Utah, Drive 10 Miles Either Direction for Change

Bryce Canyon National Park is the albino Mexican Salamander (look it up) of national parks: super strange and not-of-this-world, but also very intriguing and interesting. It’s so orange and the Hoodoos (strange rock formations) looked alien. My hike this morning began at Sunrise Point and ended at Sunset Point, taking the Queens Garden Trail and the Navajo Trail through the canyon. The hike was about 3 miles (plus another mile back to my car) and had magnificent views above and inside Bryce Canyon, including the rock formations of Queen Victoria (striking resemblance!) and Thor’s Hammer.

When I reached Sunset Point, I sat on top of a sturdy and short fence about 30 feet from the edge of the canyon to sip my water. Now, there are no signs saying you can’t sit on the fence and it was also an extremely safe place to sit or else I wouldn’t have chosen there. However, that didn’t stop a park ranger a bit away guiding a tour from telling me to get off the fence. It took everything in me not to laugh or point out there was no reason I shouldn’t be allowed to sit there, as his voice was IDENTICAL to Zach Galifianakas in The Campaign and he said, “Oh dear, get off the fence! You absolutely should not be sitting up there. Oh my…sitting on the fence…” I reminded myself he probably tells people to get off the fence at dangerous parts of the park all the time and is just trying to do his job, so I was able to bite my tongue and comply. I really do have a high respect for park rangers as some of my favorite people are rangers, so I’ll give this guy the benefit of the doubt and assume I caught him on an off day. I left after the hike, as this park is fairly small and many trails are closed due to snow.

Next I headed on the Scenic Highway 12 towards Escalante to check out the different landscape close to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The drive was gorgeous and I pulled over many times to snap some photos. I eventually found myself at Escalante Petrified Forest State Park, doing a few miles of hiking past large pieces of petrified wood that are millions of years old. After the hike I grabbed a bite to eat, stopped on the side of the road to observe a Pronghorn Antelope, and walked around Red Canyon to check out the vibrant red rock and landscape. Butch Cassidy (infamous old western villain/gang leader) used to roam the canyon with his gang of thieves in the late 1800s. It was easy to image them riding horses through the dry riverbed with the red rock towering around them.

Not too much to report today aside from my 7 miles of hiking and exploring. Tonight I will go back into Bryce Canyon to check out the night sky, and will try to sleep early so I can take off early in the morning. Tomorrow is another one of my favorite states….Colorado! Utah always amazes me with its diversity. You don’t have to drive far to encounter a completely different landscape, and there’s never a shortage of places to explore.

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