Hi all, Dianne here. Our second full day near Bryce Canyon National park involved hopping the shuttle bus here at Ruby's Inn Campground and hopping off at Bryce Point to hike the 4-mile Hat Shop Trail. No dogs this time, of course, so they were provided treats and remained behind in the air-conditioned comfort of the RV.
The spectacular views began the minute we exited the bus at Bryce Point. It's hard to pick the prettiest of the bunch, so here are a few at the beginning of the hike:
In order to really experience the hoodoos at Bryce Canyon, you really do need to descend from the rim and hike down. "Down" being the key word here....
We started out looking down onto the scenery, then we were eye-level... (my favorite photo above)
The first two miles of the hike were all downhill, and even though I'm smiling, we had no illusions as to how the return hike slog would be. We didn't even need water as we hiked down, not even breaking a sweat, but we did need to watch our footing on the loose gravel narrow trail, much of which clung to the side of a hill. We were really glad we had our hiking poles, and would be even more glad during the two-mile, 1075-foot slog back to the top.
We passed some ancient bristlecone pine trees. (Factoid: the average age of a bristlecone pine tree is 1000 years; the famous "Methuselah" bristlecone pine tree in California is over 4800 years old!)
We stopped now and then to gawk at the formations... (and yes, the sky really is that blue, which also makes for brilliant, cold, starry nights here at this high elevation.)
Finally we reached the hat shop formations (also see opening photo).
After snapping some photos we reluctantly turned tail, knowing what awaited us on the trip back.
As we retraced our steps back to the trail head, we were very glad that we'd saved all of our water on the trip down. The humidity is so low here, the sun is so bright, and the air is so thin at this altitude that I was huffing and puffing almost immediately. The thought ran through my mind "My legs are still tired from yesterday's 4-hour hike; how in the world will I make it all the way back up??"
The answer to that question is slowly, and one foot in front of the other. We stopped to eat our lunch and rest at a shady spot mid-way back up. Once again I was amazed at what a brilliant blue the sky is. That is one of the things I remembered most about our visit to Bryce Canyon 14 years ago. At the time, fresh from a dreary midwest winter, I couldn't believe my eyes.
Did I mention that the two-mile return trip was entirely uphill??!!
Here and there we were rewarded with more magnificent scenery:
Then more plodding...
As we neared the end of the hike, the trail leveled off a bit...
Then one last steep incline and we were UP!
Was it worth it? YOU BET! Roger and I are just thankful that we still have good health and are able to even do these hikes at all.
The pet photo of the day was taken by the staff at Doggie Dude Ranch while our four-legged "kids" were staying there when our human kids came to visit. It is such a good photo of Bandido that I downloaded it for my own! He is such a happy guy and makes us laugh and smile every single day.
Not to be outdone, his little sister Tequila decided to mug for the camera, too:
Love that grin!