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Bryce Canyon National Park 

(Reprint from News: June 18, 2001)

June 17, 2001

 

After my donut breakfast at the Coral Pink Sand Dunes, I drove a few hours north through red sandstone country to Bryce Canyon National Park.  Despite its name, Bryce really isn't really a canyon but rather it's a large amphitheatre that's etched into the side of a long plateau.  As one early pioneer mused after seeing the thousands of eroded rock spires here, "That's a hell of a place to lose a cow."  

 

Here's one of my favorite songs about the West.  This is Willie Nelson singing My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys.

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At 8,000 feet in elevation, Bryce Canyon is one of the highest National Parks in southern Utah.  It's about 4,000 feet higher than Zion Canyon, so Bryce is a lot cooler than Zion, which is great if you visit in the summer but not so great if you visit in the winter, a fact that I once learned the hard way.  About 15 years ago, when I was young and foolish (as opposed to now when I'm old and foolish), I stopped at empty Bryce Canyon one frigid afternoon in January and decided to sleep in my Toyota truck in the campground there.  Big mistake.  

 

The three feet of snow in the campground should've been a warning.  Or the fact that the campground was deserted.  Nope... I went ahead and pulled into the empty campground, cooked up a quick dinner, then hopped into the back of my truck as the sun went down.  As it got dark, it got really cold... then it got REALLY cold...  and then it kept getting colder -- definitely a Three Dog Night, and maybe a Four Dog Night.  I shivered in my thin sleeping bag as the temperature that evening dipped to a brisk 5 degrees below zero, and groggily emerged from my frosty truck the next morning with icicles hanging from my nose.  Yep, that's the last time I ever camped at Bryce.

 

In the summer, though, it's great.

       

Above left:  Sandstone tunnel in Red Canyon.  

Above right:  Mob scene at Bryce (well, whattya expect in June?)

Above left:  Spires at Bryce Canyon.

 

 

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