Friday, September 15, 2017

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon is called Poetry in Stone. To get there, we drove through Red Canyon National Forest before heading into Bryce.  Red Canyon is amazing in itself with its red canyon walls and hoodoos.

Hoodoos, also known as Fairy Chimneys, Earth Pyramids, and Tent Rocks. Hoodoos start as an intact plateau, and this breaks down into a fin. Hoodoos don't grow like trees but are eroded out of the cliffs where rows of narrow walls form. These thin walls of rock are called fins. Frost-wedging enlarges cracks in the fins, creating holes or windows. As windows grow, their tops eventually collapse, leaving a column. Rain further dissolves and sculpts these limestone pillars into bulbous spires called hoodoos. The delicate climatic balance between snow and rain ensures that new hoodoos will emerge while others become reduced to lumps of clay. Hoodoos have a very short geological lifespan. The average rate of erosion on the Paunsaugunt Plateau is calculated at 2-4 feet every 100 years. Three million years and this will all be gone.

High elevation, clean dry air, and lack of light pollution make Bryce Canyon one of Earth's darkest places. Look at the below picture to see where Bryce is compared to the rest of the United States.

Bryce is a canyon with one road going in and out. As with most parks, it was very crowded and at some of the viewpoints we could not even find a parking space and had to travel on and then come back to see if there was parking available.

Natural Arch over the road as we head into Bryce.  First viewpoint was Paria View at 8177 elevation.

Our next stop was Bryce Point at 8300 elevation.

Next viewpoint was Piracy Point at 8819 elevation.

Even though the road continued, our last stop was the Natural Bridge, as it was getting late and we had a long drive back to the campground. Natural Bridge elevation was 8627.

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