From Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon was only a two hour drive–one of our shorter commutes. We arrived early enough to secure a campground in the park which was awesome, as we had had to stay at private campgrounds the two nights prior. Although private campgrounds usually have more amenities, they are far more expensive–$30+ vs. $15 at national park sites. Not to mention, they are a lot less “campgroundy” in general–closer to town, less spread out, and in one case a part of the Marriott (they’ve really started to diversify)? We were planning to make a fire and finally make some smores but ominous skies prevented us from following through with this plan. Instead we indulged in the uncooked version of smores, or what we coined, “Smores Tartar.”
The hike selection process usually went something like this: myself and Kayley would look over the hiking section of the park guide, select the one with the most intriguing description, and present it to Caiti and Elai. The first question was always: “What is the rating?” The answer always seemed to be: “Strenuous” and was met my sighs, followed by a self-assuring comment that nothing could be more strenuous than the North Kaibab Trail. In our defence, we generally felt “strenuous” ratings were rather dramatic–based more on distance than actual difficulty.
For Bryce Canyon, we ended up selecting the “Figure 8 Loop” that combined three smaller loops–the Queens Garden, Navajo, and Peek-a-Boo. From the beginning of the hike we were in awe of the amazing orange rock formations called Hoodoos that fill Bryce Canyon. Our hike took us from the rim down into the heart of the canyon next to the base of the Hoodoos. We actually crossed more groups of horseback riding tours on the trail than humans.
The entire park was much quieter than the Grand Canyon and Zion but was ranked number 1 park that we visited by two of my friends! There were different and gorgeous views around every corner of the trail that took us around 4 hours to complete.
After a quick lunch we set off for a long 4.5 hr drive to Moab! The scenery along the way is extremely beautiful and the civilization is sparse. We stopped half-way at our shopping location of choice for the trip–Wal-Mart–to re-stock on groceries. After a very long campground search, we finally happened upon our best site yet!