Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park has to be one of my favorite parks in the United States. I didn’t know what to expect ahead of time - more accurately, I had seen pictures beforehand but figured they couldn’t possibly be accurate.
Ok, so it turns out it actually is that mind-blowing.
Bryce Canyon is most well-known for its hoodoos - a spire of rock formed by erosion of softer minerals. This erosion creates striking formations across Bryce Canyon, and the rocks themselves create a perfectly ombre wash of reds and pinks. The park sits between 8,000-9,000 feet elevation, meaning that the park gets a little more precipitation throughout the year, allowing for growth of the striking bristlecone pine, limber pine, and juniper. It also means that the area gets quite chilly - we camped in mid-September, and temperatures dropped to 30F at night while soaring back up to the mid-80s during the day.
As happens far too often, Bryce Canyon is named after the first European-Americans who settled the area, but archeologists have found evidence of the Anasazi culture dating back 10,000 years, and in later years Paiute communities moved into the area.
Ebenezer Bryce came along relatively recently in that time scheme, settling in the canyon in 1880s. Ebenezer was sent by the Mormon Church at a time when other small groups of Mormons, cattle ranchers, and explorers were probing the area. Bryce’s family only remained in the are until 1880; Bryce Canyon proved difficult to irrigate and farm, and, as Ebenezer eloquently put it, was “a helluva place to lose a cow.”
It’s a helluva place to hike as well. I’ll shut up now and let the pictures do the talking.