Kanab, Utah is a Western town Hannah and I have come to love for its slow pace and easy access to national parks, a mere 80 miles to Bryce Canyon and just 40 to Zion. Our morning walk is through quiet streets of single story homes in neighborhoods where it seems like everyone would know your name. At the Kanab High track, a promising young athlete works with her coach before the heat of the day. Kanab calls itself “Little Hollywood” with such television shows as Gunsmoke and the Lone Ranger filmed here.
Driving through the spectacular Red Rock Canyon just prior to Bryce in late May, we learn that though it is called a canyon, Bryce is really a giant amphitheater of brilliantly colored orange, red, purple, and yellow stone formations created by erosion.
In the first stage of erosion, these “fins” weave through the park floor like a shark off Nantucket. At Sunset Point in Bryce Canyon, with salty snacks, water, a sun protecting hat, and sunscreen, we descend on the switchbacks of the Navajo Loop on the way to the Peekaboo Trail. Once there, the canyon walls bracket us as the trail is sandy smooth and often wide enough for us to walk side by side.
With many foreign and homegrown visitors, Bryce gives us many opportunities to engage others in conversation. Germans Michael and Anja willingly respond to our opening and tell us, Americans are most welcoming. This would not be the case if hiking in Germany.
Rated strenuous, the Peekaboo Trail rises and falls easily as brilliant vistas showcase “windows” that are created in the fins (second stage of erosion). They appear around many turns in the trail as if to say “Peekaboo.” The Bryce guide cautions that mild exertion can cause light-headedness and even nausea.
A narrow spur trail where we step carefully, but not fearfully, ascends to the canyon rim at 8300-foot Bryce Point. Our breathing is harder but not taxing. Whereas all our other days of hiking were sun filled, postcard blue skies, today we have the clouds, and what a blessed relief they are. As we retrace our steps from Bryce Point back down into the amphitheater to Sunset Point, we stand in awe of the towering soft orange/pink hoodoos, pinnacles of stone formed by wind, water, and ice, the final stage of limestone erosion.
2021 Update – With plans dashed to hike Bryce Canyon in 2020 and 2021 with our daughter Molly’s family because of Covid-19, Hannah and I once again plan to return to Bryce Canyon for the first time in 11 years next April 2022 with her family (Owen (9) and Max (7), and her hubby Tip).