Welcome to stop #2 on our Utah tour.
After Zion, we drove AireInn, our 43-foot RV, 135 miles to Tropic, Utah and settled into the Cannonville/Bryce Valley KOA which is midway between Bryce National Park and Kodachrome State Park. Although Bryce Canyon National Park has two campgrounds (North and Sunset) I highly recommend this KOA for its location and enthusiastic work campers who provided helpful information and suggestions. Inclement weather was due to arrive in a few days, so we needed to make the best use of our time.
On day one we headed over to Bryce. The paved path toward the first overlook takes you through a non-descript wooded area. I teased John saying “meh, this looks like any other pine forest to me”.
And then the magic show started.
Walking towards this famous Hoodoo laden gem is kind of like shucking a plain oyster and finding a pearl inside. My mouth literally dropped open as I took in the sensational vista.
We spent two days hiking Queen’s Garden Trail, the Fairyland Loop, and Peekaboo Loop marveling at thousands of unique sedimentary pipes.
Hoodoos (irregular columns of rock) exist on every continent, but here is the largest concentration found anywhere on Earth. Situated along a high plateau at the top of the Grand Staircase, the park’s high elevations include numerous life communities, fantastic dark skies, and geological wonders that defy description. ~ National Park Service
The remainder of our week was spent hiking through a sliver of the massive Kodachrome State Park. We did the Panorama Trail and the full loop out to Shakespeare Arch, even though this famous icon had fallen just the week prior to our arrival. Hiking out almost felt like a funeral march heading to the scene of a death. When we arrived at the pile of rocky rubble a sudden sadness enveloped me at having missed the window of time that Shakespeare held himself in place.
Later that day we crossed a large plain walled in by red cliffs and discovered the largest phallic rock I’ve ever seen. One of our favorite rocks didn’t even have a marker – so we simply referred to it as Cathedral Point. It’s dominating spires cast deep shadows to mark our viewing area. John and I vowed to return again with a picnic and blanket to soak in the stillness of her beauty.
67 monolithic stone spires, called sedimentary pipes, accentuate multihued sandstone layers that reveal 180 million years of geologic time. The color and beauty found here prompted a National Geographic Society expedition to name the area Kodachrome, after the popular color film, in 1948. ~ National Park Service
One of our days began with drizzly rain, so we ended up in town at a small restaurant. We noted a young man in a booth whose backpack had snowshoes strapped to it. We invited him to join us and were excited to hear his “through-hiking” story. His name is Kevin DeVries, but his trail name is Larry Boy. https://www.lbhikes.com/2019/05/ Larry Boy has through-hiked every major trail in the west and currently was traversing a self-created route he named the “Route-In-Between” since it lies halfway between the Pacific Crest and the Colorado Trails. Unbeknownst to us, we would intersect with Larry Boy 98 miles north the following week! Check out my Capitol Reef post to see how that happened.