On one of my trips between Salt Lake and Phoenix I decided to make a slight detour and stop at Bryce Canyon National Park. I was hoping for some gorgeous photos of soaring ruddy cliffs and orangey spires in the setting sun. The weather had very different ideas. The entire canyon was smothered in fog, from the rim you could hardly see anything below.
On a whim I decided to hike down into the canyon, hoping for a few awesome shots. I was absolutely unprepared for such a hike, I was wearing sandals, no water, and no real rain protection. But, the Navajo Loop trail is just a little more than a mile, descending down the canyon walls, through Wall Street, wandering along the bottom of the canyon with the creek and the pine trees, and then back up again. I figured it couldn’t be that bad.
This is Wall Street, it’s easy to imagine these soaring cliffs as enormous sky scrapers, right? The trail was wet and pretty slick, I carefully picked my way down the switchbacks, big camera in hand. It’s hard to imagine how enormous these cliffs are, how tiny the hikers seem. But, lawsy, those views!!!
From the bottom of the canyon looking back towards the rim, I felt like I was in a completely different world from the one at the surface. There weren’t may people there, and it only added to the creepy-beautiful feeling, eerie and other-worldly and heart-breakingly quiet.
The weather cleared up as I made my way out of Wall Street and onto the rest of the Loop trail, there were cedar trees and sherberty colored stripes and outcropping hoodoos everywhere.
As I began to ascend the canyon wall, the weather began to make me a little nervous. The drizzle of rain turned much more sleety, it got colder and the wind whistled through the formations. The trail was slick and muddy, my sandals slapped and slipped on the rocks. I carefully picked my way upwards, trying to shield my camera from the rain and simultaneously keep my balance with my very inappropriate footwear. It got foggier and foggier, I could really only see about 20 feet ahead of me when I came across Thor’s Hammer, one of the more photographed formations in Bryce Canyon.
Within 30 seconds, the fog had swallowed this formation completely. I hurried as quickly as I could back to the rim, picking my way, slipping and sliding on the now completely empty trail. The fog topside was thicker and heavier than before, I was relieved to get back in my dry car and crank up the heat. Even though this was a very quick stop, I really loved my short hike and these images.
Have you been to Bryce Canyon? Have you ever hiked in the fog? Tell me your stories!