How is it that I keep having little to no idea what to expect in all these National Parks I‘ve been visiting? I don’t know what I thought Bryce Canyon would be, but I never would have guessed it was so remarkably strange and beautiful. When I first catch a glimpse of a bright orange rocky formation outside the park’s boundary it is being illuminated by the setting sun. And any park ranger will tell you this truly lights up the rock and makes it glow. It’s shocking.
But I have to drive past because it’s late in the day and I need to find a hotel in town because it’s snowing. I never would have guessed there’d be snow this late in the year, but we’re at such high elevations that this is normal. In the morning, the dusting of snow has left the orange rock formations (called hoodoos) blanketed in snow. I actually think the snow made them even more vibrant and brought out their dimensions and the texture of the rocks.
It doesn’t seem like snow and evergreen trees would go together with desert rock formations, but here they are. The bright orange set against the green pine trees is very striking.
The scenic drive through the park has many pull-outs with views of the canyon below, but I don’t think you really experience the park unless you take one of the hikes down into the canyon. It almost seems wrong to venture down into this magical place, but it’s such a neat experience to walk down among the hoodoos and even walk right through them.
The path I took was so muddy that at one point it actually became difficult to pick my feet up from the sludge. My hiking boots maintained an orange coating for days afterward and I noticed others with the same badge of honor.