The problem with every great trip is that it eventually comes to an end.
I woke early on Thursday morning, around 5:15am, about 45 minutes before our alarm was scheduled to go off. My mind instantly started racing with the events of the week, the video recording we’d done the previous night for the Indiegogo campaign, and everything that we had to do to take the week’s work and turn it into a final product that would make people as enthusiastic about this project as we are about it.
More on that later…
With my thoughts moving a mile a minute, it was inevitable that I couldn’t stay put. Unfortunately, my inflatable mattress is really good at insulation, but crinkles pretty loudly when I’m doing anything more than lying still. This is not a good recipe for sleep for anyone within a 15-foot radius. Cynthia got up a bit later, with a minimum of growling and threats of bodily harm.
Warren woke up early. I did not want to, but it’s hard to ignore someone moving around the car you’re sleeping in. No matter how hard you try. On the other hand, I believe that there were a couple of donuts left. So, clearly, he survived the experience.
After the awesome adventure that was our hike into the canyon the previous day, even I was able to sleep in. This is saying something. Whether business or pleasure, my ability to sleep in while traveling is limited.
We decided to take it a bit easier today, so that we could actually *finish* a trail that we started. (Crazy, I know.)
We went through our typical routine to prep for the day and hit the trail. (Queen’s Garden to be specific).
Since we weren’t doing a full campaign hike like the previous day, I had some of the extra gear along for us to test, like the audio recorder. This time, we captured the sound of our footsteps in the mud for posterity. (Check out the promo video for an example).
The day dawned. And we slept in. So there.
To recap: the hike the previous day had wiped us both out because the altitude, the incline, and the weighty packs were more of a drag on us than we thought they would be. So today’s Plan was to hike something more reasonable.
After a slightly better night of sleep, I woke before dawn, and realized it was time to try to catch Sunrise Point at sunrise.
Hauling ourselves over there after a doughnut-sugar infusion, we made it roughly in time.
So, here’s our first piece of travel advice if you go to Bryce. The scenic overlooks of the canyon face east. Into the sun. You’re probably seeing where I’m going with this. While the golden light of the rising sun does make for a beautiful view, but it’s rough for photographs and not too kind to your eyes. You may want to try to get down into the canyon before dawn and look back on the eastern cliff face as the sun rises.
The best you can hope for otherwise, is something that looks vaguely like this.
Sunrise Point at Sunrise
So, we got up early enough to hit Sunrise Point *at sunrise.* Go us!
Waking up in the pre-dawn light, the first thing I did was to giggle a little bit. Surviving the night is not normally a challenge for me; I am in fairly good health. But this was the first time I’d slept in a tent pitched in snow at 8000 feet. Boo-yeah!
I have slept in unheated rooms before in the winter, but sleeping on snow in a tent, with nothing but a tarp, tent, thermal air mattress, and sleeping bag between me and the snow was a new experience. (Ok, yes, I was wearing thermal base layers, a midlayer hoodie, and my outer shell jacket also. And a stocking cap)
It was chilly, to put it mildly.
And it should be noted that it wasn’t just the temperature. We left Las Vegas in 70-degree weather. We arrived to Bryce in something around 16 degrees. The human body doesn’t react well to temperature deltas that big. (There is a reason why soldiers in the desert need parkas at night, even though it is still 80 degrees out.)
But it all worked out and we didn’t become geekcicles, so that’s a good thing.
We got things sorted and headed off to see the sunrise, a bit belatedly, at Sunrise Point.
I don’t know how else to say it, but the view as we walked up to the ridge line, looking down into the canyon made all the travel and general frozenness worth it.
It was amazing.
My flight left at 7am and I kind of hated myself that morning. But only a little bit. After all, I had already been impulsive enough to agree to a camping trip in a place I’ve never been (who am I kidding, that was a perk) with someone who’s never been camping before in order to take photographs, which is an art form that I have a passing familiarity with. Continue reading
We headed out for Bryce Canyon, early early early in the morning. My (Warren’s) flight departed at 6:05 AM from Raleigh-Durham Airport (RDU) in North Carolina. Little did I know that the chill morning air would be balmy compared to the majority of our time on the road.
Fortunately, ticketing, checking luggage, and security screening all went off without a hitch.
I was lucky enough to have a direct flight, although the anticipation of going to Bryce throughly destroyed my ability to sleep on the plane.
This was not a total loss. While I only managed a few decent photos through the smudged window, the views were great, as you can see.
Snow-capped mountain on the flight to Las Vegas