Time: 08:00 (Utah time)
Right now the sun is shining, but the weather forecast predicts rain and possible thunderstorms in the afternoon. For us, this means, out of the bed and off to Bryce Canyon as soon as possible!
Just a few miles north of Kanab we see a sign for the “Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park”. We check the map and decide that it is not a very big detour (only 12 miles one way) and that it might be worth it. It indeed is fascinating, in the middle of the rocky surroundings these coral pink colored sand dunes. The sand is so fine that you could use it for an hourglass.
Back on HWY 89 north we continue to Bryce Canyon. The road leads through a very green valley with lots of little villages (almost like in Switzerland) and farms with horses and cows. Just before Bryce Canyon we stop at the “Red Rock Dixie National Forest” where we take a walk in the sun and catch a first impression of the red hoodoos. Here you can see them from the bottom, later in Bryce Canyon you are looking down at them.
We arrive at Bryce Canyon at around 11:00 am and despite the upcoming rain and wind head from one view point to the next. It’s hard to put it in words but the sheer size and beauty of this canyon is awesome – just mind blowing! Even under these unfortunate weather conditions we can hardly believe what we see. Ebenezer Bryce, after whom the canyon was named, once said: “This is a hell of a place to loose a cow!”. The whole basin is full of these mostly red lime stone hoodoos in all sizes and shapes. In between some trees and then again some white hoodoos and as we are up on over 9,000 feet elevation (2’700 Meter). We can see over Paria Canyon and Grand Staircase National Monument all the way to Navajo Mountain over 80 miles away (it’s very cloudy though but still visible). Along the road through the park we see some deers again and an gazelle (the gazelle must have had a “bad-hair-day” as it looked completely shaggy – just joking, we assume it is changing fur).
In the afternoon we drive to Panguitch, a small historical city about 20 miles from Bryce Canyon, with a population of only about 1,500 people but, at least 12 motels. After “shopping around” we find a decent place (clean, with a fridge and wireless internet and not too tiny) for $43 a night, which seems like a good deal. A real Budget day!
Overnight Stay: Lamp Lighter Inn, Panguitch, UT
Dinner: C Stop Pizza and Deli (we have Pizza and a Coke for $18 total)