We were excited to get out and explore Bryce Canyon on Monday, following our initial sightings of the Hoodoos on Sunday night, and after a leisurely breakfast, we caught the free shuttle to the start of the FairyLand Loop Trail. Our South West America Lonely Planet guide mentioned that this trail tended to be quieter than some of the other options, and this proved to be true. In four hours of walking we saw about ten other people. The FairyLand Loop trail provided serenity and scenes of grandeur.
Time and again in our visits to the National Parks here, every piece of literature I have read grapples to articulate the beauty and immensity of the sights there are to behold. No photo seems to quite capture the splendour either – essentially there is no substitute for seeing these places with your own eyes.
The trail consisted of 8 miles of undulating red dirt paths, often narrow in places, providing a gentle reminder of our vulnerability in the home of the Hoodoos.
I loved our time in Bryce in a very different way to the way I loved Yosemite. John described it well when he said, ‘Yosemite is like a haven, Bryce is immense and vast’. The guide book had described the FairyLand trail as strenuous, which is quite fitting. The heat was intense and there was nothing we could do to avoid sweating profusely. Although the walk was not exactly a gentle stroll, I loved that it made me highly conscious of my body working continually - breathing harder to supply my muscles with oxygen at a reasonably high altitude (7500m above sea level), sweat to cool myself down, feeling thirst as my body signals it’s in need of water (I consumed about 4 litres of water by bedtime), - and marvelling at the way God created our bodies to work so efficiently in different conditions.
On the ascent back up the end of the trail, we were grateful for the temporary spots of rain and shade that the changing weather provided. Having run out of our ample water supply, the shade was even more important in protecting us from heat stroke, dehydration, and all of the horrible things that come with heat and lack of water.
By the time we arrived in Page, Utah that evening, we were all shattered after a wonderful day of walking, and very grateful for a bed to rest our weary bones, even if the motel was not the greatest of them all in the slightly curious town of Page.