The advantage of retracing our steps this morning was that we got to stop and take photos on the other side of the road. However many times we’d photographed those wonderful views, the changing light inspired us to take more.
Whatever did people do before digital cameras made recording all of this so easy?
Spend a fortune on film, I imagine.
So, a few last looks at Zion before we turn left (“continue along this road for 22 miles and then make a left turn”)
Those textures…oh my.
Whilst standing on a flat pavement of layered rock I picked a small piece up. It resembled one of those wafer biscuits, I thought.
But, created purely of compressed sand, it crumbled away to nothing as soon as I touched it. How fragile it all is – and yet, here it all stands, millions of years later.
Declaring these sights to be the best yet, we said goodbye to the Checkerboard Mesa and followed the directions through a couple of small Utah towns and turned right to Bryce Canyon, the third and final National Park of this section of our trip. Again, we’d got reservations for the lodge, so we went straight there, left the car in the parking lot and used the shuttle bus for the rest of the day.
Unlike Grand Canyon and Zion, there didn’t immediately seem much to see here. The lodge is set amongst trees and there appears to be no hillside or canyon anywhere nearby. We thought it a good idea to go straight to the visitor centre and get our bearings, maybe get some recommendations for making the best use of our time here. We learned about the Hoodoos and how they were formed, getting a rough idea of what lie in store just along the way.
However, nothing could quite have prepared us for this.
We were standing on a small promontory, looking out over a vast “terracotta army” of these hoodoos – pillars of sandstone, capped with a harder layer of rock which protects them from erosion.
Some were capped like fairytale castles. All had begun as arches or windows, before the top part had become weak and caved in.
In some cases, the arches still stood. Along this pathway, there was a line of them.
In one arch stood a little couple…
As always, the more adventurous souls were picnicking in a precarious spot.
Meanwhile, we were watching the weather close in – thunderstorms forecast this afternoon again and we could hear the occasional distant rumble.
Not wanting to be out in the open, or in a vulnerable spot when the storm passed over, we returned to the lodge and (eventually) checked in. All of this will still be here tomorrow, when we’ll have a whole day to explore the more hidden locations in the cool of the early morning.
What superlative would you choose, then?