I remember the first time I saw Bryce Canyon 20 years ago I was completely taken back by its scenery: it was different from anything I had seen before. I didn’t know anything about it at the time and was there with a few friends. If I had seen a picture or a drawing of it, I would have guessed it was a prank. Nothing in this world could have looked like this: orange columns and walls stood like soldiers, menacing and impregnable, filled the canyons. I have been back a few times since and was amazed each time I saw it.
Again, we could not resist its magic and charm; we planned our trip so we could visit it again. The orange columns, called Hoodoos and the rest of the formations are made of sandstone. Over millions of years, erosion sculpted the landscape to form its current glory. The erosion continuously alters the landscape every day. Every time we went, the scenery was slightly different.
Some columns or walls might have collapsed and some new arches might have formed. This time, the Wall Street section of Navajo Loop trail collapsed just the day before we arrived. It was unfortunate as I remember it well from 13 years ago and was looking forward to hike in it again.
As we were unsure what route we could take on Navajo Loop trail, we started our hike from Queen’s Garden trailhead at the Sunrise point. We slowly descended down the canyon as the trail snaked through hoodoos and spires. The color was more than just orange, a spectrum of reds, oranges, yellows, purples and almost whites in some places. We had to go through a few archways as we walked along the narrow trail in the canyon. On the bottom, we saw a sign pointing to a hoodoo that was supposedly resemble a queen’s head, thus the trail name. Even with the description, I had a difficult time recognize it. The trail could have been named many other things as each hoodoo can resemble different things to different people. We had our lunch there with a Steller’s jay eyeing our lunch the whole time.
We hiked along the bottom of the canyon with a number of trees. It felt like an easy stroll through the park. Although we carried two backpacks, one for Bryden and one for Kadia, Kadia seemed to enjoy this hike, running back and forth from time to time and didn’t ask for a ride. Eventually we reached the Peek-a-boo junction where the Queen’s Garden trail joined the Navajo Loop trail. One section of the trail toward the Wall Street was closed so we followed the other section to the Sunset point.
There was a steep section with many switchbacks up a wall (see left) and, when we finally emerged from it, we were treated to the famous Thor’s Hammer (see below), still proudly standing and seemingly sparkling, and a canyon filled with a high concentration of spires and pinnacles. Along this final climb up to the Sunset point, we marveled at them all, every angle is a perfect shot. The picture on the right shown the Sentinel in the background. I hope it will still be there next time we visit. Finally when we reached the Sunset Point, we hiked back toward the Sunrise Point along the rim and continuously savior the fantastic views beneath us. We ran into a bunch of rangers walking excitedly and hurriedly toward the Sunset point so I asked them what was going on. One ranger told me that they were heading down to the Wall Street to look at the collapse. They were like excited kids going on a field trip. This was Kadia’s longest hike, 3 miles, a record that she would top many more times on the trip. We will be back.