Walt and I have just realized that we have made a huge mistake: we are walking down a set of pink stone switchbacks that lead to the bottom of Bryce Canyon but it’s sunset, we’re leaving early tomorrow morning and all we can do is get a little taste of this unbelievable place. We should have planned a 3-day backcountry hike on the 23-mile Under-the-Rim Trail.
As the National Park Service website says: “Here is the largest collection of hoodoos (odd-shaped pillars of rock left standing from the forces of erosion) in the world! Descriptions fail. Photographs do not do it justice.”
In all the hundreds of times I’ve gone hiking, I have never wanted to get to the bottom of the mountain (in this case, plateau) as much as I want to get to the bottom of Bryce Canyon and we just don’t have the time to do it today.
We arrived here after a four-hour drive from Moab, nabbed a tent site, set up camp and drove the 30+ miles of roads to see the highlights: Inspiration Point, Agua Canyon, Rainbow Point, etc. It was all stunningly beautiful.
After an early dinner in camp, we walked the mile down to Sunset Point overlooking the canyon ampitheater. From the top of the plateau, the pink hoodoos look to me like a fantasy castle gone wild, like something out of a Tolkien story.
Walt suggests we walk down some of the switchbacks, just a little bit because we don’t have water or packs and it’s going to be dark soon. The further we walk down among the hoodoos, the further down I want to go. I can see the pink stone trail descending down to the floor of the canyon, where the dry bed of Bryce Creek meanders through juniper and pinyon trees.
As beautiful as the landscape is when seen from the top, it doesn’t compare to looking up at the spires.
We’ll have to come back and rectify our mistake.