Sunday, June 17, 2012

Bryce Amphitheater Traverse Trail - Bryce N.P.

Hi all, Dianne here.  If you're tired of the Bryce Canyon scenery, you might want to skip this blog. I, for one, can't get enough of it!  In fact, the scenery on this hike was so amazing that I knew right away I'd need to make a slide show on Photobucket.  I'll provide the link at the bottom of the post if you'd like to see more amazing photos.  

My photos are taken with a little Canon Elph pocket camera, and I'm just a tourist; imagine what the photos would look like with someone who knew what they were doing behind a fancy camera.  

I've said it before, it's impossible to take a bad photo here. 

Roger and I were up for a good, long hike last Thursday, so we suited up in our hiking gear, packed a lunch, and bribed the dogs with treats as we made our escape.  After looking at the Bryce National Park hiking guide, we chose to try the Bryce Amphitheater Traverse 4.7 mile hike from Bryce Point.  We tweaked the route a bit by climbing back out of the canyon on the shorter (but steeper) Navajo Point trail, taking the part of that trail we had not done before.  The other alternative was to continue up the Queens Garden Trail, a more gradual ascent, but a trail we have already hiked this year (during our girls' recent visit).

We began by taking in the views from the Bryce Point overlook (see opening photos).  If you come to Bryce, you can see these views without hiking, as most people do.  Not content to just see the hoodoos from above, we started down the connector trail from Bryce Point and turned left on the Peekaboo Loop, taking it down, down, down to the canyon floor.

As on previous hikes here at Bryce, the prettiest scenery to me appears as you get down to eye level with it.

Pretty soon, the Peekaboo Trail started to live up to its name with views of the Wall of Windows.

The sky this day was even more brilliant blue than during the Hat Shop hike we took earlier in the week.

It was a gorgeous day for a hike; low 80s, low humidity, and brilliant sunshine.  It just doesn't get much better than that.  

Here's one of my favorite photos, to illustrate just how blue the sky looked against the red rock and green pine trees.  There were just enough white, fluffy clouds to really make it "pop."

We started to look for a good picnic spot, and this tunnel looked like an ideal place for a nice, shady lunch.  Unfortunately, once we got up to it we discovered a large group that looked to be a sports team with their coach.  They had the idea first, so we moved on.

The pink cliffs in the background of this photo are part of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument that Roger blogged about in our prior post.  I think the formation in this photo looks like a chocolate layer cake.

As we dug into our sandwiches and apples, we were entertained by not one but three separate horse tours as they made their way from the horse trail to the Peekaboo Loop trail.  One group had mules in addition to horses, and the mule riders had been given switches to prod them up the trail.  After watching them pass, I think if I ever take a horse tour, I'll make sure I get a horse, not a mule.

After lunch we left the Peekaboo Loop Trail and took a connector trail across the canyon bottom to the Navajo Loop Trail for our trek back up to the top.

There was beautiful scenery even down in the bottom of the canyon, just from a different perspective.
Soon after we joined the Navajo Loop Trail, we saw a side shoot for the "Two Bridges" rock formation.  Then it was time to go UP.  

This route shaved .7 of a mile off our hike, but instead of a gradual climb up the Queen's Garden Trail to Sunrise Point, it was a series of steep switchbacks to get up to Sunset Point to the shuttle bus stop.  We were glad we each had two hiking poles this trek.

Here's a shot looking down at the switchbacks we took to the top:

Once we reached the shuttle bus stop we looked down at our legs to see that we were both caked with dust.  

My new hiking boots look 10 years old already!

If you'd like to "take" the entire hike without the dust and sweat, here's a link to a slide show of the remaining photos of the hike:

Bryce Canyon Amphitheater Traverse Trail

Roger here.... The only thing I can add is that if you enjoyed the photos and have a couple minutes, the slide show is WELL worth the time.  I have done a lot of hiking.  This one is in my top 3.

There are two pet photos of the day, and neither one are really our pets.  I've been trying to get a good photo of the Steller's jay that hangs around our camp site.  (I had never seen one before we got here).  So far, the photo to the right is the best I could do.   To lure him out in the open, I put out my ground feeder and some corn and sunflower seed.  The first morning after that, I was thrilled to see all the seed gone.   Thinking that the jay would be back at any moment, I watched for a while... 

  ...only to realize how foolish I was to think the birds would get even a bite, with all the ground squirrels here!   


Diana said...

Gorgeous hike and photos!!! I agree that I noticed that the sky there was so much bluer than anywhere else - just amazing!

Valerie said...

Great pictures Dianne and Roger! I've loved watching your time in Zion and Bryce. Danny and I are doing a 10 day loop starting next week, and visiting Zion, Bryce, Page, Grand Canyon, Havasu and ending in Vegas. It's a trip for his (belated) 21st birthday and I can't wait to share those places with him. Thanks for sharing regularly, I live my dream retirement days vicariously through yours!

Valerie said...

Thanks for the great photos, Dianne and Roger. I love that Bryce hike. We did it once with the ladies hiking group and once with Emily and I. Danny and I are headed out that way next week for a 10 day hiking loop, taking in Zion, Bryce, Page, Grand Canyon, Havasu and ending in Vegas. It's a (belated) 21st birthday celebration and I can't wait to share those places with him. I love reading about your travels, I live my dream retirement vicariously through yours!