Born to Wanda travel blog

Near Goblin Valley State Park, UT

Capitol Reef NP is Always a Beautiful Stop

Early Morning Hike Across From Cap Reef CG

UT Scenic Hwy 12 Has Lots of Surprises

Hwy 12 Views

Hwy 12 Views

Cloudy Afternoon in Bryce Canyon NP

Hiked Over 9 Miles Into Canyon and Up Again

Never Get Tired of Hoodoo Views


Tower Bridge

More Hoodoos

On Fairyland Loop

It is Beautiful Everywhere I Look

Spectacular Morning

Needed a Rest Before the Last Two Miles

Campsite Visitor

Plenty of Room for a Big Tent

Best in the West? It WAS Very Good!

August 1, 2017 Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

According to my National Park Passport Book, I was here on August 8, 1999. It was a short visit that consisted of driving to all the overlooks. Picture Chevy Chase in National Lampoon's Vacation taking his family to see the Grand Canyon; arm around his wife's shoulder, bouncing and counting to five, and herding everyone back in the car. No matter, because Bryce was so spectacular that I declared that it was my favorite national park, with Mt. Saint Helens a close second.

Fast forward 18 years, this time without Chevy and with Wanda. I paid for two nights at the campground and got parked just as a small thunderstorm moved in. Once things settled down I walked to the Visitor's Center to see the movie and then hopped on the free shuttle, getting off at Bryce Point for a quick look. Yep, just as spectacular as before.

This morning I set off at 8:00 to “Hike the Hoodoos” which on the map looked to be 6 miles. I descended on Tower Bridge Trail, then connected to Fairyland Loop which climbs back up to Fairyland Point. It was a moderately strenuous 3 hour 40 min. hike, the longest I have done since who knows when, but I loved it. I felt pretty good at the top and then realized that I had another 2.5 miles to get back to the campground. I had about two sips of water, my Propel was gone and I had eaten all my plums. Crap.

As I was plodding along wah-wahing in my head that my feet hurt, I came upon a man on crutches crutching (is there a word for this?) down the dirt trail. His right foot was in a black thing up to his knee, so I told him, “Wow, you are brave.” He said, “Or stupid!” He had broken his leg the day before while hiking The Narrows which is apparently a very challenging trail in Zion National Park. You hike in the river on slippery rocks and even have to swim part of it. The NPS actually rents the right footwear, but of course he did not take advantage of that. He said he stepped on what he thought was a sand bar but turned out to be “an elevator shaft”. He went straight down and was underwater when he heard his leg, which was stuck between two rocks, crack. He said the hardest part was limping out as they were five miles down the trail. Guess he wasn't about to let that ruin his vacation.

After that I quit whining, but it took me nearly two very slow hours to get back to the van, and man that cold pump water tasted mighty good. I'd walked 9.29 miles and climbed 149 stories (according to my FitBit). But now I really, really, really needed a shower, and after resting a couple of hours I ventured off to the General Store, ½ mile away. The shower token cost $2 but it was possibly the best eight minutes of my life! Oh wait, there was that one other time......but that was probably more like five.

I spent one night at Capitol Reef before arriving here and what impresses me once again is how many people from other countries come to see our beautiful national parks and monuments. It makes me realize once again how lucky we are to live here, even though it is far from perfect. There was a family from Russia on the Curecanti boat tour. There were folks from Switzerland and Germany at the Capitol Reef astronomy talk, and here in Bryce it is really multi-national. I hear as much German spoken as English, plus a lot of Italian, French, Japanese, and some I cannot identify. Today on the trail I talked with a couple from Delaware and tonight at the astronomy talk I met Gwen from Indianapolis. Talk about exotic!

So many people in the world and most everyone wants the same things for themselves and their family: health, security, peace. Maybe if we can begin to focus on how we are alike instead of how we are different, everyone can have those things.

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