For Thanksgiving weekend, we got out of town to hit up Bryce Canyon, especially since I'd never been. And when you have an annual parks pass, you'd best use it.
Anthony and I both had Friday off as well, and initially I wanted to be away for the whole four days. But with cold weather and wrangling a cat sitter, we just did a quick one-nighter, which turned out to be enough.
The kitties wished they could have come.
We left early Friday morning to head south.
We headed straight to Bryce to make the most of the day. We picked a random spot to park and ventured out into some trails.
It was cold, but not too bad once you get moving. The sun was out and I've finally learned how to dress warmly.
The amazing thing in winter - you'll quickly notice that everyone drives from viewpoint to viewpoint, hops out of the car for a few photos, and then drives on. We saw no one on this trail, despite seeing a good bit of road traffic! No one dared venture too far from the car. Bonus for us.
We did the Swamp Canyon loop, then drove to the very end of the canyon to Rainbow Point. Probably the most full parking lot, but once again, we got out and hit a trail and had the place to ourselves.
There was a fire not too long ago, lots of dead stuff in this part.
This place was pretty magical, with the sun going down and just being alone, listening to sounds of nature.
It started to get pretty cold once we lost the sun, so we headed back to the car. This spot is at 9000 ft elevation, so it's chilly.
Snapped a photo on the drive back to town. So gorgeous.
We had a motel reservation in Panguitch, about half an hour away from the park. Since it's the off season, I didn't know how many food places would still be open right at the park area. Pro tip - pack a lunch to eat in the car. There are a couple places to stay/eat that we did see open right at Bryce, even in winter. But staying in Panguitch works too. When we checked into our room, I'm glad we had a reservation, because it was sold out for the weekend, even though I only booked it two days before. And on the way into town we saw a restaurant that looked interesting - Tandoori Taqueria. We were stoked to try it, then sad to find out it wasn't open. I thought we were doomed to eat at the Subway inside a gas station, but luckily we saw a little cafe across the street. We got takeout and took it back to the motel. Fancy living.
Checked on the kitties via our cat cam. They're just fine.
Saturday morning Anthony wanted to get going early, like 7am. Except when we woke up, it was 9 degrees outside. That's a no for me. I wanted to wait until the sun came up and we got a little more warmth. We maybe left our room around 9am and drove to Bryce Point for the Peekaboo Loop trail, which is just over 5 miles.
At work, the CEO handed out a little holiday bonus, giving everyone $100 to spend to help someone, and another $100 to do something memorable. We spent our fun money on shoe spikes for winter hiking, and they came in handy on this trail.
This trail did get crowded as the day went on, but for the first 90 minutes or so, we only saw 4 people.
You wind through some trail under the canyon rim and make your way to the canyon floor. It's really cool.
There's a good bit of up and down on this loop, so lots of vantage points.
We obviously didn't see everything in Bryce, but I would wager that this loop is the best hike in the park.
We finished up mid-afternoon and decided to head home. We got enough fill, since Bryce is small and it was really cold.