so i only ended up spending one day (Sunday) at Bryce NP. i saw the forecast that it was really cold and snowy there, AND i had been getting wind that it might be difficult for me to get a permit to get down into the grand canyon if i didn’t get there soon. and it was fine that i only had one day at bryce. i spent a chilly evening sleeping in my car – the overnight low was in the high teens. then got up SUPER early and had to get SUPER bundled-up to try and catch the sunrise. it wasn’t as spectacular as they say it can be there, but it was worth it. then i checked in with a ranger about a good dayhike to do – and i ended up doing a pair of connected loops that take you down into the canyon to walk amongst the “hoodoos” as they call them. hoodoos are the spire-like formations – what remain from the cutting, carving and erosion that has taken place here.
so i got to take a snowy hike down in, and it was great. i was mostly alone, as not many others were stupid…errr…HARDCORE enough to do it. and it was really sweet to be down amongst these giants in the canyon. again, the geology and the results of time and weather are really amazing. the hike took me until early afternoon. then i drove the length of the park’s main road, stopping at most of the viewpoints on the way back. really beautiful. it’s been funny to see how many comments i get about my car. it’s packed to the gills with most adventure/outdoor-related stuff you can think of. and i was in the middle of 6-feet-of-snow-Bryce with a 15-foot kayak on my roof. i took a picture of the Subaru next to a massive bank of snow…
i had this one older couple say hello – and the wife says… “looking at your car, i envy you.” it was kinda cool. we started talking about what in the world i was up to, and they told me about some of their retirement adventures they’ve been taking. so it’s been a conversation starter to say the least.
i’ve been reading donald miller’s book Through Painted Deserts while i’ve been on my trip. it’s a memoir of sorts of his own road trip in a volkswagen bus from Houston to Oregon and all that he experienced and thought about while on that trip. so i thought it was fitting to read it on my trip, knowing that he and i will have driven a lot of the same roads and seen the same beauties. he puts into really great words what i was saying in one of my zion posts about hiking mountains making me feel small and humble:
“i start wondering what it must be like to live in the shadow of a mountain. all of Houston lives in the shadow of downtown. downtown is how me orient ourselves. it stands as our compass, a mountain of glass and mirrors. it strikes me as i think about it, how beautiful we find massive structures, either man-made or organic. i wonder if we find them amazing because they make us feel small and insignificant, because they humble us. and i remember feeling that way back in Colorado, things, larger things, massive structures forged in the muscle of earth and time, pressing up into the heavens as if to say the story is not about you, but for you, as if to remind us we are not gods.”
just thought i’d share that beautifully-written thought of his. he’s a great, funny, thoughtful writer. i highly recommend him.
anyways. i ate an early dinner and decided to get on the road to the grand canyon, so i could see a bit of the scenery before the sun went down. i was glad i made the choice – it was a great drive AND it was like 4 hours. beautiful one-lane-each-way backcountry highway the whole way. i got to the grand canyon late, and couldn’t find my way around too well, so i ended up sleeping on another picnic table…that’s the LAST time i resort to that. and it got down to just about 20 degrees. just a tad too cold for what i’m prepared for. but i dealt.
next posts on the grand canyon adventure – hope you all are well!
[sunday, 9 march]