Saturday, July 11, 2009

Bryce Canyon, Utah

My guidebook says the Bryce Canyon is not the place to come looking for solitude. Spectacular landscapes to be sure, but with Vegas just over the hill, you should expect company.

But I think it all comes down to timing. Roll in sometime around midnight and you beat the crowds and can skip the park entrance fee to boot.

An added bonus is a total absence of adult supervision. The signs warn of dangerous, unstable cliffs. But you want to hop the fence? Go for it. Scramble along perilous, crumbling rock walls? ¡No problema! Fall and shatter a leg and die a slow, agonizing death on the lonely canyon floor?

Knock yourself out.

Under the light of a full moon, sandstone spires and hoodoos fill the chasm beneath me. In the ghostly half-light, they look like miles of melted stone walls, the remains of some ancient cathedral forsaken by an indifferent god.

It is starkly beautiful, and after an hour of walking around in the utter silence, spooky as hell. The only sound is the gentle rustling of the cool desert wind and my own breathing.

I walk down along steep canyon trails, surrounded by an army of stone sentries, imagining movement in the shadows. It occurs to me you're never too old to be afraid of the dark.

1 comment:

Don Risi said...

Having been to Bryce twice myself, I can attest to the solitude that can be found there if one is willing to visit between May 1st and Memorial Day. At high noon, we had the park virtually to ourselves on both trips. And a watchful shooter can get some pretty good storm-on-the-horizon shots even at high noon!

Great shot, BTW.