We arrived in Bryce in the middle of a fantastic storm, lightning all around and the rain then turned to hail… so we drove straight past onto the next village (why do they call everything a city here?_ and found a burger and beer joint to while away the bad weather. Once we had eaten our fill, and taken as much liberty as we could with their wifi we headed back up the hill to hit Bryce post the worst of the rain. It was a nice change to contrast the rocks with dark grey skies for once and even found a rainbow.
A REALLY cold night paid me back for moaning in Vegas about camping in the heat… a stonking fire made of wet wood did Richard proud.
The rain put paid to our big off-roading plans over the next 48 hours… routes such as the Burr Trail will have to wait for another time as every ranger warned us off washouts and the dust having turned to clay. It dries out fast, but our 90 days are running out fast and we have a border to make.
On our quest to experience more rocks in all their glory (this place really does awaken the GCSE geographer in us all!!) we pushed on from Bryce and succeeded in not 1, not 2, but 5 parks in 24hrs. Kodachrome Basin, a small part of the extravagantly named Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, was first stop, and a short but pleasant hike later we were on the road to Capitol Reef. Capitol Reef, famous for a 100 mile long rock barrier (waterpocket fold – to give it its correct name) of varying hues and Mormon settler planted orchards. Another steep but enjoyable hike and a large burrito later we realised we could make Arches NP by sunset so we did. We’ll expand on Arches later but suffice to say the sunset was stunning.
05.20 the next morning we were in the oddly named Dead Horse Point State Park to watch the sun rise over the Colorado 2000 ft below us. Then having fuelled up on peanut butter and jam sandwiches (Rich’s 1st ever) and being just 5 miles from Canyonlands NP we spent the rest of the day marvelling at erosion…… Honestly, we’re not just ticking these off, well only on 1 bit of paper, we do stop and get out of the car….OK maybe not for every photo!
We returned to Arches early the next day and headed to the Devils Garden. This is a hike which takes in 7 arches and the fins and canyons which surround them. We couldn’t leave the park without seeing the most photographed arch in the world – ‘Delicate Arch’ so joined the masses hiking across bare rock in blistering heat at midday. Worth it we hope you’ll agree. We could say more about this beautiful part of the world but a picture is worth a 1 000 words – so here’s a few thousand…
We now commence the southern leg of our Grand Circle; Natural Bridges, Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon and Grand Canyon South Rim – a few more rocks to go.