“You must go to Bryce” – we were bombed with this sentence almost every day ever since we entered Utah. We had never heard that name before, we thought it was just another strange rock formation, yet another point on the list of many tourists visiting the West. It was on our way, though, so we decided to give it a go.
As we were getting closer, we realized, that we entered an area of some truly dramatic landscapes, a place like no other. We could see, that what had been a seabed hundreds of millions years ago, turned into a maze of rock pillars, arches and gorges. Restless streams of water, carrying tiny grains of sand, patiently, layer after layer, cut into the surface of soft rock.
We stopped to have lunch in an awfully touristy complex of restaurants, some kilometers before Bryce. We decided to let our empty bellies turn the utterly overpriced french fries into glucose-based rocket fuel for our tired muscles, and waited through the burning heat of the mid day. We slowly cycled towards the visitor center, and were happy to discover free wifi. We were deliberately super lazy that day. We wanted to see the canyon during the sunset.
We cycled through an ordinary forest, not more special than any other coniferous forest in Utah. Then we followed a path for the visitors, leading from a parking area to the edge of the place. To the very last moment, to the last few steps, we could only see the rim and the blue sky. And then, out of the sudden, there it was:
A huge area of dreamlike landscape. Part of Bryce’s magic is its location, being so well hidden, just like a gigantic crater waiting to be discovered.
We were stunned by the beauty of the unearthly shapes of the rock pillars and comb-like ridges, their layers of colors, ranging from pale pink, through all shades of orange and red, to deep brown. We have never seen anything like that in our lives. We decided to place our Helinox chairs right on the edge, and quietly enjoyed the view.
We made a quick decision – sunrise at Bryce! We went to find a quiet place to put up our tent, set our alarm clocks to 4AM and went to bed. It was well worth it!
So hard to believe, that this is planet Earth!
No matter where we went, no matter how long we stared at those crazy stalactite-like structures, we could not believe, that a place like this exists.
We finally let our eyes rest a bit, and after a perfect cup of cappuccino, decided to carry on.