SCENIC BRYCE CANYON — THE GRAND CIRCLE PART 4

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the seriesThe Grand Circle

By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers

Continuing on the Grand Circle Tour, we head to the magnificent vistas of Bryce Canyon.

Welcome to Bryce

Welcome to Bryce

There, the most common word heard at the overlooks of the towering “hoo-doos” is “breathtaking.” It is definitely breathtaking, and more … beyond words.

Bryce provides one of the most interesting viewing opportunities of any place in America. It is not really a “canyon,” but many giant natural amphitheaters carved by erosion from the Paunsaugunt Plateau. From the rim, one can see forever, since the canyon has been chiseled out of a huge red-stone mesa.

The Amphitheater of Hoodoos and Monoliths

The Amphitheater of Hoodoos and Monoliths

The predominant feature of this park are the “Hoodoos,” odd-shaped pillars of rock formed by erosion, varying from red to pale colorings, each one topped by a capstone and worth focusing upon for its unique characteristics. They tower up to 10 stories tall.

Hikers on the Navajo Loop climb back toward the rim

Hikers on the Navajo Loop climb back toward the rim

The rim road, a 38-mile round trip, offers 13 viewpoints, but to experience the true splendor of Bryce, one must hike the three-mile Navajo Loop and Queens Garden Trail, which take visitors down to the floor, where they can look skyward at the jagged monoliths. There are surprises around every bend on this relatively easy hike.

A word of caution, however: the canyon floor can be quite hot in the

A favorite landmark along the Queens Garden Trail

A favorite landmark along the Queens Garden Trail

summer. Hiking early a.m. or in the evening offers the most enjoyable walk. At the other extreme of hiking, there is Peek-a-Boo Loop, 5.5 miles long, which winds through the heart of the canyon’s amphitheater and along the Wall of Windows.

Get up early to see the sunrise at Sunset Point (the

Sunrise Point – the best place to be at sunset

Sunrise Point – the best place to be at sunset

eastern-rising sun casts constantly changing patterns on the opposite walls) and return to Inspiration Point as it sets to take in the play of shadows.

There is so much to do at Bryce besides driving and day hikes. There’s a moonlit-guided hike, stargazing with a ranger, joining an astronomy program, horseback riding or participating in the Geofest (which took place on July 25 and 26 in 2014).

Hoodoos provide unforgettable sights in Bryce Canyon

Hoodoos provide unforgettable sights in Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon is much higher than Zion at 8,000 to 9,000 feet, so spring can be quite chilly. There are two campgrounds in the park: North and Sunset, which provide a woody environment among stately ponderosa pines. [http://www.nps.gov/brca/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm]

A sense of grandeur fills the Bryce Canyon visitor

A sense of grandeur fills the Bryce Canyon visitor

Our French relatives told us that Bryce is considered a “must-see” by Europeans. For the record, of the 46 National Parks we have visited so far, Bryce Canyon ranks among the top for it uniqueness, activity and mainly for its majesty.

Barry, Solveig, Philippe and Monique on a hike.  The high altitude at the rim brings a chill even at springtime.

Barry, Solveig, Philippe and Monique on a hike. The high altitude at the rim brings a chill even at springtime.

From the “Never-Bored RVers,” We’ll see you on down the road.

© All photos by Barry Zander.   All rights reserved

Note:  First Appeared on AmeriGOrv.com website

 

PREPARING FOR THE CIRCUIT (The Grand Circle Part 1)

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the seriesThe Grand Circle

 By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers

Our next big adventure began when we picked up Monique’s brother, Philippe, and sister-in-law, Solveig, in Las Vegas and drove them back to our trailer parked in the Nellis Air Force Base RV park*.

Our first excursion with our French relations had been three years earlier, when we toured from Salt Lake City through the Sawtooth Mountains, into Yellowstone, over to a working cattle ranch in Oregon and down into the some of the world’s most beautiful spots in northern California.  Four of us living for four weeks in a 28-foot travel trailer.  Two words describe that 3,500-mile jaunt:  “SPECTACULAR” and “FUN.”

An unposed photo of Monique pouring over maps to choose our route

An unposed photo of Monique pouring over maps to choose our route

In preparation, we expected the same enjoyable experience over the five weeks as we motor around “The Grand Circle,” which takes in more of the world’s most inspiring spots, these in southern Utah and Colorado, through the Four Corners and into Arizona.  Monique poured over maps, travel books and Internet downloads for three months putting together a route to expose our guests to hundreds of miles of natural beauty, several Native American cultural events and a few surprises.

I’ll now revert to the “en route mode,” meaning that this series opens with the day-to-day blogs written before, during and after the journey. As on our Canada and Alaska trip last summer, how often were able to post depended on time and technology.

Time – Several days will fly by as we hitch up and drive for long hours, stopping along the way to enjoy many of the wonders surrounding us.  On travel days, we will end the day by parking, eating and, if time allows, taking a look at local sights.

Technology – Whenever I have cellphone service through AT&T, I can tether to my new MacBook Pro (I’m not getting product placement money for this) to connect to the Internet.  Last time we were in Zion, Bryce Canyon, Mesa Verde and other national parks, there was no cell service – and we prefer it that way, since it’s our opinion that these natural wonders should be soaked up free of electronic waves.  (That’s a mantra I keep repeating to myself when I’m not able to get online.)

Now a quick note about Philippe and Solveig.  Philippe retired as a three-star general in the French Army, with a distinguished career that exposed him to several memorable challenges.  Most important to us:  he has a wonderful sense of humor, which he honed while playing practical jokes on his troops.

One thing you’ll find reassuring is that he is a great fan of America and its way of life.  He once described to me the attitude of Europeans towards America as similar to a parent who disapproves of his child’s behavior, even though he is jealous of the child.

His wife of 40 years, Solveig, has been an important part of his life and career, being the perfect hostess and advisor to the newly commissioned officers serving under her husband.  We’ll never forget how surprised she was at the way we talked to people we met in RV parks, on hiking trails and in restaurants on our last trip – they never do that in Europe!

Solveig Gets Guidance from a German Hiker in Yosemite

Solveig Gets Guidance from a German Hiker in Yosemite

On our earlier trip, by the time we hit a trail in Yosemite National Park, we were delighted that she was the one starting conversations with hikers, particularly those who spoke French and German.  Incidentally, we all speak English (I don’t speak French).

Monique’s plans take us to many of the most beautiful places on Earth.  But it hurts her every time she had to bypass places that were too remote to visit in just five weeks on the road.  What we will see will still make this a never-to-be-forgotten journey for the four of us, and hopefully for you, too.

In an unsigned Comment to our San Diego blog, a reader wrote, “You see colorful people…Go have Breakfast or Lunch @ the Big Kitchen in Golden Hill Area located @ 30th and Grape.  Little be it known that Whoopi Goldberg worked there.” We consider that the type of interesting input from readers that we all learn from.  If you have experiences about places we missed while on our route, we’d all love to read about your favorite memories in the Comments section.

This Is Home for 4 Over the Next 5 Weeks

This Is Home for 4 Over the Next 5 Weeks

This week is hectic as we prepare to move everything we’ll need from our cabin into the trailer and recheck the tires, batteries, etc.  IT’S EXCITING!

From the “Never-Bored RVers,” We’ll see you on down the road.

First published on AmeriGOrv.com

* In reference to Nellis Air Force Base, in a future blog I will write about military campgrounds.

© All photos by Barry Zander.   All rights reserved