Saturday, March 10, 2007

Zion and Bryce Canyon

I feel like my recent posts have been nothing but, "wow, what spectacular landscapes." But there really isn't much else to say. I've never been to this part of the country before, and it just blows my mind how amazing the views are, with the canyons and cliffs and buttes and mesas and hoodoos. We got up early and headed to Zion National Park, so named because early Mormon settlers found it to be a "place of refuge or sanctuary." The Virgin River runs through the park, and there's a 3.5 mile walking path that follows the river, so we took Max for a stroll. It was about 55 degrees and sunny -- perfect for a little hike in the canyon.

We drove out of Zion through back roads that wind through the park and are carved right into the rock formations.
We then headed to Bryce Canyon, about 80 miles away. The drive took us up to a high plateau that had a beautiful valley with streams and farms surrounded by mountains. The land is beautiful and rich looking. I can see how settlers would come upon it and feel like they could make a life there.
Bryce Canyon is characterized by incredible rock formations that look like giant versions of the wet sand drippy castles we make at the beach. The formations are called "hoodoos," and they're made by millions of years of erosion. There are lookouts over the Bryce Amphitheater, which is a huge area filled with miles and miles of hoodoo formations. At times we were so high up (over 8000 ft.) looking down that it made me a little dizzy.
After all the eye-candy, we hit the road and headed for Salt Lake City. Max had a nice snooze in his palatial set-up in the back seat.
From here, we'll head west on I-80 all the way to San Francisco.

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