There’s nothing like Bryce Canyon on earth. It is the largest consolidation of hoodoos in the world, and one of our nation’s most sublime settings.
Having been here at Bryce the past few days I have learned some things. In addition to that, I have a adult son named Bryce that I love very much. Therefore, my advice to visitors and my son is the same.
I headed down the Queen’s Garden Trail @ 08:15 on a Monday morning. A few small groups of people hit the path around the same time, but it was easy to separate from them and have a magical stroll through incredibly beautiful surroundings.
On the way back up the canyon, at exactly 10:15, the trails were a river of hikers. It was as if everyone’s alarm went off at the same time. I hate to be overly dramatic about crowds, but it basically ruins the experience when you have to side-step people every fifty feet. By 11:00 the magical morning was over and it was time for lunch at the hotel.
Bryce, learn to rise before the sun. This practice will bring greater peace to your life. You will approach the day with a clearer mind and accomplish more.
And you’ll have the beauty to yourself and your loved ones more often.
Everyone is grumbling about Utah’s colder-than-usual winter. The weather report showed sub-zero temperatures at sunrise for the entire weekend I had set aside to hike in Bryce Canyon National Park.
I arrived at Inspiration Point at 07:20, moments before sunrise. Lined along the rim of the amphitheater were a few dozen folks watching the early morning light show.
But it was a biting, frigid morning and people were complaining. I overheard more than one conversation that basically went, “I’m going back to the car. I’ll see you there.”
Further up the hillside was another viewpoint (above photo). It looked pretty great from where I was, so I trudged up the snowy hill a few hundred steps.
I cannot explain how much colder it was up there. The temperature must’ve dropped 10 degrees in 100 feet of elevation. Within three minutes I could no longer work my fingers to take photographs and I had to leave immediately because of tremendous discomfort.
But I got my photographs!
Bryce, don’t be afraid of the freezing cold, or the hard, or the scary. Do not let it deter you from chasing your dreams (or doing what is necessary). As Siberian as it was, the experience on that hill was amazing, even the moment at my most benumbed. Try to accept the cold, hard, and scary as an integral part of your life adventure. See it this way and your attitude will bring joy to your challenges.
There are three phenomenal viewpoints in the park: Inspiration Point, Bryce Point, and Sunset Point. They all look in the same direction at mostly the same thing, but each offers a different vantage. I wouldn’t miss these three vistas at Bryce Canyon National Park.
Bryce, you know your purpose: To learn to serve God. In addition to your purpose are the important people, places and things that cross your path. While lesser in magnitude than your purpose, people, places, and things are very important.
Don’t settle for anything less than the best view you can find. You get to pick one wife so make sure she is someone upon whom you can fix your gaze and be happy. And furthermore, don’t settle for where you live, where you work, or with whom you spend your time. Figure out who and what you love most and surround yourself with those people, places, and things.
The Lord will direct you as needed, and at times will ask you to go outside your preferred zone. But there is plenty of room for collaboration. He wants you to enjoy your life.
P.S. The one you’re currently dating is a good one 🙂
As amazing as the Bryce Canyon amphitheater looks from the upper viewpoints, you absolutely have to walk into the canyon and stroll amongst the hoodoos. The magic is in these strange, rocky nurseries.
The morning I spent strolling the Queen’s Garden to the Navajo Loop (which was closed), was one of the best walks of my life. The early light reflected spectacularly off of the hoodoos and pines and gave a shimmer to the snowy landscape. Blue Birds were in abundance, hopping about in the branches. The blowing of the wind and the cracking of the rocks broke up what was otherwise perfect silence.
There is so much perspective to be gained in the hoodoos.
Bryce, make a concerted effort to experience life beyond what you already know. Stroll among the hoodoos — whatever that means to you. Take cooking seriously and get some recipe books. Buy a trail bicycle and ride in the mountains. Learn to paint, or take an automotive maintenance class. Maybe check out the national parks right here in Utah… and use that camera I gave you!
Watch what others are doing and try new things. With new experiences comes greater depth of thought — eventually the thoughts connect and understanding will come from it. God has given you a large, immersive playground to learn about His majesty. Be sure to play in it.
Because of snow closures, the Queen’s Garden trail was no longer a loop trail — you were coming back out the way you came no matter how far you pushed into the Peek-a-Boo Trail.
On my way back up I noticed a man coming from a different direction than the flow of people. I had passed that pseudo-trail on the way down, and because I wasn’t ready to stop hiking for the day I followed his trail of footprints over the bluff.
It was clear where the man had stopped by his tracks in the snow. I don’t know why he had stopped, but because he did I would be the day’s first hiker to go this way.
Turned out it was the highlight of my day — 360 degree views of Bryce Canyon National Park. I had the bluff to myself for a good thirty minutes. Took a few minutes to face-time with the wife. Said a prayer of gratitude. Took some photos. Eventually a family saw me and ventured over, so I made myself scarce.
Bryce, follow your heart, not the crowd. The crowd falls in love with each stupid thing that comes along. God will take you down some interesting paths; sometimes there will be footprints, sometimes not. Not everyone has the guts to follow their promptings, but you will find so much if you follow the trail over the bluff, or around the corner…
Because around the corner, where no one else is looking, some of your best memories and decisions will be found.
Remember, I am the only person on either my mother’s or father’s side of the family who goes to church. I walked beyond the bluff onto the path not taken. Guess how much difference it has made?
Big views and magic hikes are always made better with an understanding of the geology and history surrounding a place.
The Bryce Canyon Visitor Center has a terrific theater film and interactive area where you can learn about the components of the park, e.g, How the terrain was formed, what is the grand staircase, local plants and animals, Native American history, etc.
Along the pathways are additional signage that explain the phenomenon all around you. The experience of Bryce Canyon National Park is deepened through additional learning.
Bryce, cultivate your curiosity. Ask more questions of people. When they give their answers, ask follow-up questions to learn even more.
People know stuff that you don’t know. Everyone around you has lived through things beyond your personal experiences. They have goals you’ve never considered and wisdom you have yet to grasp.
Read about new things. There is so much to learn! I didn’t know I was excited about the universe — stars, nebulas, galaxies — until I decided to read an article about Black Holes in National Geographic. Now it’s one of my primary areas of interest.
It’s a big world out there. There is so much information to be discovered by reading and asking questions that, believe it or not, you can master a good-sized chunk of it in this lifetime.
Bryce Canyon National Park is barely operating this time of year. I did not know this before I came — typically late-March has different weather than what we’re experiencing.
In addition to the Navajo Loop being cancelled, the Rim Trail is limited to the main part of the park, and the Rainbow Point section is completely closed off. The only things running are the primary viewpoints, the Queen’s Garden and Peek-a-Boo trails, and the visitor center.
Bryce, life won’t always go like you plan. Cars crash. Injuries strike. People get in your way. Bills appear out of nowhere. The capriciousness of it all can be maddening — It leads people to develop unhealthy coping skills, or even curse existence.
Life is a test: A series of trials designed to make you humble and strong. Things will not always go your way, and that’s fine because that’s life. Everyone goes through the same thing. Accept it and embrace it. When something awful enters your world, deal with it and remember that there’s a God who loves you. Maybe He’s trying to get your attention, or maybe He’s helping you grow.
And when the trip you planned months ago is dramatically limited because of inclement weather, and you can’t hike everything you want, it’s okay. Life goes on. There is so much beauty ahead of you.
My son, and anyone else who’s reading this, you are loved. Explore this world and explore yourself. Find out what you’re good at and do it. Learn what you can from the people all around you. Go where you feel inspired to go.
And when it’s cold, and everyone is running to the car and complaining, remember to be kind and say hello — even if your fingers are throbbing. The world needs people like you out doing good things.
You are an amazing man and we are so very proud of you.
Thank you for stopping by our website! We are the Hoffmann family, a full-time RV family that has split residence in Seattle, Washington and San Antonio, Texas. We have special needs children that we homeschool, and work travel assignments for the Veteran Affairs Hospital. If you would like to learn more about us, check out our Start Here and Biography pages. In the meantime, God bless and travel happy!
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