Bryce Canyon National Park
October 16, 2014
On this hike we followed the other half of the Navajo Loop Trail (to Twin Bridges) then took the connector trail to the Peekaboo Trail. When we reached the Peekaboo Trail we went left (or clockwise) and continued on to the Bryce Point Trail and up to the top. From there we took the Rim Trail back to Sunset Point and our car. Total distance was 4.5 to 5 miles. It felt like a lot more. It always does.
While hiking these trails I felt that I was in some sort of shape-shifting landscape. With each step the view changed, sometimes dramatically. I spent so much time looking left, right, up, and down, I thought my neck might unscrew itself and fall on the ground. Even more unsettling than that is the thought that I might not notice. As it was, I had a gigunda kink in it by the time we were done.
We had barely started when I focused on a hoodoo with a large rock delicately balanced on top.
Don’t ask me what it is about these features, but they are haunting. Maybe it’s the Stone People myth and I’m starting to see these things as formerly living people. Dunno.
It wasn’t long before we were twisting and turning through switchbacks – again going down, not up. Yeah!
The sandstone dust on the trail is a fine powder that looks as though you could ski on it. Not me though. Me on skis is a 911 call waiting to happen.
Notice how the canyon walls close in as you descend into the canyon. And surprisingly, there are tall Douglas firs growing at the bottom. Somehow, someway they get enough light and water to take root and grow.
Not far past the end of the switchbacks, we came to Twin Bridges. Notice how the canyon wall beyond the bridges has a golden glow. Just about everything about this hike was awe inspiring.
What never ceases to amaze me is how tenacious life can be. Just look at this conifer (I’m think it’s a Douglas fir) clinging to life, it’s roots like bony fingers grasping the ground for support. How can anyone look at this and not feel something for this tree?
We got to the junction of the Peekaboo Loop trail and turned left.
The views along this trail were spectacular. Almost pure white canyon walls tower above rows of hoodoos, standing like sentinels. A tower appears to form where the white canyon walls merge at the corner. Room-like alcoves line the cliffs where royal Stone People keep watch over their subjects. The more I look the more I see a fairy tale kingdom.
One thing Peekaboo Trail had plenty of was horse poop. There is a horse corral on the half of the Peekaboo Loop that we did not hike so we never saw the horses, just their “sign”. Apparently horseback riding is a very popular activity on this trail. It brought back memories of my backpacking the Grand Canyon where guided mule trains passed us every so often (too often IMO). At least the droppings on the Peekaboo Trail didn’t stink like those in the Grand Canyon. And horses aren’t nearly as prolific poop producers as mules.
Like most of our hikes, this one had it’s dearth of shade. So when the opportunity arose, I took a break, in this case under an arch cut into the sandstone.
I’m always seeing more evidence of the existence of the Stone People. This cliff face is lined with alcoves and tall narrow arches that look like an ancient condo. I can certainly see why the Paiutes believe this place was once inhabited by flesh and blood humans. It doesn’t take much of an imagination to see that.
We even saw a bobcat, or something like it, on the Peekaboo Trail. But it didn’t look anything like what I expected. It didn’t have fur or teeth or even legs. It didn’t try to eat us either.
Actually, this small dozer along with two small wheelbarrow type tractors are a testament to the park’s dedication to maintaining these steep, narrow and twisty trails. It wouldn’t take much of a mistake to drive one of these things off the cliff. The park’s employees and/or contractors deserve our thanks and gratitude.
As we climbed toward Bryce Point, we got a terrific view of Boat Mesa. We hiked the Fairyland Loop the following day. That 8 mile loop threads its way around the mesa.
Boat Mesa from trail to Bryce Point
Finally, after climbing 800 feet in about a mile, we reached Bryce Point. We were hot, tired, sweaty, but victorious. And our car was still 2+ miles away at Sunset Point.
Along the way, we got a good view of the Wall of Windows. Although there’s a logical geological explanation, I rather like the idea that these are Stone People condos.
While walking back to Sunset Point, we got a terrific view of thousands upon thousands of hoodoos. Or Legend People frozen in their tracks.
Every time I look, Bryce Canyon shows me something new and spectacular.