When we first started planning this trip, I was pretty excited about visiting Bryce. Photographing the bizarre hoodoos, particularly at sunrise, was another item that was on my must-do list. Plus there were a couple of trails a short walk from the lodge that were within our level of expertise/fitness and crazy beautiful at the same time. Lots to look forward to.

We got to the park after a short and pleasant drive from Zion. It was drizzling when we arrived, so we tried to check in right away, but it was way too early and they told us to return at 4:00. OK, we figured it shouldn’t be too hard to find something to do and we were right. We got our first look at the canyon, and the hoodoos, from Inspiration Point. I’ve gotta tell you, Mother Nature sure is a strange bird. The hoodoos are just indescribable, all shades of oranges, whites, grays. The structures reminded me of those I had seen in caves in Virginia and West Virginia, except under a blue sky instead of a low ceiling. I knew I was going to enjoy photographing this place.

We went on and completely overloaded on the views at Bryce Point, Paria View and Sunset Point before heading back to the lobby a few minutes before 4:00. They made us wait again, which I felt was odd. Finally, at the stroke of 4:00, a nice lady started to check us in and we found out what was up: while upgrading the lodge’s plumbing the workers had busted the water main. No water, no they didn’t know when it would be back on, I’d be happy to get you a bag of ice from the kitchen. On the way to the room I saw a guy obviously opening a buried valve and sure enough we had running water in about an hour. No big deal.

Sunrise Point, BCNP, 7/31/12

The next morning I got up very early in order to shoot the sunrise while Patti elected to remain horizontal. As I was heading towards the door with my gear, the fire alarm went off. Loudly. Patti rolled out of bed, got dressed and joined me to walk to the rim of the canyon on a brisk morning before sunrise. She was thrilled. While waiting for the sun, we finally heard the alarm stop, so Patti retreated to the showers while I shot the amazing sunrise. The colors changed by the moment. That 20 minutes lived up to the anticipation.

After breakfast Patti and I packed up some water and the cameras and walked down the Navajo Loop Trail, through Wall Street and back up the Queen’s Garden Trail. About 3 hours and it also lived up to the hype. The canyon is even more impressive when you’re down in it. We drove the park that afternoon, from Rainbow Point back to the lodge. A couple of adult beverages, a nice dinner and we were ready for a mellow night. I was heading to bed, where Patti was already into her book, when the fire alarm went off. Again. Twenty minutes of standing around outside (at least we had put our clothes on, two British girls were out there in their night gowns wrapped in towels) and we were let back in.

The next morning I quickly discovered that there was no hot water. Great. After a dirty breakfast (we were dirty, not the food), we went back to our room where hot water awaited. To be fair, all of these escapades were a result of a single event, the water main break, and they did give us a break on the bill.

Interestingly, while Bryce easily met all of my high expectations, we would probably prefer to return to either Zion or the North Rim before returning here. This isn’t to knock Bryce in any way. It’s just how much we loved the other two. The reality is, we’ll be back to all of them.

Sunrise, BCNP, 7/31/12

Wall Street, BCNP, 7/31/12

Navajo Loop Trail, BCNP, 7/31/12

Queen Victoria, BCNP, 7/31/12

Queen’s Garden Loop Trail, BCNP, 7/31/12

Natural Bridge, BCNP, 7/31/12