view of the upper portion of the Navajo Trail (those dark "spots" are hikers heading down to the base of the hoodoos):
Sal hiking the Navajo Trail:
we saw lots more adorable mule deer, right up-close! ... here's a baby:
more scenery from our hike:
(love the colors and texture of the rock!)

We bid farewell to Bryce Canyon on Wednesday and spent the day continuing our drive east on the ridiculously scenic Highway 12. This 120-mile stretch of Scenic Byway winds its way through the huge, 1.9-million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument that contains incredible untouched landscapes, varying from desert filled with red-rock canyons to snow-capped mountains to dense forests of tall Aspens and Evergreens. It's a road trip that Sal and I will never forget! Interesting factoid: the GS-ENM was only recently named a monument, by presidential proclamation (Clinton in 1996). Because this area is so undeveloped and pristine, this new protected status was welcomed by environmentalists. And I heartily agree, it was a victory for nature!
Highway 12 ends in Torrey, which is just outside the 3rd nat'l park on our tour, Capitol Reef National Park. We'll spend Thursday exploring its unique geological wonders. There aren't many hotels in Torrey, but we're happy to be staying at the Best Western Capitol Reef Resort. And with this as the view from our room, what could be better?
And I'm a happy girl because I've got a great WiFi connection at this hotel too. So I'll catch you back here soon! :-)

1 comment:

Momofboys said...

Wow awesome pics...I know it must be overwhelming to see in person!!! Looking forward to your Thursday ventures online =)