After cooking breakfast, packing our lunches, and loading Ernie's truck, the 4 of us left at 7:30 for the 2 1/2 hour drive to Bryce Canyon National Park. There was a gorgeous sunrise when we got to Zion -
We had to go through Zion to get there and were thrilled to see some Desert Mountain Sheep after going through the tunnel. Some of the trees were beginning to display the colors of Fall. We also saw some mule deer and a herd of buffalo after we left the park. What a drive.
When we arrived at Bryce, Ken and I realized we were there on Oct. 24, 2010 with the Hagys when on a road trip, but this was a 1st for Ernie and Noela! We were excited to see the amphitheater again and to share its beauty with them. We stopped at the visitors center, got maps, and Ken talked to a ranger to ask what we should see when only spending the day. She said we should hike the most popular trail in the park, the Sunset to Sunrise and then connect to the Queens/Navajo Combination Loop for a total of 3 miles. That hike takes you from the Rim of the Canyon to the very bottom below the hoodoos. So, you have about 600 feet of elevation and it is considered a moderate hike. We call it a gorgeous, breathtaking experience. It isn't like anything you have ever seen before. The colors and shapes of the hoodoos are magnificent! I hope you don't get bored with the photos for believe it or not we deleted over 1/2 of the ones Ken took!
|Our 1st view of the amphitheater!|
|The shapes and colors are almost unbelievable!|
|Love the wavy pattern in the rocks!|
|It was in the mid 40's when we started the hike but was in the|
mid 50''s at the end with plenty of sun!
|This photo gives you a view of the hiking trail!|
|How do those rocks stay balanced on the top???|
|Looks like a town with one main evergreen tree!|
|It really is a winding, well maintained trail!|
|Looks like pottery to me!|
|About 3 times we went through "doorways" in the rocks!|
|Don't you just love the white tips?????|
|Ken and I both think it looks like faces on top of the hoodoo,|
Near the bottom we saw the Queen Victoria "Monument". You have to use your imagination, but it does look like the head of a queen. Further along the trail you get to the bottom of the canyon with all of its greenery which is such a sharp contrast to the upper sections.
|Can you see Queen Victoria on the top??? I think it looks like|
a comical cow on the right of her!
|What a contrast in coloring!|
|Another balance rock!!!|
As we started ascending to the canyon rim, we had to go up steps through a crevice area and then go through a series of switchbacks before reaching the top. It was another amazing part of the trail, but so exhilarating!
|We had to hike up this crevice in the rocks!|
|Looking down the crevice!|
|Then you continue climbing on the switchback part of the trail!|
At 2, we got back to the parking lot and we were soooo ready for lunch. After eating our packed lunches we drove to Inspiration Point for another view of the amphitheater, a short hike.
|Looks like some kind of building!|
Then we drove 2 more miles to Bryce Point for our final breathtaking view.
|I thought the white formation on the left looks like a|
cathedral! Okay, so I have a great imagination!
|Most of the Hoodoos are tall and go to the bottom of the|
canyon. I like these "baby ones that look like they are on
top of a pile of sand! I think they are "want a bes"!
|Looks like a cement truck backed up and poured a load of cement|
on top. Didn't do a very good job of smoothing it!
|What a great way to celebrate our anniversary - Bryce|
Canyon National Park and with Ernie and Noela!
One more stop at the Visitors Center where Ken and Ernie bought hats with pictures of Zion, Bryce, and Arches on them. It was 4:00 and time to head back to Zion. We stopped to get drinks about halfway back. We passed at least 3 dozen deer on our return trip and then the real bonus - 2 herds of Desert Mountain Sheep, one with 2 dozen and the other with about 10. What a surprise!
|Rather stately don't you think????|
|They are so agile!|
|He just stood there posing!|
|Never saw so many mountain sheep at one time and love the|
Ken took a few photos of the sun starting to set on the mountains in Zion when we were passing through.
|Beautiful sunset on the rocks!|
Well, we were back by 7 after a special day in, to and from Bryce Canyon National Park. What a way for Ken and I to spend our 47th Wedding Anniversary. We certainly created some special and lasting memories while Celebrating Life today! We are so blessed.
|Life is so good when you share it with your best friend!|
A special thank you to everyone who sent us messages to wish us a Happy Anniversary - those folks on Facebook, Jamie, our daughter, with a heartwarming tribute to us, Doloris for the phone call, Ernie and Noela for the e-card, and Wendy, Chuck and Melissa for the e-mails. You folks are the best!