Bryce at Zero Degrees
At over 8,000 feet, Bryce Canyon National Park is quite different than much of southern Utah. In early January, that means it’s COLD. It was especially a shock after the warmth of Death Valley. Thus began week two of my “see-the-desert-again-before-returning-to-Alaska” road trip.
After a great time in Death Valley and a fantastic show at Cirque du Soleil in Vegas, I dropped my new friend Tammy at the airport and headed straight to Bryce. After a sunset drive through Zion, I arrived at night. My intention was to camp, but with overnight lows going below zero, I’m not afraid to admit that I wimped out. I booked myself into one of the hotels just outside the entrance. Ahhh…. bliss.
I used to be all about winter camping, regularly spending 2 nights camped solo at 10,000 feet, and I once spent Christmas to New Year’s camping at Capitol Reef National Park. But I’m too old for that now!
For those who care about such matters, Bryce is not actually a canyon. It’s technically an ampitheatre. No matter. What’s important is that it is ridiculously beautiful. And for those into industrial tourism (“I don’t like to get out of my car”) it’s a delight, because the best views are from the road. Which is heaven when you are a photographer trying to get pictures in zero degree January weather and you want to rush back to your warm car!
My first trip to Bryce was in 2000. I was on a 11 day road trip vacation through southern Utah, and I planned to hit Bryce at sunset, then drive through to northern Arizona. But I was so enchanted that I stayed two nights. I always intended to go back, but from my home in Colorado it was just a little bit too far to easily hit on most road trips. And as we all know, life has a way of interfering sometimes.
Just a too-short two nights; time to leave Bryce and head to Canyonlands to meet up with my best camping partner ever, Sandy. I do plan to return to Bryce (yes!), and hopefully it will be before another 12 years goes by. It was heartbreaking to rush through Escalante and Capitol Reef, but I did manage to grab a couple of decent shots.
Ahhh… Capitol Reef. In this digital age it makes me a bit sad that most of my trips here (and my best photos) are from before I went digital. If you haven’t been to Capitol Reef – go there. Actually, don’t. One of it’s charms is that it’s basically ignored by tourists.
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