TL; DR | Bryce Canyon surpassed all expectations and ranks among our favorite destinations to date. Utah has proven itself as a bastion of natural beauty (and as a dearth of high-ABV beverages, which is less important), but Lake Powell failed to impress.
We did not know what to expect from Bryce Canyon; it didn’t seem possible that yet another national park in Utah could deliver the way Zion or Arches had. On our way to the canyon we stopped for one night at Lake Powell, sleeping on the beach for free amongst a hoard of others in RVs and camper vans. It would have been a relaxing, community experience, except for the group of young teenage males who showed late at night and proceeded to talk extremely loudly about how drunk they were. Emily was finally so fed up she yelled at them to be quiet, which they surprisingly did, responding to the shout of “can you please keep it down?,” with a polite “sure thing, maam.” That noise, combined with how oppressively hot it became as soon as the sun came up meant we did not get a whole lot of sleep. We could have easily had a fun time at Lake Powell, but we left pretty quickly after getting up the next morning. It is interesting to see such a large lake in the middle of the desert, but without spending more time there it is hard to say exactly what its charm is.
In other news, Stephen got locked in a beach-side outhouse whose rusted lock refused to open for ~ 5 minutes. That was temporarily traumatizing and something we thought you should know.
From Lake Powell we headed to Bryce Canyon, arriving near sunset and proceeding directly to the aptly named Sunset Point. From Sunset Point we hiked along the rim of the Canyon to Observation Point and captured a number of panoramas. It was spectacular; Bryce Canyon is home to thousands of structures called Hoodoos, which look like enormous drip castle spires of rock. It reminded us of the Badlands, but with much bolder colours; reds and oranges, streaked with white and brown. The pictures really don't do it justice; it was the most unique landscape we've seen and should definitely be the host of a chase scene in an upcoming Bond movie.
Over the course of our two days there we saw a sunrise and another sunset, and hiked the Figure Eight Trail, a combination of the Navajo and Peek-A-Book Loops. This hike took us down into the canyon, winding through the hoodoos and eventually ending with a trip through Wall Street. This section consists of a steep, narrow path through towering rock spires, reminding hikers of the imposing landscape of Manhattan.
We also spent an evening with Wifi so Stephen could pick his Arcadia fantasy football team (go Danger Zone!) and we could update the blog a little. While Bryce offers little in the way of gourmet restaurants, everyone there is pretty friendly and doesn’t mind if you use their internet for an obnoxiously long time. Overall, considering how we knew nothing about this destination, we were pleased to find yet another jewel in the state of Utah.