When we arrived at Bryce Canyon this morning for our 4 mile, 4 hour, 1000’ elevation change backcountry hike to a hoodoo formation called Hat Shop, we were greeted with haze on the horizon and filling the canyons. We were amazed, because up to now every day was crystal clear and the sky the bluest blue. We figured it was probably moisture from the recent showers and would soon clear.
Off we went on our most ambitious hike yet. This trail led down one side of the canyon, around the end, and up the other side, around and down and up again and finally to the Hat Shop.
We hadn’t cleared the top of the ridge before being wowed by some unexpected beauty.
It took a while to get past these spires, with everyone framing their own shots,
but eventually we made it down the slope
up and around, down and up again along that pink strip in the distance. That slope on the left end of the strip
looked like this when we finally reached it.
At the top we found the Hat Shop, so called, I think, because the balanced rocks look like hats on display racks.
with a bit of imagination.
In the distance the rim trail continues 18 miles around the perimeter of the park.
The Hat Shop was our turn-around point. We found a friendly hiker to take our picture, then we started back the way we came.
Duane, Ruth Ann, Stacy, me.
down, and up, and down,
and way up,
we slowly snaked our way back to the parking lot.
Time for a well earned lunch.
To fill out the day we visited the only two viewpoints we’d missed before. By this time we’d learned that the haze on the horizon was Colorado wildfire smoke. Drat! It would have to blow over here and mess up the view!
To round out the afternoon, we drove to Panguitch for a bit of shopping and some ice cream. We were dismayed to find the town closed on Sunday. After a bit of scouting, we spied this little place. Not only was it open, but it had good hand dipped ice cream. Yay! We enjoyed our treat on the porch then drove home to do our own things for a couple of hours.
At 6pm we headed back toward the park for sunset pictures. We stopped along the way for dinner, then entered the park in time for the sunset.
Compare this picture taken this evening
with this one taken 4 days ago.
We were in time to watch the orange sun set in the haze
and the moon rise in a fairly clear sky.
Exiting the park we found mule deer grazing by the road.
Back home we went to bed early for our last early hike tomorrow.
Louise, Ruth Ann, Stacy, Duane