Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

Park Map    Amphitheater Detail Map

Doug and I had been to Bryce once before, on the Stinky Bryce Canyon Trip, and we hiked the Fairyland trail; so I was looking for hikes that didn't include that part, which basically was the lower part of the hikeable park. I decided to park at Bryce Point, hike down to the Queen's Palace bus stop, and take the shuttle bus back to Bryce Point. (Originally I was going to do it the other way around, til i heard the bus driver say that that was UPHILL, something I hadn't thought about.)

So I hiked from Bryce Point down past Inspiration Point to the Navajo Loop, connected to the Queen's Palace loop, and then back up to the bus stop, and caught the shuttle bus back to Bryce Point.

This was about 6 miles, on top of the 3 miles I had already hiked at Kodachrome Basin and the horseback ride...oh, and the pouring rain when i was halfway through the hike, that was a bonus...

And my camera was still having the 'dust on sensor' problem, so there are dots on the panoramas, sorry.

On the left is the last picture I have of my hiking stick...

This is what the trail looked like when it was not following the rim around Bryce...

Engleman Aster

This amazed me, a spiral tree! Evidently it is an aberration of some pine and juniper trees, here's a web site that discusses it. Pretty cool!

Whipple's Penstemon

Stansbury's Rockdaisy And here I am without my hiking stick...but I don't know it...yet... I kept hiking after that pic, and after half an hour I suddenly realized that I didn't have my stick, that I had left it behind...and I weighed going back uphill to try and find it, or hiking on without it...and going back was NOT appealing, so on I went. Goodbye, faithful hiking stick!
This is the steep swtichback section of the Navajo Loop trail, which luckily the bus driver had warned me about, to go down instead of up...there are about 40 REALLY STEEP switchbacks, with very little space in-between; it would have been hell trying to climb up them! The third picture shows the end, where they've leveled out a bit...
Notice how dark it's getting?
ADORABLE little chipmunk!
The trail I came down to the valley floor on met the Navajo Loop in the middle; I went backwards to see the Narrows, then back out to the Queen's Palace trail. This is The Narrows.
And at the bottom of the Queen's Palace Trial, with 2-3 miles left to go, the weather turned from sprinkling to full-on rain. Which was not cold, or awful, but VERY wet, and the trail was running with water. I passed a lot of people hiding under overhangs hoping to wait it out (and I got one of them to take my pic, pretending to do so!) but I knew it wasn't going to stop anytime soon...and I was right, it poured until I drove out of the park. I just toughed it out, going up two miles of switchbacks in the rain and trying to keep my camera from getting soaked.
And I left Bryce as the rain poured down. There was a motel/campground on the way out that had teepees for people to stay in, but my camera was on strike due to rain. I went back to my KOA, where it was (thank goodness) not raining, and pulled a chair into the kitchen, and sat by the microwave in the campers' kitchen, nuking food and eating it til I was full, I was so cold and hungry. It was awesome. As was a hot shower and bed that night.