I can’t help but wonder what Mormon settler Ebenezer Bryce thought as he entered the weird and dramatic canyon (actually more of an amphitheater) which was ultimately named after him. The Mormon Church had ordered, or strongly suggested, that he take his family to the remote area and homestead there.
Bryce was evidently a pragmatic man; he has been recorded as saying, “It’s a helluva place to lose a cow”. Bryce settled there in 1874 and lasted until 1880, discouraged by the effects of over-grazing, drought, and flood, not unusual in Utah red-rock country. He and his family moved to Texas. Life in hoodoo country is not easy.
Bev and I spent just a day there last month, but I hope to go back in the near future. Such amazing sights!
After walking down the steep path to the canyon (see this previous post: Two Interludes), I was becoming annoyed by the flocks of other tourists. Perhaps there was a side-path, so I could experience the place without the company of other people?
At the bottom of the canyon I saw another path branching off, but a chain and a warning sign barred it off. I blithely stepped over the chain and was alone again, as Bev had stayed with the collies up in the parking lot.
Wonders and splendors awaited me as I walked up the path. Some views:
Notice how precisely and sharply the contours of the sandstone formation are outlined against the sky. This is a phenomenon of the arid Southwest; the humidity in the more humid parts of the continent blurs similar outlines, something you become accustomed to. A visit to the canyonlands of the Southwest is like having your optical prescription updated.
I began to wonder why the path had been chained off. Perhaps a rock-slide?
I came to the entry to a slot canyon. I saw a woman walking into it and followed her in. She was Hispanic, and I encountered her urging her husband to leave with her, but he was busy taking photographs and ignored her as long as he reasonably could. The couple noticed me and the woman approached me, her husband oblivious as he captured a few final photos of the dramatic scene.
She said to me, “You want me to make a picture of you?”
I was charmed by the use of the word “make” rather then “take”. I really didn’t want a “picture of me” right then, but I gave her my camera and she took a shot of me in the slot canyon; it didn’t turn out too well so I won’t include it here. Nice of her to offer, though!
The couple left and I focused my attention. What a cool place to be on a sunny day!
A switch-backed trail led up the steep slope outside of the canyon. I looked back:
I found out why the trail had been closed off. The zig-zag path was coated with a layer of snow which had an icy surface. Evidently the hour or two of sun the trail receives each day had melted the surface and made it rather treacherous.
I got to the top and saw another sign:
We drove out of the park headquarters area and stopped several more times for photography, but the remainder of my chosen photos will have to wait for another post!