Sunday, December 20, 2009

Day 46- Dec. 20- Bryce Canyon

Good morning from the hotel just outside Bryce Canyon!!

We decided to treat ourselves to brunch this morning. As we sat down at the table, my dad whipped out his numerous pages of maps that he had printed out of every intersection in the park.

The time while waiting for our food must not be wasted. There was much planning, measuring and plotting to be done before we enter the park.

(Keep in mind there is only one road through the park with 12 viewpoints)

He is very carefully marking the edge of the paper with the distance scale for the map so he can see exactly how many miles there are between stops. It is very important you be exact because if you mess up the distance, we might be one minute off the plan.

I'd like to take a minute to show an engineer's approach to sightseeing in a national park-

Let's see,

With a distance of 18 miles from beginning to end at 35 mph, if we went straight through, it would take us 31 minutes 27 seconds.

But since Dana likes to take tons of pictures, we will figure 10 minutes at each view point. There are 12 view points so that is 2 hours.

If I allow 2 minutes for potty stops at a certified bathroom and 1 minute for a tree stop, we will add about 10 minutes.

So we should complete our sightseeing of the park in about 2 hours 41 minutes and 27 seconds.

Welcome to Bryce Canyon National Park!!
It may have been sunny, but when taking this picture, it was FREEZING!!!

First stop...

"Hey, dad, look at that trail. That looks neat."

"No thanks. You go ahead. I'll watch."

So down I go. It was .8 miles and 320 feet down into what is called the Queen's Garden. Only pictures can describe these views...

About halfway down, I had to look back up at where my dad stood at the viewpoint. He is the gray line in the center of the picture at the top, left edge of the snow line.
I had a critical decision to make here. It would be a very long walk back up so do I continue or turn around and call it good.
Well, I felt fine, so continue...

And that was 320 feet straight up at 8000 feet!!!

Now it's time to see what dad saw from the view point...
I wonder if you can throw a hoolahoop (sp?) and get it over the top of one of those?

Oh, isn't that cute!!! They were probably in their late 80's and were seeing the park with a cane in the snow. That's going to be me when I'm old. Don't stuff me in some home!!
Next stop...
My dad described this as an artist's creation...

Every point brought different views...

Like a castle only better!! These unbelievable holes were created by the rain and melting snow slowly seeping into the ground and rock from the top. Below that ground and rock is a layer of sandstone. The moisture then works its way through the sandstone out to the cliff's edge and begins to dissolve the layers of calcium-carbonate cement. Grain by grain the rock crumbles to sand and the recess deepens.

I'm queen of the world!!!!

It has now been 2 hours and, due to Dana's 45 minute hike, we have only accomplished 3 view points.

The engineer must re-calculate...

As I laugh, "What's next, dad?"

I have to joke with him and give him a hard time. It keeps him young!! He dishes it right back and we both laugh!!

As he adjusts his glasses that were sitting crooked on this nose and still are after being adjusted, he says, "Well, it looks like the Natural Bridge is 9 miles, so let's go forward."

Then, a couple miles ahead, we saw a sign for Swamp Canyon.

Oooo... Let's see that first...

I couldn't figure out how to show you this view because it was so expansive, so I took this panoramic set of pictures. I started to my left and worked my way to the right...


Now, that would be one heck of a sled ride down through there!!
As we traveled south through the park, we gained in elevation and the piles of snow began to mount. The most amazing thing around here is the fact that the snow is pure white. It has been about a week since the last storm and yet there is no dirty snow! So pristine!!

I just can't really put many words to these stops. Pictures speak all the views themselves...

How in the world does the top half stay on there?

As we went to leave the Agua Canyon, this bird flew up to the fence, looked and us and made his way towards the car.

"Hey, lady. What you got in that car? I know you have food. I know how to fly in your window and get it too!"

Look at those mischievous eyes...
We had now exceeded our engineering time allowed by a couple hours!
But even dad agreed it was worth every second!!

Now, it was time to move forward and get about halfway to the Grand Canyon- about 150 miles.

After leaving the park, we pulled into this Chevron station to fill up with gas.
Do you notice anything unusual about the pump?
There's no credit card slot or any way to pay outside. Hmmmm... strange. I switched pumps and found the same thing. Since I like to know the story on everything, I walked into the store and said, "I notice your pumps don't have a credit card slot? Why is that?"

The lady stepped back and squinted her face, "My dear, you are in the back country!!!"

"OK. So people steal them or something?"

"NO! We are behind California, you know."

With my own puzzled look, "As far as..."

While punching in the pump number I wanted to use into some old machine with lights and round buttons that looked like an old typewriter, she responded with, "We don't have that modern stuff, you know."

Oh, OK. Funny she should say they were behind California, not Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma!

The odd thing to me was this station was fairly new with all modern facilities, so they must have gotten a good deal on old pumps and a register.

WOW!! What a day at Bryce Canyon!! For both my dad and me, this was the most breathtaking place we have ever seen. As we left the area, we got this small perspective of what those red sculptures looked like from the bottom. But these were only a few hundred feet tall. Welcome to Arizona...

We crossed the border around 8:00 pm and as we entered Page, AZ started our search for a hotel. I wanted cheap and my dad wanted a hot tub. We spent probably an hour walking through the door of every hotel in the area and finally settled on the Motel 6.
None of the hotels had hot tubs, so my dad will have to settle with the bath tub :)

I would like to add a note here at the bottom-

When I was growing up, the details of my dad, like checking the map 300 times and plotting and planning our every move, bugged the crap out of me. But now that I am a bit older and have lost some family members very close to my heart, I appreciate all the character that he is, it doesn't seem to bother me anymore. I know someday, just like my other family members, he will be gone and I will miss his quarks.

He has taught me not to sweat the small stuff. He has also taught me to learn how to let others be exactly the way they are and enjoy them for their differences!! Life is too short; it's better to let go and enjoy the time I have with him rather than worry about the fact that he has smothered my dash with maps!! He has taught me that when something gets on my nerves, before reacting, think "What difference will this make on my life in a month?" If the answer is "none," let it go. Only use energy on things that will impact my future. We are having a ball together!

The interesting thing is I always thought my ways of thinking, approach to things, and sense of humor came from my mom's side. I think this trip has taught me that much of it actually came from my dad.

Good night and tomorrow is a big day at the Grand Canyon!!

No comments:

Post a Comment