I am standing on the edge of the canyon. I am trying to comprehend the scenery below. My eyes are feeding my entire body with this out of this world image. I feel my heart beating faster, I feel warm sensation in my legs, I am almost dizzy. I never felt anything like this before in my life. Tears of happiness are rolling on my face. What I see is not just breathtaking, it is overpowering. It is Bryce Canyon National Park!
All photos by Jakub Jasinski http://www.jakubjasinskiphotography.com/
What I described above, was my first encounter with the park, over twenty years ago. Never before and after scenery made such a huge impression on me. This park is not just another gorgeous view. It is an incredibly creative piece of art. This is a sculpture and the vibrant painting at the same time. Hiking into the canyon felt like entering a magical land. All around me there were fascinating rock formations colored with shades of pink, oranges, red and white. Even the ground was red! Bright green juniper trees added contrasting accents to the scene.
Despite its name, Bryce Canyon is actually a cluster of amphitheatres, made of colorful pinnacles called hoodoos. The name given to the rock layer that forms hoodoos is the Claron Formation. This layer has several rock types including siltstones and mudstones but is predominantly limestone. The stunning colors of the rock result from oxidized chemicals in the stone. Dominating red, orange, and pink come from iron. Hoodoos range in size from that of an average human to heights exceeding a 10-story building.
My second visit to the park took place in late March, fifteen years after my first visit. With low temperatures and snow covered ground the candyland atmosphere was gone, but what emerged was a frozen beauty. Hoodoos may look like delicate ornamental sculptures, but they are being shaped by powerful elements – rushing water and ice. Water from melting snow runs down crevices, rocks tumble, and gravel and pebbles shake loose from the sides of the canyon’s rock formations. Each winter and spring, just like for thousands years before, another transformation of the canyons is taking place. Nothing at Bryce Canyon National Park remains the same for long.
Bryce is a popular park. Best months to visit are June and September. Most visitors arrive in May through September. Park’s high altitude provides relatively pleasant temperatures even during the summer months – 80°F average in July. In winter, the park is covered with snow. Most roads are plowed. Bryce Canyon Lodge is the only accommodation available in the park. It needs to be reserved well in advance. Bryce Canyon has two campgrounds. There is plenty of other lodging in the area. I stayed in Stone Canyon Inn and I would highly recommend it. This is not another faceless place. I liked the the mountain architecture, beautiful views and my favourite – a hot tub!