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.
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.
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.