Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sunset in Bryce Canyon ~ Bryce Canyon National Park ~ Utah

We have seen some beautiful sights in Bryce Canyon National Park but hope to see even more.  We have been to 13 of the 14 viewpoints but the one we’ve not seen is Fairyland Point which has an elevation of 2365 meters (7758’).  We decided that we should go there to see the sunset tonight as we are leaving Bryce Canyon in the morning.
The view from Fairyland Point in Bryce Canyon National Park
Fairyland Point in Bryce Canyon

Fairyland Point is the most northerly viewpoint in Bryce Canyon.  Just after you enter Bryce Canyon National Park and before you enter the park gates, you will see a sign that leads you to Fairyland Point.
Keith and dog Maggie enjoy the view
Bryce Canyon National Park
The clouds have moved in, which does make a difference for sunset photos but we are so glad we didn’t miss seeing this Fairyland Point, it is beautiful.  Even Maggie, our dog is enjoying the view! Pets must be leashed when at the camping and view areas and are not allowed on trails. 
Hoodoos at rim of Fairyland Point
Hoodoos at Fairyland Point in Bryce Canyon
We’ve walked the rim at Fairyland Point and the clouds are interfering with the sunset which will be happening soon so we are off to another viewpoint where we’re hoping the clouds won’t be blocking the effects of the sunset.

The sunset deepens the color on the hoodoos
Sunsets on hoodoos at Sunset Point, Bryce Canyon
The expectations for the sunset are almost forgotten as we see the incredible sights before us.  Sometimes I need to remember to just enjoy what I see, not just what I expect.  Hoodoos are an odd-shaped rock or pinnacle left after the results of years of erosion and Bryce Canyon has the highest concentration of hoodoos on Earth.  What a view and I am enjoying it!
View of late sunshine on hoodoos
Sunset Point, Bryce Canyon National Park
We are now at Sunset Point which overlooks the views of the Bryce Amphitheater.  Geologists say the forces that began this formation known as Table Cliff and Paunsaugunt Plateau began over 10 million years ago. Impossible to realize all that has occured during that time and the sight we see now is absolutely amazing.
Warm orange colors of the hoodoos
Rows of hoodoos at Sunset Point, Bryce Canyon
There are many amenities in Bryce Canyon National Park that make it easy for visitors to stay awhile.  They have camping, lodging, tours, horseback riding, hiking, interpretive programs, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and a general store for supplies.  All of these are available depending on the season, check their website for availability before your visit.

roots of pine tree are above ground
Tree sits atop the rock in Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon sits in the National Forest that was once named the Powell National Forest after John Wesley Powell, the explorer of the American West.  Mr. Powell was the man who led the team that explored the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River.  It was renamed the Dixie National Forest in 1944.
View of hoodoos and trees from Sunset Point
Bryce Amphitheater in Bryce Canyon
The setting sun has little chance of penetrating through one big cloud that sits in the way, but we are getting a little bit of that orange glow that would light up the hoodoos if only that cloud wasn’t there!  The white limestone takes on a brightness that is only there in sunrise and sunset lighting and the limestone oxidized by iron is a deeper orange color.

The sun has set in Bryce Canyon
Early evening view from Sunset Point, Bryce Canyon

We walked over to a viewpoint at Sunset Point that we hadn’t been to before and we saw a whole new beautiful view of the hoodoos in Bryce Canyon.  Even with that big cloud hanging on the horizon behind us, I cannot imagine a more beautiful sight in Bryce Canyon than what we see here.
The sun is down, the air is getting chilly and the sunset-watching crowd is leaving.  It is time to move on to our next adventure. 


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