A week before my Las Vegas photography workshop, Keith loaded up all our camping equipment into the overhead gear box and drove our new Subaru Outback from Boston, through Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and then finally into Las Vegas, Nevada, where he picked me up from the airport a week later when I flew in. On the fourth day of camping in Zion National Park, we took a day trip to Bryce Canyon National Park. On our way back from Bryce Canyon, we drove along the very uphill Utah State Highway 14 to Cedar City, UT, to try an fast food we couldn’t find in Massachusetts (get the buffalo chicken burger at Arby’s!).
Here’s Keith with our car at the highest point along UT-14, 3048 metres (10,000 feet) above sea level. Ours was the only car with a Massachusetts licence plate that I saw anywhere in Nevada or Utah.
Bryce Canyon National Park was less than a two-hour drive from Zion National Park. But it was quite a bit higher in elevation. Here is the Bryce Canyon terrain with lots of snow still on the ground.
It was so cold in Bryce Canyon still that the park lodge had still not opened for the season. Ditto for one of the two camp grounds. Several observation points — Inspiration Point, for example — were only partially accessible. However, Keith found his beloved pine trees. To Keith, the prettiest forest is a pine forest. This next photo is for him. I took it so we could remember that there were pine trees everywhere, even though their sap wasn’t flowing yet so there was no “pine forest smell”.
For my part, I fell in love with hoodoos. Hoodoos are the skinny spires of rock — in this case reddish white from iron oxide and magnesium oxide — that protrude from the bottom of “broken lands” like badlands and arid basins. Felt like being on Mars, but with pine trees. Time wears down existing hoodoos and creates new ones. I just could not stop photographing the hoodoos.
We were sore and aching from three days of hiking, so we did not do any hiking in Bryce Canyon. We did stroll up and down the outside path from the Sunrise Point to the Sunset Point of Bryce Canyon’s famous Navajo Loop Trail, petting dogs and taking photos. Here’s a shot of hikers along the early stretch of the Navajo Loop Trail.
I got very interested in the knot in a tree trunk and although a few nearby tourists gave me quizzical looks as I took photos tree bark with the gorgeous landscape behind my back, I am glad I took the photo. I think I did justice to the texture in the bark.
One of my favourite close-up “views” in Bryce Canyon was that of a natural bridge composed of the same rock and minerals that make up hoodoos. Actually, between Bryce Canyon and Zion, we saw at least 4 natural bridges. Here’s the one we saw at Bryce Canyon.
As we were driving through the park, I noticed an area of dead tree trunks extending from far down all the way up to the side of the road. The trees died over ten years ago in a forest fire, but the trunks remain and are now bent forward from strong winds pushing against them unchecked season after season, year after year. The stain-free white snow on the ground below reflected even more white on to the white trunks, and the sky was a sapphire blue behind and above. I loved those dead trees — birches, possibly — since the trunks were white. Composed of that which makes Earth, Earth. Burnt by fire. Bent by Wind. Surrounded at their feet by frozen Water. All four elements represented.
I had to take that photo. Keith only gave me a couple minutes to take a few quick shots since he was trying to keep me from getting run over by cars speeding along the road. He’s good like that — keeps me from accidental death during photoshoots.
Here’s us at the front entrance of Bryce Canyon National Park.