The Plateau of Mirror, July 2008

Bryce Canyon National Park at sunset
Bryce Canyon National Park at sunset
Flowers in alpine meadow, Cedar Breaks National Monument
Flowers in alpine meadow, Cedar Breaks National Monument

• The Waiting

Due to a broken heater hose, I spent an extra day in Moriarty, New Mexico, waiting for a part to come from Albuquerque. By the end of that day, I was in Page, Arizona late for the night.

Hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Park
Hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Park

• Glen Canyon Dam, Cottonwood Canyon, Bryce Canyon

First thing in the morning, I drove around and hiked around at the Glen Canyon Dam. There were a few short trails to hike, and the sandstone formations made pretty interesting pictures. By 10 am, it was already getting pretty hot. I hiked along the east side of the water until the dam and power lines were out of site.

Security at the Glen Canyon Dam would let me bring neither my camera bag nor my Ralston tool into the visitor center.

Took the Cottonwood Canyon road north from highway 89 toward Bryce, stopping at some views in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The road was way rough, washboarded, and spooky lonely.

Grosvenor Arch
Grosvenor Arch

Grosvenor Arch, while popular and easily accessed, was an excellent stop.

Kodachrome Basin State Park was next. It was geographically smaller than I thought it would be. Since it was mid-afternoon, it was very hot, but I did hike a couple of decent trails. The trails were poorly cairned and a little confusing, but the park was so small that there was no chance of getting lost.

Bryce Canyon is as spectacular as one might expect, and at least twice as crowded. Even hiking into the amphitheater, I was surrounded by noisy tourists. I stayed through the sunset.

Fisheye overview of Kodachrome Basin State Park, Utah
Fisheye overview of Kodachrome Basin State Park, Utah

• Cedar Breaks National Monument and Brian Head

I gave my entire day to Cedar Breaks National Monument. Nice, fairly long, solitary hikes out to Spectra Point, then Rampart Point. It was cooler than Bryce since it is at around 10,000 feet. Blue skies. Unlike Bryce, the trails don’t lead down into the amphitheater.

Cedar Breaks Amphitheater
Cedar Breaks Amphitheater

A very different hike down to the Alpine Pond. The pond was quite small, surrounded by Bristlecone Pine trees, many of which were dying from pine bark beetle infestation.

With a few hours to kill, I drove up to the regional high point, Brian Head, which featured excellent views and complete privacy.

Finished the evening with sunset at Cedar Breaks

• Zion Drive, Red Canyon, and Bryce Canyon at Sunset

Since I was staying just 12 miles away, I thought I would be remiss in my duties not to at least drive through Zion National Park. At this time of year, however, it is quite hot and quite crowded, so I didn’t stay long or hike.

Formations in Red Canyon Area
Formations in Red Canyon Area

Discovered a nice visitor center at Red Canyon west of Bryce, operated by the U. S. Forest Service. I hiked a nice one-mile loop trail in Losee Canyon past some very interesting red sandstone arches.

Red Canyon hike
Red Canyon hike

I ended the day back in Bryce, sort of tying up loose ends; visiting overlooks and short trails that I felt might make pictures. Nice day.

Foreigners, particularly Europeans, outnumbered Americans by at least 3:1 at every stop on this trip.

• Grand Canyon North Rim, Wupatki, and Sunset Crater

As I began to make my way back toward home, I stopped at several choice points along the way, including Wupatki National Monument and Sunset Crater National Monument. My first venue was the north rim of Grand Canyon National Park. It was a nice drive, and it was, as I had heard, not very crowded, but I didn’t have very good light, so I felt I was missing the true majesty of the place.

Grand Canyon North Rim
Grand Canyon North Rim

Watch The Plateau of Mirror movie here…

Additional images:

Boulder field with shelter house in the distance, Brian Head Peak, Utah.
Boulder field with shelter house in the distance, Brian Head Peak, Utah.
Fisheye view of shelter house, Brian Head Peak, Utah; the peak, at 11,307 feet, is just above the tree line.
Fisheye view of shelter house, Brian Head Peak, Utah; the peak, at 11,307 feet, is just above the tree line.
View from inside the shelter house showing Cedar Breaks National Monument in the distance.
View from inside the shelter house showing Cedar Breaks National Monument in the distance.
Cedar Breaks National Monument seen from Brian Head peak.
Cedar Breaks National Monument seen from Brian Head Peak.
From the other direction: Brian Head Peak viewed from Cedar Breaks.
From the other direction: Brian Head Peak viewed from Cedar Breaks.
Wildflowers below Brian Head Peak.
Wildflowers below Brian Head Peak.
Hoodoos at Bryce Canyon just after sunset.
Hoodoos at Bryce Canyon just after sunset.
Afternoon light and shadow in Bryce Canyon.
Afternoon light and shadow in Bryce Canyon.
Douglas Firs grow in the Wall Street section of Bryce Canyon.
Douglas Firs grow in the Wall Street section of Bryce Canyon.
Chipmunk on the trail, Bryce Canyon.
Chipmunk on the trail, Bryce Canyon.
Queen's Garden trail, Bryce Canyon.
Queen’s Garden trail, Bryce Canyon.
Arch, Bryce Canyon.
Arch, Bryce Canyon.
Bryce Amphitheater looking toward the south rim.
Bryce Amphitheater looking toward the south rim.
"Sinking Ship," Bryce Canyon.
“Sinking Ship,” Bryce Canyon.
"Natural Bridge," Bryce Canyon; it is not actually a natural bridge, but an arch.
“Natural Bridge,” Bryce Canyon; it is not actually a natural bridge, but an arch.
Eroded tops of hoodoos, Bryce Canyon, after sunset.
Eroded tops of hoodoos, Bryce Canyon, after sunset.
Dead tree near the high point at Bryce on the southern end of the park.
Dead tree near the high point at Bryce on the southern end of the park.
Slope face in light and slope face in shadow, Bryce Canyon.
Slope face in light and slope face in shadow, Bryce Canyon.
Bryce Amphitheater about 15 minutes after sunset.
Bryce Amphitheater about 15 minutes after sunset.
Cedar Breaks National Monument amphitheater viewed through Bristlecone Pines.
Cedar Breaks National Monument amphitheater viewed through Bristlecone Pines.
Bristlecone Pine Cedar Breaks; many of these ancient trees are dead or dying due to a pine bark beetle infestation.
Bristlecone Pine Cedar Breaks; many of these ancient trees are dead or dying due to a pine bark beetle infestation.
Some of the trees in Cedar Breaks have been growing for 1000 years.
Some of the trees in Cedar Breaks have been growing for 1000 years.
Alpine Pond trail, Cedar Breaks.
Alpine Pond trail, Cedar Breaks.
Alpine Pond trail, Cedar Breaks.
Alpine Pond trail, Cedar Breaks.
Park road, Cedar Breaks.
Park road, Cedar Breaks.
Distant view from Cedar Breaks looking west.
Distant view from Cedar Breaks looking west.
Along the Alpine Pond trail, Cedar Breaks.
Along the Alpine Pond trail, Cedar Breaks.
Highleap Canyon seen from North View, Cedar Breaks.
Highleap Canyon seen from North View, Cedar Breaks.
Highleap Canyon seen from North View, Cedar Breaks.
Highleap Canyon seen from North View, Cedar Breaks.
Columbine, Alpine Pond trail, Cedar Breaks.
Columbine, Alpine Pond trail, Cedar Breaks.
Lavendar Canyon from North View, Cedar Breaks.
Lavendar Canyon from North View, Cedar Breaks.
Thunderstorm clouds in northern Arizona, sunset.
Thunderstorm clouds in northern Arizona, sunset.
The rough, lightly traveled shortcut from Glen Canyon to Kodachrome Basin, the Cottonwood Canyon road.
The rough, lightly traveled shortcut from Glen Canyon to Kodachrome Basin, the Cottonwood Canyon road.
Striations in sandstone at Lake Powell, above the Glen Canyon Dam.
Striations in sandstone at Lake Powell, above the Glen Canyon Dam.
Small natural arch, Lake Powell, above the Glen Canyon Dam.
Small natural arch, Lake Powell, above the Glen Canyon Dam.
Self portrait on a sandstone beach at Lake Powell.
Self portrait on a sandstone beach at Lake Powell.
Whitewater rafters start their journey down the Colorado River from just below the Glen Canyon Dam.
Whitewater rafters start their journey down the Colorado River from just below the Glen Canyon Dam.
Power lines and highway bridge, Glen Canyon Dam.
Power lines and highway bridge, Glen Canyon Dam.
Glen Canyon Dam with Lake Powell behind it.
Glen Canyon Dam with Lake Powell behind it.
Grand Canyon National Park from Bright Angel Point, north rim, morning.
Grand Canyon National Park from Bright Angel Point, north rim, morning.
Grand Canyon National Park from Point Imperial, north rim, with Marble Canyon in the distance.
Grand Canyon National Park from Point Imperial, north rim, with Marble Canyon in the distance.
Angles Window, Cape Royal, Grand Canyon National Park.
Angles Window, Cape Royal, Grand Canyon National Park.
Grosvenor Arch, south of Kodachrome Basin State Park, Utah.
Grosvenor Arch, south of Kodachrome Basin State Park, Utah.
Another view of Grosvenor Arch.
Another view of Grosvenor Arch.
Shakespeare Arch, Kodachrome Basin State Park, Utah.
Shakespeare Arch, Kodachrome Basin State Park, Utah.
Spire, Kodachrome Basin State Park.
Spire, Kodachrome Basin State Park.
On the trail at Kodachrome Basin State.
On the trail at Kodachrome Basin.
Hikers on prominence, Kodachrome Basin.
Hikers on prominence, Kodachrome Basin.
Fisheye view of Marble Canyon of the Colorado from Navajo Bridge.
Fisheye view of Marble Canyon of the Colorado from Navajo Bridge, Arizona.
Marble Canyon and Vermilion Cliffs from Navajo Bridge, Arizona.
Marble Canyon and Vermilion Cliffs from Navajo Bridge, Arizona.
Losee Canyon Natural Arch, Red Canyon, Utah.
Losee Canyon Natural Arch, Red Canyon, Utah.
Red Canyon, Utah.
Red Canyon, Utah.
Small natural arch, Red Canyon, Utah.
Small natural arch, Red Canyon, Utah.
Cliffs and tree line, Red Canyon, Utah.
Cliffs and tree line, Red Canyon, Utah.
Plants and cinder slope, Sunset Crater National Monument, Arizona.
Plants and cinder slope, Sunset Crater National Monument, Arizona.
Cinder slope, Sunset Crater.
Cinder slope, Sunset Crater.
Wall and ruins, Wupatki National Monument, Arizona.
Wall and ruins, Wupatki National Monument, Arizona.
Ruins, Wupatki.
Ruins, Wupatki.
Clouds and ruins, Wupatki.
Clouds and ruins, Wupatki.
Cinder cone and road, northern Arizona.
Cinder cone and road, northern Arizona.
Bryce Canyon in mid-afternoon light
Bryce Canyon in mid-afternoon light
Evening, Bryce Canyon
Evening, Bryce Canyon