I woke up at 445am in the stifling car and decided to drive back up the road in Great Basin so we could do our hike to see the Bristlecone Pines. It was very early. I saw the sunrise and got a few good pictures climbing the road. I woke up Kristie when we got to the trailhead. We were out hiking at 6 and were done by 8. It was a bit difficult due to the elevation. You could certainly feel it. But, it was also very cool to see trees that were alive when Jesus was here. These trees were 5000 years old! They surely did not look like it! There were gnarled and half dead but they certainly were that old. There were displays pointing out when the trees were “born.” Some dead trees had seeming obituaries as well. All and all a very cool hike.
We then stopped at the visitors center to briefly and took a picture next to the sign. Due to our late night and my being tired, we cut Capital Reef National Park out of the itinerary. We headed out towards Bryce Canyon. It was not too bad of a drive – about 4 hours. We drove through the middle of nowhere. Kristie was dying for breakfast but we did not come across a town offering food until the third hour of the drive. Here we stopped at the El Bambi Café. It was not good but served breakfast. Kristie enjoyed her eggs. I hated my pan fried hamburger and railed against people who stay in dead end jobs in these small towns. We then completed the hour drive to Bryce.
A surprisingly cool spot on the drive came in Dixie National Forest. Here we drove into Red Canyon. This looked like the inspiration for Thunder Mountain. It looks even more like it than the real inspiration – Sedona, AZ. There were also a couple of awesome arch bridges that the road passed under.
Bryce was awesome – though small. The park road stretches about 16 miles along the overlooks over the hoodoo erosive features. Since it was pouring we decided to start out on the farther – less impressive – section of the park. Thus we began at Rainbow Point and worked backwards towards Bryce and Sunset Points. These were the most spectacular! But, we didn’t realize this until we got there. It was fun to use the waterproof camera to take some pictures in the rain. We also saw a huge arch called Natural Bridge. I stopped to get a magnet at the gift shop and my phone fell out of the car. Not good… more scratches on the back case. At least it is not on the front I guess!
Our hotel is surprisingly nice. It is the Days Inn in Hurricane Utah. We passed by JB’s restaurant where we’ll probably eat tomorrow night. I have fond memories of that place from when I was here with my family in high school. They have a salad bad. Tomorrow is Zion. Hopefully hiking the Narrows and tubing down the Virgin River.