State #41 Utah and the Second of the Might Five

***Due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions, we are delaying posting. These Utah and later posts are a month or so behind.***

Heading out Scenic Byway 12, the elevation rises and the temperatures drop. It was all snow covered mountains on our way to Bryce Canyon.

We drove in and out of the Dixie National Forest.

When the boys saw all the snow, they were so excited. They wanted to play in it SOOOOO bad. We weren’t dressed for snow that day but we assured them they would get to play in the snow.

We woke up looking out the window watching it snow. After breakfast the snow had stopped and we decided to head out to the park. But first we had to get dressed. We don’t usually get snow like this in Georgia, and since I’m always cold and have a hard time believing that my kids aren’t as well, I insisted my boys dress like Randy from the movie A Christmas Story. Cue the eye rolls and complaints. The boys are still wearing their Alaska trapper hats. Thanks Nini and Poppy.

The short drive in to the park was beautiful with all the snow.

Of course, we had to stop for our traditional sign pic.

We stopped by the visitor center and picked up the Junior Ranger books. Several of the trails are always closed in winter but with the recent snow, the road out to Rainbow Point was closed too until they were done plowing, which was fine with me as I wasn’t ready for any more serious hiking anyway. We followed the ranger’s advice hitting the main points within the Bryce Amphitheater area. First stop was Bryce Point.

It was pretty foggy but it started burning off pretty quick.

Bryce Canyon is known for its hoodoos (tall, thin spire of rock protruding from the bottom of an arid drainage basin or badland- per Wikipedia- kind of like a totem pole).

The boys stopped to make some tiny snowmen and throw snowballs in to the canyon. We found out later that we shouldn’t throw snowballs as there could be hikers down in the basin. Ooops. Seemed harmless enough at the time. Sorry.

Next stop, Inspiration Point for some more snow and….

….some more snow covered hoodoos.

Sunset Point and Sunrise Point were next. They are connected along the Rim Trail. That’s where Thor’s Hammer is best seen.

From Sunrise Point we were going to take the Queen’s Garden Trail. However, this is where our plans changed. The boys just wanted to play in the snow and who could blame them. I was perfectly content not hiking down to the bottom. We found a trail to the lodge and since the lodge isn’t open during the winter, it was the perfect spot to stop and play and not disturb the park vegetation.

The boys built a fort, threw snowballs, and buried dad in the snow. No worries, we all had on our ski bibs at this point.

The next day we ran back over to the visitor’s center and Mason turned in his book. Tuck started his but said he didn’t want the badge.

Not far outside of the park, back on Scenic Byway 12, we stopped to hike out the Mossy Cave Trail. The trail leads to a cave…..

and a small waterfall. The waterfall is part of the Tropic Ditch the early pioneers completed in 1892 to get water to the valley below and with the exception of one severe drought in 2002, the water has flowed continuously ever since.

I was excited to see this arch but the trail was closed. Oh well. Moving right along.

Next up is a national monument and the third national park, which is fun with a CAPITAL R???

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