I am sorry it has been so long since I have been able to share what we have been up to. We really have not had a good connection and we have been busy! After we picked up Grammy Red in Salt Lake City, we headed for Bryce Canyon. We had seen pictures of this ruddy red land form, but it exceeded our expectations. Even the photos we took can not begin to paint a picture of the vast beauty.
On our first trip into the park we picked up our Junior Ranger Books and headed to Sunrise Point for a hike. We descended into the Queens Garden and continued on the Navajo Loop. This is considered the world’s best three mile hike! And it did not disappoint. Marcus and Caroline’s favorite part was the stroll through Wall Street.
The unique formations here are called Hoodoos. A hoodoo is a pinnacle or odd shaped rock left standing from the forces of weathering and erosion. Because of the 200 plus freezes and thaws a year this miracle appears. The sedimentary rock was built up over time. Each layer of rock has a different hardness. So each layer is eroded differently. You can tell how hard or soft a rock is by how far it sticks out in the column. Harder rocks bulge out and softer rocks indent.
Bryce is technically not a canyon because canyons are primarily carved by flowing water. Here naturally acidic rainwater dissolves the limestone making the rounded edges of the hoodoos, but the freezing and thawing water does most of the sculpting of Bryce Canyon.
After our hike we headed back to the visitor center to participate in Utah Prairie Dog Day. This threatened inhabitant of Bryce Canyon is actually a member of the rodent family. Their burrow systems are made up several chambers and they live in complex social colonies or towns. We made buttons, played track guessing games, listened to prairie dogs and were able to view a colony and ask a ranger questions. Cali even had her face painted.
On our second day we decided to take the free 3 ½ hour Rainbow Point Tour offered by the park. If you ever visit here this is a great way to see and hear about this place, especially if you have Spike as your tour guide. We learned so much about the canyon as well as the plants and the animals. Marcus and Cali hung on his every word. His knowledge and humor made our visit! While eating our picnic lunch we met another bus driver and fellow home schooler. The people here only add to the great experience of nature.
After lunch we hopped on the visitor shuttle and headed to Bryce Point. We hiked the 1 ½ mile rim trail to Inspiration Point. God’s sculptures just can’t be described by words or pictures. On our hike we chatted with a couple along the way. Come to find out they are staying at the campground near Zion where we will be in a few days. What a small world. We are looking forward to catching up with them when we get there.
While we visited Bryce we camped at Bryce Canyon Pines outside the National Park. It was a small campground about 4 miles from the entrance. We had decided to stay outside the park so we could have full hookups and Bryce Canyon Pines was only $30 compared to the $55 the fancier place down the road wanted. We would definitely recommend this campground. It is right on a ten mile paved bike trail, which Marcus especially enjoyed. The restaurant across the street has delicious food and we truly enjoyed talking with the camp hosts. We hope to meet up with them again some day. While we were at Bryce Canyon Grammy Red sewed the YoYos Cali had made over the last couple of months in to a quilt. Marcus and his dad had fun building a fire and using their fire starters.