Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

We stayed in the cutest little cabin last night in Torrey, and had dinner in a very good restaurant called the Cafe Diablo – 5 Star, presentation super and food delicious! We had rattlesnake cakes (2 patties of free range desert rattler with ancho-rosemary aioli)…hm, what does ‘range free rattler’ actually mean we wondered….so we ordered them. Pretty good. But the Empinadas (cornflower pillows filled with Cojita cheese and sweet potatoes and served on cilantro black bean sauce and desert onions) was tremendously tasty and melted in our mouths. We also had a citrus salad and then the Mayan Tamale (eggplant, poblano peppers, roasted tomatoes, mas and casera cheese steamed in a banana leaf, with char grilled veggies and brandied corn custard). Whoa. Excellente!

Stuffed to the gills, we trundled home to our little cabin and fell fast asleep.
Next morning we walked over to the little store (all these motels seem to have little restaurants and / or stores attached), and had fresh coffee, croissants, shared a small container of cottage cheese (no yoghurt left) and had the lady make us sandwiches to go. We purchased a couple of apples, water and headed out to Bryce Canyon. We stopped at the Anazazi State Park which is very very interesting and well done. The exhibit is very good. Then Bryce Canyon.

The drive was up and up and up, and windy (not the wind), and around canyon edges, and up into Bryce territory.
We found our little motel about 3 miles further West on Highway 12 past the entrance to Bryce Canyon and on mile post 10…..Dropped all the usual stuff off in the room and headed to Bryce Canyon Visitor Center. We had determined to hike the next morning (Wed) a combination of 2 trails: the Navajo Trail and the Queens Garden trail. There were signs ALL OVER: WEAR HIKING BOOTS, DRINK AND TAKE WATER (1 QT PER 2-3 HRS OF HIKING), so we begin to think we might not have the correct shoes for our canyon trip. Ha! Next time we will bring our hiking boots, but as the Ranger said, many people just head out on the trails with no more than tennis shoes. So my Pumas would do. And really? One can hike in tennis shoes. However, the Ranger did say the top 3 injuries here in Bryce was: broken ankle, broken ankle, and broken ankle.

But for the rest of Tuesday afternoon, we decided to drive out to Rainbow Gate and take an easy hike called the Bristlecone Loop of 1 mile. Ha ha ha ha….when we got there, it was getting quite cold (it is 9115 feet elevation) with dark clouds looming rather close…, and as we started on the trail, we got exactly 2 steps and ran into almost 1 foot of snow. Even with hiking boots we would not have done it because of the drop in temp and the clouds – we could see rain coming from way over East, and it was a wall of black….Sun would come out, and the colors, the views, the canyon ridges and fins, and then the far-off snow-capped mountains would seem to float above the Earth. It was unbelievable to see. This is a most amazing park.

We stopped at all the view points, each view was dramatic and different from the previous one. We ended up at Bryce Lodge (we tried to get in there – all full. Probably with Europeans because there are so many here, the Euro is really making the U.S. a great place to vacation this year..)….
Dinner was quite good. We had rainbow grilled trout. Yum!

Wed we got up and wasted no time to hit the Navajo – Queen’s Garden Trails. We were heading down into Wall Street (a must see on this planet) at 8:31am. It was tough to take more than 10 steps without taking a picture. It is really a spectacular trail. Once down in the canyon, it opened out, and was quite a pleasant walk with the Bryce Hoodoos rising all around us.
The legend is Paiute: Legend People lived here in Bryce Canyon and were bad people (no one knows why they were bad exactly), and there were all kinds of animals living here, however, Coyote turned them all into Stone. They are called Hoodoos. You can still see the Hoodoos (Legend People and animals), they are standing together, or alone, they are clinging to one another, some are sitting, some are only painted faces, you can see that too.
The picture most people see of Bryce Canyon is Bryce’s Amphitheatre and that is all Hoodoos. When you are at one viewpoint looking back at another, it is like looking at an ancient, ancient city in the clouds, crumbling away. It is amazing.
Ace and I shall return to hike more in the canyons.

We had lunch here at our motel and then went for another short hike to Mossy Cave and Waterfall. Pretty. We then drove back to Bryce’s Point and true to the weather forecast, the wall of rain, wind, drop in temp, thunder, was all heading this-a-way. We hurried to Bryce’s Point to get a picture, then hurried back to the car. As we started the car up, the snow and rain fell. We drove no more than a few miles and the sun came out. The weather fronts move through here pretty fast. Of course there is another one coming along shortly. I have heard thunder again…..

Tonight we will go up to Bryce Lodge and hear a 90 year old man talk about the stars. Bryce Canyon is the 3rd darkest place on the planet, so the star gazing here is supposed to be incredible. Then, if the clouds get out of the way, we can walk over to where the Rangers have telescopes set up for star viewing. J

Tomorrow: Zion.

1 comment:

avancinni said...

Ace, Buffe, and Bev: I tried to leave a comment on 5/7/08, but seem to be having trouble. Sounds like you are all having a great time. See you soon. Becky