Ok, big day. Time to grab a charter flight out to Bimini, and do this thing. (Snorkeling, specifically)
So, here’s the snag. I had a near-drowning incident when I was young that I don’t really recall, but I’ve had mixed feelings about being in water where I couldn’t put my feet on the ground as long as I can remember. But hey, if I can face acrophobia and stand on top of a mountain in the Alps (and take photos), I can handle this, right?
Time to find out.
When we were told to pack for the flight, one of the restrictions is 40 lbs total, per person. Total. My photo bag weighs that much when I’m fully kitted out, and that doesn’t include clothes. I was pretty sure that meant puddle-jumper prop plane.
I wasn’t wrong.
Britten Norman Islander, operated by Island Air Charters (Warren Schultz)Buy this photo
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).
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.
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.
I took a much-needed vacation to visit family over the holidays, and it also was a perfect opportunity to test out the Canon 6D I’d just picked up… whether I was fighting off the worst cold I’d had in years or not. I would not be denied photo time.