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Bryce Canyon Zion National Park

5th July 2010

A Delightful Hike along the Peekaboo Loop Trail among Silent Sentinels

Panorama of Hoodoos From Peekaboo Loop      (please use scroll bar)

    I woke up today feeling much better than I had the day before, and managed to have porridge and coffee for breakfast. Today I was heading for Bryce Point, in order to hike down to the Peekaboo Loop Trail. This trail had been strongly recommended to me by an English couple I met on the guided 4WD trip up the Canyon de Chelly.
Silent City from Sunset Point
Silent City from Inspiration Point
    I stopped off first to capture some more pictures of Silent City. This particular amphitheatre was more protected from the weather, and was less eroded resulting in even spectacular shapes.
Rank and File Hoodoos
Dolomite Cap
    It was a fairly steep hike down to the actual loop, and I wasn't looking forward to the hike back up; down in the canyon the wind hardly stirred, so it would be baking hot. The loop involved quite a few steep climbs and descents since hoodoo ridges had to be traversed, and the steep trail combined with very dusty trail meant care had to be taken not to slip and slide. At some of the traverses across the ridges, tunnels had been cut near the top, otherwise the ridges would have been impossible to cross.
    I soon realised why the trail was called Peekaboo. At every twist and turn, peak and valley, a fantastic new vista was presented. A camera memory card could soon fill up on a hike like this. Down at the very bottom of the valley, the air was filled with the fragrance of ponderosa pine.
Wall of Windows
    Many hoodoos had light coloured "caps" on. These were layers of dolomite, manganese and calcium carbonate combined to form a hard rock. Indeed they looked similar to the "caps" I had seen on top of the Needles in Canyonlands. The softer rock underneath would wear away slowly due to the protection against rain afforded by the "caps". However, eventually the caps would fall off, and the erosion of the softer rock underneath would speed up until the next layer of dolomite was reached. Thus, when observing the hoodoos in Silent City, ranks of differing height could be clearly seen, the older hoodoos having been more eroded. The cliff edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau was retreating at a rate of between one and four feet per hundred years, and the tops of new hoodoos could be seen emerging just below the cliff edge. Over the course of thousands of years, parts of the Scenic Drive will have fallen victim to this endless retreat.
Peekaboo Arch
Peekaboo Spires
    The best way to appreciate all this was to hike down through the regimental ranks of hoodoos, stepping back in time in the process. Many people had the same idea, and all exchanged pleasantries on the way. I took plenty of water, but had used it all up by the time I got back. My legs and trainers were completely dust coloured, so I hosed feet and trainers down. Plenty of others followed my example.
    For any other would be travellers hoping to visit Bryce Canyon, take a hike around at least one of the trails. The perspective looking up from the bottom is as spectacular as looking down from the top.
    To escape the heat I spent a couple of hours showering and laundering, and as evening came on, I though I ought to eat, though I had no appetite. I didn't have any energy for cooking, so I went to a diner at the north end of the canyon, and left half the food. The sun was going down as I returned to the campsite. Then horror upon horrors, someone had taken my pitch. I rapidly parked the van somewhere safe and marched off to boot the new occupants off my pitch. By sheer coincidence, a site warden was going around the camp loop in her golf-buggy, and she had spotted my rather hasty parking, and asked if something was wrong. I explained to her, and we went to inspect the ticket that registered my pitch which should have been clipped to the post by the pitch, and it was no longer my ticket, but the new occupants. The woman took me at my word that I had pre-paid for two nights, and told me that there was only one pitch left at the site, and that I ought to grab it quick. However, I was anxious to prove that I had paid for two nights, so she got her side kick to check all the tickets that they had removed themselves, and hey presto, mine was one of them. Because I carry my world in the van, I leave nothing behind at the pitch, and they had thought, no tent, no nothing, therefore I must have left a day early, so nab the ticket. She apologised profusely, then asked me where I was from. "England", I replied. "Lancashire?", she asked. "No East Anglia, though originally from Cumbria". "I'm from Lancashire", she said, though now she was fluent estuary American. I'm glad she did come along, otherwise there could have been a nasty scene with the new occupants. These things are sent to try us. When she had gone, I explained to the new occupants what had happened, and they were pleased that they had not inadvertently caused a problem.
    The only thing left to do in the day was type this all up and then get my head down.
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Bryce Canyon Zion National Park

Uploaded from Pioneer Lodge Cafe, Springdale UT on 08/06/10 at 18:00

Last updated 9.7.2010