I went on a Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion National Parks tour with my family when I was 12 years old. Granted, I only brought my flip-flops (hello naivety), but I thought we were going to be going on a lot of hikes. Instead, we drove from viewpoint to viewpoint and snapped photos of what I perceived as the EXACT SAME view. I cannot even begin to describe my disappointment with this style of travel. These canyons are gorgeous and Kathryn and I did plenty of driving to lookouts, and while the views are incredible each time and I appreciate them, in my 12 year old mind that was a huge failure. Having the opportunity go return to these parks and hike into them is literally a dream come true. The Grand Canyon was a huge success, and it was now time to tackle Bryce.
Bryce Canyon certainly boasts in own kind of beauty. Hiking into the towering red hoodoos of Bryce lit my soul on fire with such joy. I love nature. Hiking into the depths of canyons, the peaks of mountains, across rivers and into deserted valleys makes me feel alive and energized; ready to take on life with my arms wide open. The start of our trek, per usual at most national parks, was cluttered with too many tourists. I know this is ironic since I was one too, but too many people really kills the ambiance that you get when you hike solo. Once Kathryn and I reached the canyon floor, we found a way to escape the crowds by jumping into a dry riverbed and hiking upstream. The people quickly dissipated and pretty soon it was just the two of us exploring the riverbed’s outlets into radon slots in the canyons; I was in heaven. After wandering around for an hour or so and stopping for a lunch break, we made our way back to the main trail and began the steep climb back to the top.
While taking pictures on the canyon rim we met Alexander and Ethan, two boys on vacation from Florida. We got to chatting with them and ended up doing another (much easier) hike to a lookout point where we had fun taking pictures and I even convinced all of them to go near the edge. That was a big deal for both Ethan and Kathryn as they are a little afraid of heights. At one point Kathryn and I posed for a picture of us on these rocks as the boys went over to the lookout to snap some photos…apparently we were the talk of the canyon and I heard Alexander yell, “She’s crazy!” as I swung my feet over the ledge. We spent the rest of that sunny afternoon with them before heading off for out next big adventure. Bryce Canyon: success!