Litter! (Tossing sunflower seeds, nut shells, and food scraps on the ground is rude and unacceptable. Yes, it may be biodegradable, but it’s not native to the desert environment, it’s an eyesore to your fellow hikers, and it will take a long time to decompose) #leavenotrace
Okay, so I know that it’s called Bryce Canyon, but technically it’s the top portion of a long eroded staircase that gradually descends all the way down into the state of Arizona. Natural amphitheaters – large circular hollows in the rock – are filled with strange and fascinating shapes called Hoodoos. The Native Americans tell stories of how these tall skinny spires of rock were once people, transformed by the trickster god due to disobedience. One cannot help but notice the strange, mysterious-like quality of this area. Hiking down into the amphitheater was striking; I felt dwarfed by the mammoth rock pinnacles that cast ominous shadows about me.
From the top, I could only stare. Although it’s rather a small park, Bryce Canyon definitely has a uniqueness to in that draw tourists from all over the world.
Nope, that’s not a typo. There’s a district within Capitol Reef national park named after the plentiful fruit orchards planted by Mormons in the late 1800’s. It’s a spectacular place, full of lush greenery due to the confluence (that’s a fancy word for junction) of a creek and river. The surrounding desert region protects this little pocket of productivity making it a cozy little haven amid the sandstone cliffs.
And let’s talk about these cliffs for a moment, shall we? Before arriving to the park, I found its name, Capitol Reef, somewhat odd. Apparently the term reef denotes a barrier, since early explorers felt that this geological fold of rock was impassable. Capitol refers to the white dome-like structures of Navajo sandstone. Personally, I think they look more like scoops of vanilla ice cream.
But back to Fruita.
Visitors are allowed to pick their own fruit and eat whatever they like while within the park boundary. This means that each day I visited, I would snag a juicy apple for a pre-hike snack. The mule deer hang around, yearning for me to throw them a morsel. For those wishing to take apples out of the park, there’s a self-pay station based on the honor system. The best part? It’s only a dollar a pound! That’s cheaper (and fresher) than the grocery store varieties.
I think all national parks should have some sort of edible goodness available. Just sayin’.
I’m not talking about that ridiculous game you probably last played as an infant or with an infant. I’m referring to this glorious 10-mile hike that took me deep into Canyonlands national park. The jury’s still out on why exactly it’s called Peekaboo, yet I have a couple of theories.
Most of the hike is filled with steep rock faces you’re able to peer over, catching marvelous glimpses of canyons
Dips in the rock collect runoff rain water and become home to a myriad of tiny critters. An entire ecosystem lives in these potholes.
Petroglyphs with ancient etched rock pictures remind hikers that they’re only a speck on the history of this land
Erosion has left a couple windows of rock open, allowing brave souls to scramble up and take catch sight of the other side
Whatever the reason, I did my fair share of peeking on my journey. In 5.5 hours I ran into only two fellow humans. This is ideal for me – solitude with a sprinkling of personal contact. (The ravens* kept me company; their wide array of noises only got on my nerves once two of them began to follow me.)
Canyonlands is a special place. The desolateness of the desert coupled with the cloudless sky and fresh air invoked feelings of true freedom. And the sights, naturally, were phenomenal.
If you’re ever in the area, you should really take a peek. 🙂