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!
Getting dressed and getting out of the campsite took a little longer than we wanted, but we finally rolled down the road to Sunrise Point a little after dawn. We had no idea what to expect. There are pictures online of BryceCanyon. Also in guide books. Let’s face it, these days, you can find pictures of anything without searching too long on the internet. But cresting the small hill that stands between the parking lot and the canyon rim while the sun was only just above the horizon? Priceless.
Every shiver, every ache from sinking unevenly into the snow under the tent (which I had not packed down or cleared because, as we noted before, I am a genius) was totally worth it.
The rest of the day we spent going to the scenic overlooks that were still open (about half of the park is closed during the winter), photographing, giving Warren coronaries by sitting on the guard railings of the overlooks, and then having to back down and ask for his help to warm up my hands when I could no longer feel my fingers. Whups.
Because firewood had been unavailable when we rolled into the park (it being 11pm, nothing was open), we decided that we should buy some as soon as humanly possible. Once we were done being distracted by the scenery, of course. We used the shelter of the restaurant attached to the general store to recharge ourselves and the electronics. Then we went back to the campsite to rest up before trying to cook dinner over the campfire and attempting some astrophotography.
I feel like I should note at this point that, while we bought firestarters, we did not buy kindling, nor did we have a hatchet with us. Again, please choose to be well-prepared when beginning an adventure. Or be amazing at winging it, I suppose.
I may have spent roughly an hour trying to get that wood to burn. We had enough of a fire that I was able to heat some canned chili. That was it. The experience was frustrating and smokey. Warren took photos.
Astrophotography. What can’t be said about it? Other than: Warren’s camera is Magic. Yes, yes it is. Have you seen these photos? Go ahead and do so now. I’ll wait.
There is a lot that I have to master yet (like how to set up my camera without trying to hold it upside down while dangling from a tree) before I can seriously do this without supervision. But being a part of this aspect of the project was pretty awesome. And worth the frozen fingers and toes.
All in all? Totally worth it. See the photo gallery for more evidence.