Bryce Canyon National Park

Monday, June 26, 2017

We had time left over this afternoon to start exploring our next park.  Bryce Canyon is a busy park full of views and hikes to enjoy.  The Visitors Center has a wonderful display explaining the Colorado Plateau and the Great Staircase.

Sedimentary rocks are laid down in layers called beds or strata. A bed is defined as a layer of rock that has a uniform lithology and texture. Beds form by the deposition of layers of sediment on top of each other. The sequence of beds that characterizes sedimentary rocks is called bedding.

The southern portion of the Colorado Plateau is marked by a series of southward-facing escarpments (cliffs) 500-1000m high. On September 25, 1996 in a ceremony at Grand Canyon National Park established a National Monument, part of which includes major portions of the Grand Staircase.

The escarpments are separated by by broad benches or terraces. These include, from south to north, The Mogollon Rim-Grand Wash Cliffs (south and west margins of the Plateau, respectively), the Mogollon Slope-Ward Terrace-Arizona Strip, the Chocolate-Vermilion-Echo Cliffs, the White Cliffs, the Gray Cliffs, and the Pink Cliffs. Collectively, the region from the Grand Canyon to Bryce Canyon has been termed the Grand Staircase. The Colorado River and its tributaries have incised deep, spectacular canyons into this landscape including The Grand Canyon, Glen Canyon, Marble Canyon, Zion Canyon, and hundreds of others. This incredible rock wonderland, much of it without a tree to mar the view, exposes one of the finest sedimentary rock records. The nearly flat-lying sedimentary rocks dip gently northward, usually less than 2°. Successively younger strata are exposed as one proceeds northward.

Notes:  http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/rcb7/Grand_Staircase.html

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National Parks Service Diagram  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Staircase

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Cedar Breaks National Monument

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Monday, June 26, 2017

As we drove to our next KOA campground, we checked out Cedar Breaks National Monument.  It offered our beginning views of rock formations, bristlecone pine groves, and lush wildflower meadows.

They say Cedar Breaks resembles a miniature Bryce Canyon. The Native Americans called Cedar Breaks the “Circle of Painted Cliffs.” Millions of years of uplift and erosion have carved this huge amphitheater.

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Quail Ridge State Park

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Sunday, June 25, 2017

This lake is just around the corner from our KOA Campground and has been calling our name to stop by and rest a while.  Today after Deane did laundry we picked up a Subway sandwich and drove here to sit and watch the many boats, skiers, jet skies and swimmers from the comfort of our air conditioned car.  It’s another one of those 110° plus days.

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Kolob Canyon – Zion National Park

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Saturday – June 24, 2017

Kolob Canyon – Zion National Park is an extension to the north of Zion National Park.  It offers several trails and a scenic drive.

As we returned to camp, we drove into the town of St. George and relaxed at their Children’s Museum park until we were toasted.  The children were entertaining themselves in a fountain to keep cool.   We sat in the shade on benches surrounding the perimeter.  It was a lovely setting for a relaxing afternoon.  Outback restaurant became our restaurant of choice for dinner.  Thank goodness for air conditioned cars in this extreme heat.

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Zion National Park

IMG_8452 Zion NP

Thursday – June 22, 2017

We were waiting at the gate in line at 7:00 a.m. to enter the park.  It seems many people had the idea to get there early to beat the heat and crowds.  Even with their efficient bus system we stood in line until 8:00 a.m. to head up the road to our first stop,

We worked our way back down the road via bus stops as Deane checked out some of the trails.  This park has the most beautiful layered colored sandstone with the woods green hue making it a peaceful view.  I’m sure I could have stayed there all day if it wasn’t for the exhausting heat.

Friday – June 23, 2017 – A day of rest and running a few errands.

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Pipe Spring National Monument

Pipe Spring map

Wednesday – June 21, 2017

After several hours on the road from Grand Canyon , we stopped at Pipe Spring National Monument.

This spring located in the middle of the desert had many interested in holding that land as their own.  The Indians first, then the Mormons who were looking for a good size property to locate a center for their religion away from government controls found this land very enticing.  Finally, after the Mormons and one of the Indian tribes were managing okay, the Louisiana Purchase went through and the U.S. government had a great interest in this property.  This national monument tells you of the struggle and those involved in greater detail making it a piece of history.

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Grand Canyon South Rim

Grand Canyon S Rim OverviewGrand Canyon South Rim Overview with Colorado River Below

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

We arrived at the park at 7:00 a.m. to beat the heat and crowd today.  The crowd was present but using bus transportation was easier compared to Yosemite NP.  This bus system and signs, along with a good clear to understand map were easier to maneuver and we used it more than we’d expected.  We were able to see as much of the rim views as we wanted.  To experience the park any further though, you need more than one day so you can hike some of the trails to go down into the canyon.  That would be the ultimate if you are able.

I’ve heard of the Grand Canyon most of my life so to finally see it was very special.  There was a haze in the air most of the day so the views we experienced were more for our enjoyment and not capable of being reproduced in photo.  As at most national parks, seeing the film at the Visitor’s Center about the park always adds so much to your visit.  We then were able to go to the iMax just outside the South Entrance and see their movie as well.  I marvel that people actually made it from the east coast to the west traveling these terrains.  Discouragement must have frequently shown its ugly head.

Grand Canyon is a geologist dream to explore.  Its story tells of geologic processes played out over unimaginable time spans as a unique combination of size, color and dazzling erosional forms: 277 river miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and a mile deep.

Note:  Temperature near 110°

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