Grand Circle Day 6-Bryce Canyon

April 19, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

***Chinese Version at the bottom***

Day 6 Getting to Bryce Canyon National Park
From Green River, Utah, take I-70 West and Route 89 South for a total of about 225 miles, 3 hrs 40 min to Bryce Canyon National Park. It took all morning to get there just in time for lunch.

Sunset Point to Wall Street via Navajo Trail
First we took in the view from Sunset Point at the rim of the canyon. The whole amphitheater shape valley is spread out below us. Navajo Trail to Queens Garden is my favorite hiking trail. It is also one of the top ten hiking trails in the world. Going down the sandy trail in a series of S shape steps into Wall Street. The trail is only wide enough for two people to pass. There is no railing or steps. Approximately 20 to 40 feet a turn and about 30 to 40 turns later we reached the bottom. Each turn has elevation difference of about 10 feet. The bottom is a passage between two vertical cliffs ten to 20 feet apart several hundred feet tall. This is Wall Street. One side of the cliff bottom is hollowed out. Before exiting the narrow gap, there are 2 pine trees at least 50 feet tall. Then we walked out to the open valley beyond. 

Queens Garden Trail
This is the end of Navajo Trail beginning of Queens Garden Trail. The Navajo Trail is a loop and it branch out here to return to the top. Based on the park information the elevation difference from the bottom to the top is about 600 feet. That is like 60 stories high. We continued onward along Queens Garden Trail. The bottom of the valley is relatively flat and easy to walk. There are hoodoos, rock formations, of various sizes and shapes along the way. In the middle of Queens Garden you can see a large rock tower that looks like a statue of a lady in a ball gown wearing a crown. That's the queen. There are many other rock spires surrounding it like in a royal court gathering. 

Thor's Hammer
Keep walking along the winding path through strange rock shapes. There are very tall pines growing among them. Every turn we saw different views of the amazing landscape. The path slowly climbs up back to the top. Before we reached Sunrise Point, we saw the Thor's Hammer.  A big rock tower like the shape of a hammer.  

Sunrise Point
Finally we returned to the top Sunrise Point. We walked along the rim top paved road for about 10 minutes to return to Sunset Point. From the top you can look very very far out many miles away. 

Super Clear Sky from 8000 Feet Above Sea Level
There is something special here. The sky is super blue. Every time I take pictures here, I feel that the sky is blue like the color of new uniform. This is over 8000 feet from sea level far away from city pollution. The air is very thin and clear. Desert air is dry and cloudless. That day it was completely cloudless. At night there was an Astronomy Festival. On a clear night sky without moon shine, we can see countless stars. I couldn't wait to see it.

Scouting Location for Viewing Solar Eclipse Tomorrow
But before sunset we need to do something. There is an important event tomorrow, the solar eclipse. We will be viewing the solar eclipse at the top of Bryce Point at 9000 ft above sea level. This night we went to Bryce Point to check out the location and see where the sun would be between 6:30 pm and 8:30 pm. There are three viewing locations at Bryce Point and we picked the highest spot. We planned to come here early the next day to stake out a good spot.

Power Out in the Local County
After sunset we returned to the hotel. The front desk told us there will be power outage after midnight. The entire county including the hotel will be without electricity until dawn. He gave us a neon stick in case we need light in the hotel room. We used our camera all day and needed to re-charge the batteries. What do we do now? We are lucky that the batteries are not truly dead. After dinner at 10 pm, we went to the Astronomy Field near the visitor center.  

Astronomy Festival
Today the parking is blocked off. There were small red lights along the pathways. Looks like garden solar lights covered with red cellophane wrappers. Flashlight is not allowed from here on to let the eyes adjust to darkness. A few minutes later we left the car lights from the parking lot behind us. Looking up we could see lots and lots of stars. There are some people from the Astronomy Society that gave us a brief introduction about the night sky. He pointed out a few constellations and told us some myths and some astronomy facts. Then we spread out to wait on lines for the many astro telescopes set up in the parking lot. Through the telescope we saw galaxy, ring nebula, star cluster. It was really amazing to see Saturn. There really is a ring. Even though it is only the size of a grain of rice in the telescope, it was very clear. I kept looking up at the sky. I have never seen so many stars in my life. Like the movie 2001, I would say "It's full of stars!" Too bad this month the milkyway is not up yet. I would need to wait till after 1 am to see it. But this night sky is unforgettable. If I could, I would sit here all night long. But the temperature between day and night is big. The day time temperature is about 80F. At night it was 50F's. I felt a bit cold but I didn't want to leave. We are really tired by now after a long day. The Astronomy Festival will continue tomorrow night so we returned to our room at 11 pm. We needed to save our energy for the solar eclipse tomorrow.
 

***Chinese Version below***

第六日Bryce Canyon National Park

From Green River, UT, Take I-70 West and Route 89 South total about 225 miles 3 hrs 40 min to Bryce Canyon NP. 食完早餐開車去Bryce Canyon. 去到夠鐘食午餐。

Sunset Point to Wall Street via Navajo Trail
跟住去Sunset Point , 先在山頂影全景,整個盤谷山景盡收眼底,行我最愛的山徑Navajo Trail to Queens Garden Trail,行斜坡一連串S形山路進入Wall Street峽谷,山路只夠兩人通過,依山而成的沙路,沒有任何欄杆扶手或梯級,約二十多尺至三四十尺一個轉彎位,至少三四十個彎位後才到底,每個彎位約有十尺落差,底下峽谷兩邊直上直下幾百尺的山壁,兩邊相距只有十幾二十尺,這裡就是Wall Street,一邊山腳空出像騎樓底的空間,向下走出盡頭處有松樹生在谷底,有幾十尺高,再向前走豁然開朗走進開闊的谷底。

Queens Garden Trail
這裡是Navajo Trail 的盡頭,Queens Garden Trail 的開始,另外Navajo Trail有一條路返回山頂,資料說從山頂到谷底約有六百尺,差不多六十層樓高,我向Queens Garden Trail 進發,谷底比較平坦行得輕鬆,不多遠可近距離看見各式各樣石柱,千姿百態,皇后花園中央可見有大石柱形如頭帶皇冠身穿古典長裙的女像,四周各式石柱圜繞,就似朝中百官擁護一樣。

Thor's Hammer
沿途再走,一重一重山,彎彎曲曲的山道,千奇百怪的石荀,參天古松生在山石之間,每轉一個彎都可見新的景緻,慢慢漸行漸高,差不多到Sunrise Point 之前會見到Thor's Hammer,像個鎚頭一樣。

Sunrise Point
終於回到山頂Sunrise Point,沿山頂平路約十分鐘回到Sunset Point,沿途向遠處望去可遠眺很遠很遠的山景。

Super Clear Sky from 8000 Feet Above Sea Level
這裡有一個特點,天空特別藍,每次我在這裡拍照,總覺天空藍得像新校服一樣,由於這裡有八千尺海拔,遠離城市污染,空氣特別清徹稀薄,沙漠地帶乾旱無雲,今日就真的萬里無雲,今晚有天文觀星節,在極度清晰的天空沒有月亮的晚上可以看見天上繁星,令人十分期待。

Scouting Location for Viewing Solar Eclipse Tomorrow
不過天黑之前有一件事要做,因為明天有一個重要節目,日蝕,觀日蝕處在山頂Bryce Point,約海拔九千尺, 今晚先去視察環境看看六點半至八點半太陽在那個方向位置,公園指示有三個地方可以觀日蝕,最後選擇去最高的山峰,準備明天一早來霸個靚位。

Power Out in the Local County
日落後回到酒店,櫃台員告訴我們午夜後區內維修總電站,至天亮前全區停電,包括酒店在內,每人送一枝螢光棒,用了一整天相機手機等,想充電,點算好呢,幸好電沒有真的用完,吃完晚飯,十點鐘去訪客中心附近觀星節場地。

Astronomy Festival
今天停車場不淮泊車,進場處沿路只有臨時加在地上的小紅燈,所有人必須關上手電筒,讓眼睛習慣黑暗,約幾分鐘後遠離停車場的車頭燈光線,已經可以抬頭看見天上極多閃亮的星星,裏面有人作簡單介紹,指出天上幾個主要星座,講些神話故事,然後各自去排列在兩邊幾十個大天文望遠鏡看看難得一見的星星,有galaxy, ring nebula, star cluster, 令人印象深刻的是土星,真的有個光環,在鏡內雖然很小只有粒米般大,但很清楚,我不斷抬頭望天,從來沒有看到過這麼多星星,真的可以用千萬星宿來形容,可惜月份不對,銀河還未升起,要午夜約一時後才能看到,但這滿天繁星已令人畢生難忘,假如可以,我會坐在這裡一整夜,不過這裡日夜溫差大,曰間八十度,晚上只有五六十度,覺得有些冷,但我留連忘返,不想回去睡,可惜已經很倦,知道明晚天文節可以繼續觀星,所以催促回去睡,唯有留下精神明天看日蝕。

 

Back to Day 5-Arches Day 6-Bryce Canyon Next to Day 7-Viewing Solar Eclipse
at Bryce Canyon

 

 


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