Queen’s Garden

Queen Bryce Canyon National Park 027This is the Queen that gives the Queen’s Garden trail it’s name. I’ve already written about how this is supposedly the “Best 3-Mile Hike in the World.” It was a great hike.

Here are a couple more photos:

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Partially around the Loop, we walked right through this little field of man-made hoodoos. They were all around and on both sides of the trail.

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Before Noon

Bryce Canyon is a different place before noon. There are very few people here and the trails are empty. By mid-day the place is pretty crowded and the more popular trails are packed (but not as bad as Arches! I guess the canyon climb discourages some people.)

On Sunday, we took the “best 3 mile hike in the world” (according to the Park) – Queen’s Garden. It was pretty awesome. You hike right down into the hoodoos. We got a little wet on the way back to camp and it was cold/windy but it was still a great hike.

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We opted to return by Navajo Loop. Alan’s hat blew down and he had to go get it – at least it was only one switch-back and some nice hikers brought it part of the way!

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I have more pictures to post from the big camera. These I took from my iPhone. I may have gotten a little carried away with the post-processing. It was hard to tell because I’m sitting on the rim in bright sunlight as I write this (enjoying the solitude of Bryce Canyon in the early morning.)

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Miles hiked: 4
Total miles hiked: 149.5

Fairyland Loop

Tower Bridge Bryce Canyon 010We enjoyed our Moonlight Hike although we realized later that we could have just hiked down the trail on our own. Many of the people in the group of 30 had gotten up very early to wait in line for tickets. I’m glad all I had to do was make a second trip back to the Visitor Center with our hiking boots. This is the second time we have gotten bitten by unpublished rules. I’m going to have to write a whole post on how this is the Park with the Secret Rules.

Fairland Loop was a great hike! We took the short spur trail to Tower Bridge. It would have been a nice place to stop for lunch but it was still early and we had hoodoos to see!

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Miles Hiked: 2 (Moonlight Hike) + 8.5 (Fairyland)
Total Miles Hiked: 145.5

The Road to Rainbow Point

This part of the Bryce Canyon National Park looks somewhat different – just a few hoodoos with a high-elevation pine forest. We drove to Rainbow Point, took the quick hike around Bristlecone Loop, and then stopped at the overlooks on the way back to camp.

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They call this Natural Bridge but it isn’t actually a Bridge! As we learned at Natural Bridges National Monument, a Bridge has to have been formed by water erosion. This should really be called an Arch.

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This was my favorite vista along the scenic drive. Most people didn’t stop here because it wasn’t well marked but I thought it was beautiful.

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Water Canyon

Arches Bryce Canyon 101We took it easy on Friday since we were going on a Moonlight Hike that night so only two short hikes and a drive along all the scenic overlooks. I’m posting the pictures from our second hike – Mossy Cave. It was easier to pick out the “good” ones.

This stream is the result of a manmade channel that diverts water from the Sevier River to supply the town of Tropic. The 10-mile canal was dug in 1890!

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The falls were the big attraction:

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Miles Hiked: 2
Total Miles Hiked: 135

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park has turned out to be better than expected. We thought it might be just another canyon but the geology is really interesting with all the Hoodoo’s and the campground is terrific. We will be staying here for a week before we head to Zion.

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We are camping for the first time without any hook-ups. We have camped without sewer a lot and without water occasionally. This is the first time we are camping without electricity. We do have a generator but you can only run it during the day. It really isn’t a problem camping here without electricity (read this as camping without air conditioning at night) since you don’t really need the air conditioner – the weather is very comfortable.

We took a quick “hike” out along the Rim Trail today with all the tourists. This is a very popular park and they provide buses to take you to the scenic overlooks. For us, that means that we can hike out and take the bus back to the campground.

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The scenery is so amazing here that it is hard to decide which pictures to post – I don’t even think these capture the stunning vistas. I would really love to have a wide angle lens on the camera.

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National Parks Visited: 10
Miles Hiked: 3
Total Miles Hiked: 133

Chimney Rock

Don’t I already have a post by this name?  It seems like there has been a Chimney Rock at every park we have visited on this trip!

Today (Tuesday) is our last day in Capitol Reef National Park.  I won’t go on about how it would have been nice to take the Scenic Drive to Capitol Gorge and see the Waterpocket Fold and maybe some Desert Bighorn Sheep because that didn’t happen!  In case you didn’t read my last two posts – the road is closed for paving but we didn’t know this until we went to make the drive.  Instead, we talked about driving to Richfield for supplies but opted for a short hike to Chimney Rock and then a day relaxing around camp.

I should try to find all of the Chimney Rocks and do a retrospective of them!

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There was a nice view at the high point of the hike:

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Yes, that is a view of Alan’s very sexy legs!

Miles Hiked:  3.5
Total Miles Hiked:  130

Cassidy Arch

Marker Capitol Reef 009We headed out on Monday morning all packed up for a big hike in Capitol Gorge.  Well, that didn’t work out.  As I mentioned yesterday, the road to Capitol Gorge was being repaved and was therefor completely closed.  I asked later at the Visitor Center when it would be open and I was told “when they are finished.”  Really?

We didn’t have a lot of other options, so we took the Grand Wash Road and opted to hike to Cassidy Arch and the Narrows.  We stopped to check out this old uranium mine with it’s Abandoned Mine Marker:

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We were thinking that we were a bit “arched-out” but we were pleasantly surprised.  At Cassidy Arch you get to hike to the top of the arch and look down through it – pretty cool!

I’m giving my best smile here considering I was feeling a bit grumpy as we hiked to another arch (instead of Capitol Gorge – where sheep had been sighted!)

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I went out on the arch first:

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Alan thought it would be funny to jump on the arch – I didn’t like this but it was the only picture I could get!

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I don’t usually mind heights but I was feeling a little squirrely this day.  I did manage to spin around to take a full 360 degree panorama.  You can see it here on Photosynth:  http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=d5f3dea4-cd6f-4454-a8e5-fb39a90e4736

We were hot and tired after the 1,000 feet climb to Cassidy Arch but we decided to walk out the canyon to see The Narrows.  It was nice in the shade, at least and The Narrows were interesting.

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By the time you read this, we will be in Bryce Canyon National Park.  We are leaving Capitol Reef on Wednesday morning.  I will probably be able to post something since they allegedly have Wi-Fi in the camp store but it will probably just be more canyons and rocks!

Miles Hiked:  6
Total Miles Hiked:  126.5

Capitol Reef

Fruit Tree Capitol Reef 037We’ve had three days in Capital Reef National Park but our timing is a little bad – the scenic drive to Capitol Gorge is closed for paving!  There wasn’t a lot of warning so we missed our small window of opportunity over the weekend to take the drive and hike Capitol Gorge to Golden Throne and the Tanks.  I am a little disappointed.  I have a mind to write a letter about this!

Our first day, we drove around the Park, checked out the Visitor Center and historic Fruita, had pie at the Gifford Farm House, and fed the horses pears from one of the orchard trees.  They were very attentive whenever anybody noticed that there was fruit to be picked!

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We also stopped at The Goosenecks Overlook:

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Fruita was a small community of mostly Mormon settlers in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  They planted the fruit trees that are still here today.  There is also an extensive irrigation system that to some extent was originally constructed by the Fremont Indians.  The old schoolhouse is still in the Park:

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I caught Alan in the reflection – it is a little eerie looking!

There are few artifacts from the Fremont Indians in the Park, except for the petroglyphs.  We enjoyed a very entertaining and informative program by Ranger Tiffany.  The carving of the tallest figure (on the left) is actually four feet tall, even though you can’t tell it from the picture:

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The only sheep we got to see were on the wall:

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My favorite petroglyph is this guy waving at his neighbor (at least he isn’t scarred by bullet holes):

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Before heading back to camp on the North side of Torrey, we took a quick hike out to Hickman Bridge.

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There are a lot of beautiful rock formations.  A lot of them are in the shape of domes which is what gave Capitol Reef it’s name.

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Enough rocks for today …  On to the tally.  We have exceeded our initial hiking goal of 120 miles!  So, that means we need a new goal but we haven’t agreed on one yet.  Stay tuned.

Miles Hiked: 2
Total Miles Hiked:  120.5
National Parks/Monuments Visited:  9

Demolition Derby

I picked up a local paper when we stopped at the Post Office in Torrey.  They had a “big” insert on the upcoming County Fair in nearby Richfield, UT.  Alan spotted an ad for the Demolition Derby that was that night.  Despite the fact that we couldn’t find the exact location of the County Fair (it seems they just assume that you know where the fairgrounds are if you live here) and that it was an hour+ drive, we headed out. 

Coca Cola Demolition Derby 005It was a lot of fun!  I had never been to a demolition derby.  There is a lot of smoke and you don’t always hear the crunching sounds because the engines are so loud. 

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I also got a kick out of watching them clear the cars out of the arena.  It took no less than four backhoes and a lot of guys in purple shirts.

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Alan thought this car looked like his old green Dodge:

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We stuck around until it was almost over – long after the lights had come on. 

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It was good, clean fun in the heart of America.  There was even a Pageant Queen with her court wearing tiaras over their cowboy hats with real sashes. 

Everyone took their hat off during the National Anthem and respectfully stayed silent or sang along!  I loved it!  I’m not embarrassed to admit that I choked up a little – made me proud to be an American!