Lunching on Tip’s mouth-watering sliced turkey, ham, cheese, and veggie sandwiches at the picnic area on the rim at Sunrise Point (8000’), we fuel up for the signature hike at Bryce Canyon National Park – the Navajo Loop Trail.
The spectacular reds, oranges, rust colors of the hoodoos (A hoodoo is a tall, thin spire of rock formed by erosion) rising from the canyon floor greet us at every turn of the switchbacks as we enter the canyon,
Again, we have a mile and half of low-effort hiking as we descend below the park rim. The wind stays brisk, requiring me to hold literally on to my hat from time to time. Alas, our run of good weather for hiking in Utah will soon be running out. You see, the forecast for tomorrow in Lehi, Utah (near Salt Lake City), where we’ll be staying with our friend Nancy Turley, is for cold and rain. Five out of six ain’t bad!
We’ve had 70s and 80s for our hiking three days in the Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and sunny winter-in-California 60s at Capitol Reef yesterday as well as today at Bryce Canyon National Park. We’ll not be so fortunate tomorrow as the high in Salt Lake City is forecasted to be upper 40s with windblown rain. In late April! Six to 18” of snow will fall in the Wasatch Mountains above Salt Lake City! Bryce will get snow showers.
We take a side trail to the Queen’s Garden to spot Queen Victoria hoodoo high above the canyon floor. See if you can spot her in the first photo below. The two photos that follow will zoom in on the queen.
As usual the climb down the trail is easy peezy for Owen and Max as well as their grandparents in their eighth decade.
Eventually, the climb up the Navajo Trail is relentless. Seasoned hikers that they are, Owen and Max do not lag as we climb to the rim. Eventually we come to the Navajo Trail switchbacks near the top.
It’s no secret why Owen and Max succeed at these hiking challenges. Their parents and grandparents have given them multiple opportunities from an early age to learn that hiking in the outdoors is as natural as breathing and sleeping, walking and weeping (a little poetic injustice). At seven, the boys climbed Mount Major in New Hampshire and at eight Mount Monadnock in southwestern New Hampshire. When in California, they hike into the mountains above Santa Barbara (e.g. Rattlesnake Trail) and in the high oceanside mountains of Big Sur.
What I won’t forget about the last week on the trails of national park Utah is the many times Max naturally reaches for my hand as we hike. Owen’s go-to move on the trails is being sure his Omi and Poppa are doing okay.
Once at the rim, Hannah and I have our 25K steps for the fifth day in a row in the spring/summer weather of southern Utah.
As our last hike in Utah 2022, we are delighted that we have invested in the hiking lives of our daughter Molly and her husband Tip and our grandsons, Max and Owen. Even the stock market does not promise such returns on investment as the natural world of national parks.