Anyway. May 8th
woke up to some colder than expected conditions this morning and made our way to Panguitch. Penguin sandwich. Then it was off to Bryce Canyon. We got to the parking lot for sunrise point and it was completely filled and claustrophobic with people milling around lost and confused.
We went then inspiration point and when we got to the canyon overlook it was amazing.
The world opened up before us but in front of this Utah mountain landscape was possibly the most incredible display of rock formations I've ever seen. Truly inspiring. Hundreds if not thousands of hoodoos stood beneath us like an audience of people. They were colored like orange creamsicles. Definitely some of the most enchanting scenery in Utah, we wish we could spend. Alas, we had other plans for the day. We hiked down the rim trail a little and spent the hour enjoying the place but one day I'd like to hike at the bottom of Bryce Canyon, on a trail winding around these pinnacles.
Then it was off to Tropic where I found another piano to play. We had a nice scenic drive thru Escalante and I was very pleased finally show Maggie the Grand Staircase National Monument I've talked about for so long. There's a very scenic overlook where you can see canyons dissecting the earth far the eye can see. All white, tan, orange and red rock with sparse pine trees, the Aquarius plateau and Henry mountains in the distance. The highway rides on top of these rocks like a roller coaster, canyons dropping down on either side.
We got to our destination, the spot where highway 12 crosses the Escalante River. We met too great older folks and packed our backpacks. Into the river we went! It had been cool all day, in the 50's or colder depending on the elevation. Suddenly in the canyon it was 80 degrees! I had thought this might happen but didn't truly expect it.
A fantastic hike, the Escalante carves a majestic canyon through the smooth orange and red, tan and white rocks. Huge vertical cliff faces everywhere you look and delicate cottonwood trees and quaking aspens along the river banks. We saw a beautiful Natural Bridge and various other arches. Sometimes walking on the trail or sometimes in the river, we finally came to rest in the perfect spot. We are happy, had chocolate, and cooked over our fire. It's still not dark at 8:40. Now it's time for bed after an easy and perfect day. Listening to birds singing and chirping, coming from all directions, echoing of the canyon walls.