Thursday, January 7, 2010

Road Trip Day 22- Bryce Canyon NP Navajo Loop Trail

Its the stuff Wiley E. Coyote and Roadrunner cartoons are made of. Rocky spires, dramatic cliffs, and towering canyons all painted with dramatic shades of red. Even the road to the park has a dramatic flair to it with drive through arches and brightly colored boulders.

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An 18 mile scenic drive takes you along the length of Bryce’s many amphitheaters and scenic viewpoints. Our first stop was Sunset Point. Sunset Point is a viewing area along the Rim Trail and its magical. You walk out towards what appears to be the end of the earth on to discover a vast amphitheater filled with hoodoos. “Wow”. That’s all I could say when I first saw it all. Wow.

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I immediately wanted to climb down to the bottom and stand amongst those hoodoos. The Navajo Loop Trail was the path to the bottom and the bottom was 500 feet below us. As we started the downhill portion we were immediately told that we were crazy for bringing a couple of two year olds on the hike. Naysayers warned us that the climb up was much too hard for toddlers. I smiled politely and told them our kids were pros. They shook their heads and mumbled under their breath. Yes, the trail down is steep and there are lots of edges but if you keep your kids on the inside of the trail and hold their hands, they CAN do it. We went from one switch back to the next until we were suddenly surrounded by steep narrow canyons carved by eons of wind.

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Trees sprouted up in the narrow canyons, reserving their needles for their tops  where the light was plentiful. We walked from one slot canyon to the next, amazed at just how high those canyon walls were. the view from the bottom was just as incredible as the top. I remember hearing somewhere that an early settler once said “its a hell of a place to lose a cow”. I can’t even imagine. Without the trail, I never would have found my way out.

Eventually, we had to begin our climb back to the top. At first we jogged but as things got steeper, the only one who still had a skip in their step was Mari.

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Towards the end, Paul picked the kids up and ran a couple switchbacks just to speed things along. Ben was much more interested in throwing rocks off the switchbacks than walking up them. 1.3 miles later, we had completed our loop and conquered another hike.

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We gazed out into the Bryce Amphitheater once more before getting back in the car and heading further into the park. I pondered what it must have been like to be the first settlers to stumble upon this place. We knew what was coming but they had no idea…

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For more fabulous travel photos check out Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday here.



13 comments:

Roy Scribner said...

Hah! One of my early childhood memories was walking down the the Grand Canyon with my parents. Don't these naysayers remember being kids?

Roy Scribner said...

Hah! One of my early childhood memories was walking down the the Grand Canyon with my parents. Don't these naysayers remember being kids?

Luann said...

LOVE it!!! So great that you are taking the kids with you on your adventures. We have always taken our 2-year-old with us too. Every hike he goes farther and he absolutely loves it. Your kids are lucky!

Shannon said...

That place is incredible, isn't it?! We went through there when the girls were just 4 months old, so there wasn't much hiking for us. Someday we'll go back though! Great post!

Amy @ The Q Family said...

Amazing pictures!! I think a lot of time adults in general underestimate children's strength and endurance. :)

Good for you to take the kids for this fun adventure.

wandermom said...

Excellent job - and well done to your little ones too. A steep hike isn't easy on those little legs.

familyadventureguidebooks said...

You did it!!!! Just call you super mom Sharlene. I'm sure that's a hike they'll never forget.

Carolina said...

I would have needed a lift probably, I'm so out of shape. Again, I'm going to refer to your posts for a trip to Arizona. I'm crazily thinking that I want to road trip it from Bay Area for Spring Break. Did you go to Zion too?

Sharlene said...

Carolina I did go to Zion but it was late July and like 110 degrees so we just drove through and hit up the visitors center. My goal is to get back there this Spring and explore alot more. Its beautiful though!

Dominique said...

Bryce Canyon is somewhere we've talked about going one of these days. I'm sure we'd love it for taking photos, as your photos are pretty amazing!

BoufMom9 said...

That is just breath-taking. truly!
WOW!
And that is why I need to travel west....

Paul said...

Great post monks! That was definitely an amazing day.

Helene said...

Wow...it's absolutely amazing! I can't believe how well your kids do on trips like this! I'd have probably lost at least 1 or 2 of my kids!