I love my birthday. Absolutely love it. So it makes me sad when some birthdays come and go and nothing fun or extraordinary happened to commemorate the occasion. Last year's birthday was one such year because, if you'll recall, I was a volunteer at the Sundance Film Festival which made it difficult to go out and do something over the weekend and so it was a small and modest celebration. Well, this year I wanted to do something bold and spontaneous.
So the Wednesday before my birthday (which was on Friday the 17th), we decided to go down to Bryce Canyon, a place I'd never been but had always wanted to see. Groupon had a good hotel deal that we took advantage of and we decided to leave after work on Friday and spend Saturday morning/afternoon seeing the canyon. It was quite the whirlwind trip but it was so much fun and amazingly relaxed considering the time crunch we were on.
I also had (still have) an injured foot, a condition called "turf toe" which is a weird way of saying I sprained my big toe. So we couldn't do much hiking, but what we were able to do was so much fun and absolutely beautiful.
After this trip, I have come to realize I have a thing for dead trees/roots. There were so many along the trail we hiked and I couldn't stop taking pictures of them.
As you can sort of see, the weather was perfect: sunny, 45 degrees, breezy but not too much. Just enough that when we hiked back out of the canyon and were sweaty, the wind cooled our foreheads and necks.
Snow on red rock is a stunning sight.
|Like I said, I love dead trees/roots. So many cool twists and formations.|
The first half of the trail was really muddy. This was the half that was exposed to the sun and so when the snow melted it mixed with the red clay/dirt and made a very sticky mud. See Ryan's shoe? Yep. Very muddy.
|I told him to look out with awe and wonder. Did he nail it?|
The rock formations are known as "hoodoos" for some reason. There was a plaque along the trail that I think explained it, but I can't remember it. But they're all over the place and look so cool. Here I am standing next to one!
After the muddy trail came the canyon-protected snowy trail. This side hardly sees any sunlight and so the snow was feet deep in some areas. Thankfully the trail's snow was packed enough that we never fell through and it wasn't too hard to hike.
What was truly amazing was that we were virtually the only people in this part of the canyon. So all was still and quiet and we had this part of Bryce Canyon all to ourselves. So we took our time and admired everything we could. I asked Ryan how rare it is to be alone in a national park like this and he said it was very rare. This place is usually crawling with tourists from ALL over the world. We definitely picked the right weekend to come down :)
|Finishing off my roll of film!|
|The colors on this particular dead tree contrasted so beautifully with the blue sky. I just had to snap a pic.|
|Had to get a selfie. My earrings were a Christmas present from Ryan :)|
All of these rock formations are massive. Just look at how small Ryan looks compared to that rock wall!
We think this is the "fairyland tower bridge" thing the trail sign was talking about. It's a long rock wall that looks really cool.
And here's the "tower" part of the "tower bridge" maybe? Nonetheless, it was really cool. At this point, we stopped and turned around since the trail was now winding into the canyon and into less cool, rocky areas and into more muddy "sand" dunes. Plus at this point we had been hiking for about 45-50 minutes and my foot probably couldn't have handled doing the whole loop (which I think was 5 or so miles).
At this point in the trip, we were done hiking but wanted to see more of the park. So we drove to all the different view points and admired the beauty of Bryce Canyon.
|Natural Bridge, I think that's what it's called. Love me some arches!|
|Ryan said "I want to go to there" meaning that he wants to be standing on top of this very high up hoodoo. Crazy man.|
At around 2pm, we were ready to go. We had seen most of the park and been to all the view points and there wasn't much else for us to do. Once my foot is fully healed, I would LOVE to return and do some more hikes! The sad thing is that if we come in the summer, we'll have hoards of people to deal with. I loved the still calmness that I experienced in Bryce. It was at times a very spiritual experience for me.
Even as I type this only a mere week after this trip, I am aching to go back. It was a perfect, peaceful, beautiful weekend and I couldn't have asked for anything more for my birthday!