Sorry to have been silent for so long. I’ve actually followed the wise advice given by those who said to enjoy the adventures and not worry about the blog until I had enough time and a better internet connection.
It’s given me the chance to savour all the sights and think about how to share them with you. So let’s start with one of the most unusual—Bryce Canyon.
Located in southwestern Utah, Bryce Canyon is actually a collection of giant natural amphitheaters running along the east side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau.
Named after Ebenezer Bryce (a local settler) and designated as a national park in 1928, the canyon is a product of the weather.
Many millions of years ago, the area was filled with water. But after the water subsided, the transformation began with the limestone canyon walls (also called fins).
Over time (and still today), snow and ice settle on the fins. Then the sun comes out and melts both, and the resulting water seeps into cracks in the fins. When it re-freezes, it expands and cracks the rocks around it. Bits fall off, and this has happened again and again for millions of years. The process, called frost-wedging, is especially common in Bryce Canyon.
Frost-wedging ultimately creates holes (or windows) in the fins. As the windows grow, their tops eventually collapse, leaving columns/pillars of rock. Rain further dissolves and sculpts these limestone pillars into bulbous spires called hoodoos.
Poor John reckons hoodoos look like the creations made when kids dribble wet sand onto columns on the beach. They remind me of stalagmites, the rock formations that rise from the floor of a cave because of water that drips from the ceiling.
But enough about how the hoodoos came to be. As an aside, hoodoos occur on every continent, but Bryce has the largest collection in the world.
We arrived at Bryce early in the morning, before the hordes came along and the temperatures rose.
Our first stop was at the Natural Bridge, which isn’t a bridge at all but an arch. In geological terms, a bridge is created by rushing streams. Arches are formed by frost-wedging and a combination of other weather processes. This arch beautifully frames the Ponderosa forest behind it.
My left hip was still bothering me, so for the rest of the day I wandered along the rim from Inspiration Point to Sunset Point and Sunrise Point. The walk is mostly level, but all three points are at an elevation of 8000 feet (2400 metres) or more. Some of parts of the rim rise to 9000 feet (2700 metres).
Poor John descended into the canyon as far as the Ooh Aah Point—what a great name for a lookout. Others in the group descended even farther. I felt I didn’t have enough time to go down and get back. Oops! I misremembered this—Poor John says the Ooh Aah Point is in the Grand Canyon. I might have remembered if I’d done it!
I have to say that even though my hip (which is fully recovered by now) limited some of my expeditions, I never felt like I missed out on much—except one place that I’ll cover in the another post.
P.S. I haven’t added captions to all the pics. They speak for themselves.
P.P.S. Fellow blogger, Michael Andrew Just, features many national parks on his site. Here’s a link to some pics he took in Bryce Canyon in winter.