This is my favorite sunrise shot of my 11-day photo safari through Colorado, Arizona and Utah. It will always remind me of the miserable night I spent in Bryce Canyon NP’s campground: elevation over 8,000′, temperature dropping into the low 30’s, sleeping in my car, and waking up to frost on the windshield. Even though I had a good sleeping bag, I was so cold that at one point I was digging into my emergency road kit looking for the candles. Then the scene from “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” where their car catches on fire flashed through my mind, so I scratched that idea.
I could have started the car to warm up, but I didn’t want the neighboring campers to think I was a wimp. At 5:00 AM I threw in the towel, got dressed, scraped the frost off the windshield and took off. Sunrise was at 6:15 anyway, giving me plenty of time to get a badly-needed cup of coffee. Guess what? the park lodge didn’t open for breakfast until 7:00, so I drove into town. Hmmm, nothing open there either, even the truck stop didn’t open until 6:30. I shivered into the motel attached to the truck stop hoping to find a coffee vending machine. Nope, but I did find a bored night clerk that needed someone to talk to; she went back in the kitchen and got me a steaming hot cup of black coffee. What a life saver!
Bryce Canyon is known for its hoodoos; pinnacles of odd-shaped rock left standing by the forces of erosion. This particular one is at the Aqua Canyon lookout. Hmmm, sort of reminds me of the aforementioned motel night clerk.
The amphitheater is probably the most iconic scene of Bryce Canyon, incredibly large and visible from several vantage points that are miles apart along the scenic drive through the park. As the sun rises in the morning and falls in the late afternoon, the shadows create forever-changing colors and scenes.
Taken earlier in the day while I was checking out the 37 mile round trip scenic drive.
Rainbow Point is the highest point in the park, elev. 9,115′. You can see people standing on the observation point in the upper left of the photo. To get to the observation point, you have to follow a path about 100 yards that winds along the top of a narrow spit of land that falls off on both sides. No fences or hand rails; it looks about 6 inches wide when you’re up there. I hiked up there, but didn’t want to attempt the path without a parachute. The wind was blowing so hard from where I took this picture that it was difficult to hold the camera steady, so staggering along the narrow path to the observation point was definitely out of the question. Besides, I had a freezing cold night in the car ahead of me and I sure didn’t want to miss that.
The highest point in this photo is also Rainbow Point, taken from Black Birch Canyon lookout, a safe vantage point over a mile away. If you zoom into the point, you can still see people on the observation point.
I can’t get over these trees that grow out of the rocks and survive on about 10″ of rainfall per year.
Thought for the Day: Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway. John Wayne (1907 -1979)