In case you’ve forgotten in the meantime, these pillars of rock are called hoodoos, and my goodness, have we seen some today. In fact, standing at the last viewpoint of the day, feeling hot and weary, someone in our party was heard to claim that he (clue) was “hoodooed out”.
It’s a truly spectacular place, however, and we started early this morning with the idea of beating both heat and crowds, because we wanted to visit a couple of the most popular viewpoints. They were both near to our hotel, so before breakfast, we stepped out and walked to the rim.
The first person we saw was a cowboy! “Good Morning! How are y’all today?”
He wasn’t alone, however, because shortly afterwards we heard the clatter of hooves and four strings of riders came by, setting out on a trek through the canyon.
It was pretty steep and some looked very uncomfortable. One rider called “Howdy Ma’am!” to me, and I heard his wife on the horse behind him mutter “Oh man…did he really say that?!” Is it true that every chap dreams of being a cowboy?
Anyway, they rode off down into the canyon and we walked along the rim trail, stopping at each viewpoint to stand and stare, to marvel at the view and to try to work out just how many different landscapes there can really be in one small part of the world.
This view included some of the “walls”, hoodoos which hadn’t yet separated into pillars. We’d heard a talk from one of the park rangers last night about “slot canyons”, which are formed when a couple of these high cliffs separate, leaving a narrow passage in between.
There are a couple of these here, including one far down below, where we could see people walking down towards.
It’s called Wall Street and it looks very dark and claustrophobic.
Sadly (!) we weren’t equipped to hike down there, not having the necessary walking boots and sticks. Of course, it was hard to watch everyone else go down that steep and very slippery pathway in the heat, down into that dark and creepy place. We made do with sitting on a log and left everyone else to it.
Looking across the valley/amphitheatre/canyon, we noticed some dust rising and looking more closely, we spotted the strings of horses we’d watched earlier. Can you spot them behind that white hoodoo in the centre of the picture?
Here’s a zoom into that shot and it’s clear they’re still walking along pretty narrow tracks.
Later in the day, we took a guided ranger drive further up the road, to an area that few bother to see. Here we could see the hoodoos forming from the cliff face, not yet eroded enough to separate.
I like those which are bleached white, where the metal salts have been washed through, leaving a delicate-looking hoodoo which stands out from the rest and which fits the “fairy chimney” tag well.
The views beyond the park were spectacular – here looking into Arizona, with the North Rim of the Grand Canyon somewhere there on the horizon.
As has happened every afternoon, clouds began to build up and there in the distance, we could see a storm. The rule here is, if there isn’t time to count to 30 between the flash and the thunder, then it’s time to take shelter. Fortunately, this one was far enough away, for now.
The driver/guide identified shapes and faces in the rocks – something which is easy to do when looking closely at them. What can you see here?
Our afternoon finished at the Natural Bridge viewpoint, inaccurately named it seems, because of course, it’s obvious that it’s an arch, not a bridge.
Well, obvious to some, if not to us!
And that was that. Hot and weary, we returned to the lodge to shower and relax a little before dinner. We are promised a Ranger Presentation about the stars tonight, because Bryce Canyon is one of the best dark sky places left. Hopefully, those clouds will have gone by the time the talk finished, because then there is a stargazing session to follow.
Fingers crossed, please.