Nevada-Utah Vacation, Bryce Canyon National Park: September 27-30, 2015
Our first night was spent in the Bryce Canyon Lodge near Sunset Point. Again, because our reservations were made at the last minute, we had one night in the lodge, one night in the nearby town of Panguitch, and the third night was back at Bryce Canyon Lodge near Sunrise Point. It was our first visit to this park and the scenery was startlingly beautiful with all of the gingerbread features of the hoodoos (rock formations). If landscape can be compared to architecture, I'd label this baroque. One of the more dominant hoodoos of the Navajo Trail is Thor's Hammer (shown above).
We were fortunate to be staying at the Bryce Canyon Lodge this first night because it was also the evening of the lunar eclipse. After hiking most of the day, we stationed ourselves below the canyon rim and next to a couple of other photographers who had apps to tell them where/when the moon would rise. At the canyon's rim from Sunset to Sunrise points there a hustle and bustle of tourists, photographers, park rangers with telescopes jockeying for position.
It was a beautiful, warm evening to watch the sunset and the moonrise. The moon came up with a bite already in it.
More hiking the next day on the Queens/Navajo Loop Trail and the more difficult Hat Shop Trail.
The trees that grow in the "Wallstreet" portion of the Navajo Trail are Douglas Fir. The walls in this section are probably 200-300 ft high.
The Hat Shop trailhead is at Bryce Point and has a starting elevation of 8300 ft. As with all of the hikes in Bryce, the trail descends on the way into the canyon and you must climb out at the end. Hat Shop trail (4 miles/6.2 km RT) descends 1075 ft (328m) into the canyon. It didn't seem that steep on the way in, but it definitely did on the way out.
Smiling on the way in and not so much on the way out.
As we were plodding back up to Bryce Point, the weather was becoming more and more threatening. There were dark clouds and thunder but thankfully no lightening because we had no way to shelter ourselves.
During the day and when my cell phone had a signal, I checked on my car. The garage finally looked at it about 4:30 pm on Monday. My car was diagnosed with a broken fuel pump and I was informed that it would take 5-7 days to get a new fuel pump and filter. Back on the phone with GEICO I was impressed at their efficiency. The closest repair shop (with good online reviews) that specialized in BMWs was about 200 miles away in Washington, Utah. The GEICO employee got approval to have the car towed to St. George, but it took a while to locate a tow company willing to make the journey. She had the entire office calling tow companies, and finally a willing tow company was located in Page, Arizona. Page was 300 miles from Escalante. Chris of Canyon Towing (928-660-2858) agreed to drive the 300 miles to Escalante, pick up my car, and deliver it 200 miles away to Washington, UT. He also agreed to let us ride with him. Chris said he'd leave Page at 6:30 am the next day and expected to arrive in Escalante about 10:00 am.
Tuesday morning, Chris drove up in his pick-up truck and a vehicle transport trailer. We hopped into his truck and began the slow trip south to Bavarian Werkstatte in Washington, Utah.
The next day, Chris (another one) of Bavarian Werkstatte confirmed that it was indeed a failed fuel pump that was ailing my car. He ordered the parts and said it would be ready in 1-2 days.
Our last day in Bryce, we did a relatively easy hike (compared to Hat Shop). We hiked a portion of the Fairyland trail that took us to a hoodoo called Tower Bridge. This trail had a descent of only 802 ft (245m). It was worth it!