Imagine being 9 years old again, your parents are in Orlando and they are dutifully following all of the signs to Disneyworld. The excitement is building within you. Your nose is pressed against the window eagerly trying to get that first glimpse of the Magic Kingdom. You search for the blue, pointed castle tops to peek out above the trees. Your dad parks the car and you are the first one out of the car, grab your mom’s hand and literally drag her through the parking lot following the signs to the entrance. You can see it all now – in complete view – the
Cinderella’s Castle, Main Street, and Mickey and Minnie are at the gate waving you to come in. Your parents say, “Doesn’t it look beautiful!” while you pose for photos at the entrance with Disneyworld in the background. You feel like you could fly through the air with all of your energy and excitement fueling you. Then your parents take your hand and turn around and head back to the car.
This is how I feel when I visit the National Parks and I don’t have time to hike in them. I sort of think it’s torture to simply look at the mountains, trees, and canyons and not be able hike into it. Up to this point in our National Parks road trip, that’s exactly what had been happening. We only had time to scan the scenic overlooks, or drive through the park, but never really go ‘in’ it. Sure, I had plenty of pictures, but every muscle in my body ached to head down the trail or up the riverbed to explore deeper beyond the throng of tourists.
My chance to hike finally came the last day of our trip. We had already driven to all of the Bryce Canyon scenic overlooks the night before to take sunset pictures, but today, we were going in! After our hearty breakfast with Ethel at Bryce Point Bed and Breakfast, Steve and I drove into Bryce National Park and headed towards the Queen’s Garden trail. We still only had a short 3 hours to hike, but something is better than nothing. I’m not really sure if I had my nose pressed against the window as we pulled into the parking lot, but I do recall being very excited.
Once we found the trail-head we of course were greeted by all of the typical park warning signs. I decided that I would take my chances and hike on the trail without the appropriate hiking boots…I like to live on the edge I guess.
Bryce Canyon is an amazing collection of Terrt-cota colored rock formations called hoodoos. The hoodoos of Bryce Canyon continue to erode and change; wind and rain remove approximately the thickness of a sheet of paper from them each year. They are so unique it about looks fake. Most of the viewing of the park is done from the top rim of the canyon area. It is a beautiful site to see, but today we were going to hike down into the canyon to view the hoodoos up close and from a different perspective.
Mother Nature provided the perfect backdrop – a perfectly clear blue sky. This made the colors of the hoodoos pop even more. The hiking certainly wasn’t strenuous; all we had to do was go down gradually in the beginning. Steve and I were both taking pictures – it was stop/start hiking. We’d stop and take 5 pictures, hike for a bit, stop for picture; we weren’t getting anywhere fast., but we were taking some many photos! The landscape was filled with lone trees creating this amazing color palette of orange, green, and blue. With my wide angle lens I was able to get the full effect of the tall trees close up.
The last 1/3 of the hike was a trail called Wall Street. At the time I had no idea why it was called Wall Street, but it didn’t take me long to figure it out once I arrived at the beginning of the towering hoodoos. I was dwarfed by the size of these formations. I walked around simply looking up, much like a tourist does in New York City; in awe of the height of my surroundings.
The hoodoos were so close together that they created this amazing slot canyon feeling. Occasionally a couple of trees joined the skyscraper hoodoos ; it did really feel like some sort of geological Wall Street; the original Wall Street. Instead of falling stocks, you had to watch out for falling rocks. However as we walked around gazing upwards and making our way up the canyon again, it was completely silent. There was no street noise, no taxi cabs honking, no stressed out traders walking around hyped up on coffee; just silence and the occasional sound of a camera.
Steve and I walked in awe, snapping photos and both thinking how much we preferred this wall street to the ‘other’ one. In fact, this was my favorite experience of our whole National Parks road trip.
If you are near Bryce Canyon, be sure to schedule enough time to walk down through Wall Street. There are no bulls, no bears…just peace and quiet.
Which ‘Wall Street’ do you prefer – Mother Nature or steel and girders?