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, 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.
• 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.
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.
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.
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.