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Road Trip: Bryce Canyon

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The hardest part about today’s post was selecting the photos you see here, out of the hundreds I took just on this one day we spent at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah.

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Yesterday we ran into a couple of Belgian tourists who told us that they’d encountered a lot of snow at Bryce just a few days before, and I’d worried for a second about the lack of appropriate gear both for the car and for ourselves. But except for a tiny drizzle at Red Canyon, the afternoon opened up to a beautiful sunny sky by the time we got to Bryce.

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For whatever reason there was no personnel at the main gate, so we drove in and simply followed the road. There were remnants of snow here and there…

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but the snow only added to the magic of the landscape…

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Speaking of the vista, how does your spirit not soar when your eyes behold this?

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I know when climbers see a mountain, they have this urge to scale it. I suspect my fear of height is a big reason why I never get that urge, but when I’m around a couple of experienced hikers like on this particular day, I will set out on foot in the name of photography, no matter how vigorous the trail may be, and in spite of inappropriate footwear!

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By the time we got down the first section of the very steep trail, we knew we were in intermediate to difficult territory. It was getting cold, but I refused to be the one to ask to go back!  And I desperately wanted these pics:

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We knew that we would not be able to complete the entire path before darkness descended on us, but we wanted to see how much ground we could cover by sunset. I was both secretly excited to catch some dusk lighting as well as fearful out of my night blindness issues. The signage concerning wild life didn’t help with my anxiety either–I would not be able to outrun the two guys in my group should we encounter a grumpy bear–but once you commit to a hike, you have to see it through. The following photos were my rewards for a tough hike:

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No bears, no frostbite–just some blisters and a lot of eye candy to last a lifetime. We probably only completed 60% of the entire hike trail after 90 minutes of rapid walking up and down an incline, but we had left another person from our group behind at the car so we were also in a hurry to get back. Next time I’m bringing better shoes and my headlamp (they’re both somewhere in my closet!).

Our last encounter as we exited the park in pitch darkness?

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