The Many Moods of Hoodoos

As fickle as the spring weather has been, we’ve been equally fickle in regards to our travel itinerary.  The last few days, Al and I have changed our minds about as often as a teenage girl changes her outfit.Bryce Canyon

Last Friday morning, we were all loaded up and about ready to pull away from Lake Powell with a state park near Beaver, Utah, as our intended overnight destination.  Before Al could put the truck into drive I asked, “What kind of Coloradoans are we to let a little cold and snow keep us from exploring a National Park that’s at the top of our ‘must see’ list?”

Two seconds later, we were on our way to Bryce Canyon National Park.Bryce Canyon National Park

It took us three hours to drive from Page, Arizona, to Panguitch, Utah.  With cold and snow in the forecast, we decided to forego dry camping in the National Park and opt for full hook-ups at the Red Canyon RV Park, about twenty miles from thet Park.   We no sooner had the RV set up and the truck unhooked when we set off to explore.

Yes, it's snowing. The flakes were big, the wind was blowing, but the view was breathtaking.

Yes, it’s snowing. The flakes were big, the wind was blowing, but the view was breathtaking.

Refusing to allow a little snow to keep me from seeing those hoodoos (bulbous rock columns). I bundled up in my winter gear to take in this amazing sight.  It was cold and blustery but OH MY GOSH ….. pictures do not do this place justice!  I was on sensory overload and couldn’t decide where to point the camera.Bryce Canyon National Park

Even Al was awed.  At each scenic overlook, we stood there speechless, admiring the view.  Words can’t begin to describe this perplexing oddity of wind-swept rock.

This morning (Sunday), the weather finally let up long enough for Al and me to enjoy a hike.  According to my darling husband, we spent ten minutes hiking and two hours taking photos, but in reality, we hiked for two hours and snapped photos for ten 😉Bryce Canyon National Park

At 9:45 in the morning,  it was a cold 38 degrees Fahrenheit  (3.3 Celsius).  We started into the canyon via the Navajo Loop trail and eventually turned onto the Queens Garden trail.  The Queens/Navajo Combo trail is about 3 miles long starting at the Sunrise Point trailhead and ending at the Sunset Point trailhead with a 600 foot elevation change.  Although a relatively easy hike, the 600 foot climb back up to the rim can be challenging for some.  The trail can also be muddy and slick in spots.

'Thors Hammer' on the left

‘Thors Hammer’ on the left

beginning of the Navajo Trail

beginning of the Navajo Trail

Perfect hike!

Perfect hike!

The day started off with a beautiful blue sky and little to no wind.  Two hours later, the sky was blanketed in a threatening grey accompanied by swirling winds.   We were glad to be near the end of our hike as the weather started rolling in. hiking

Although the views of Bryce Canyon along the rim are spectacular, strolling among the hoodoos is a surreal experience.  The rocks never rest.  Stones tumbled as we slowly meandered along the trail.  The weather is quick to change causing light to alter hues and shadows.  There are many moods among the hoodoos, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the trees.hoodoos

There are pines of all kinds around here, but the Bristlecone pines are the most intriguing.  They are some of the longest-lived life forms on Earth.  Some of these trees are well over 1,000 years old and their trunks are a unique work of art.  Their ability to grow in such an unrelenting environment is fascinating. Bryce Canyon

The forces of weather continue to erode and sculpt this mesmerizing landscape daily.  We’ve already extended our stay once and may do so again.  Thus, you can plan on seeing more photos and posts on Bryce Canyon National Park.  Stay tuned!Bryce Canyon National Park

This weeks WordPress photo challenge word is admiration ….  after spending the last few days admiring Mother Nature’s creativity along with God’s handy work, it’s obvious who and what have captured my admiration. 



78 thoughts on “The Many Moods of Hoodoos

  1. Pingback: Beauty Abounds | Live Laugh RV

  2. WOW…..these are amazing photos, Ingrid, I am so glad you made that last second decision and went to Bryce Canyon! I am so tempted to follow your trail after leaving the Grand Canyon south rim! To get to photograph our motorhome with the spectacular backgrounds you’ve shown is mind-boggling! Nothing like these backgrounds on the east coast!!!

  3. Breathtaking scenery Ingrid! Deciding to go ahead & visit even in the chilly weather gave you an opportunity to see the canyon in its winter grandeur, something most people wouldn’t see. You are correct about the trees. They are absolutely astounding!

    • We are both very glad we decided to visit Bryce Canyon when we did. Gorgeous! The snow and cold added some additional beauty (not that it needed any) but it also keeps the crowds down. I’m not sure we would enjoy the hiking as much with more folks on the trails. They were crowded plenty on the sunny days 🙂

  4. Oh wow… just wow!!! That place is truly amazing, and your pictures of it in the snow are wonderful! I want to go there! Glad you talked your hubby into changing plans. I bet you will always remember this stop, for sure! Snow just seems to make everything more beautiful, it seems. 🙂

    • That place is absolutely stunning. Photos do not do it justice. Bryce Canyon NP is the most jaw dropping place I’ve ever visited. It’s a must see and probably one of my favorites to date 🙂

    • It is absolutely breathtaking and yes, I was bundled up nicely. I think the weather did keep the crowds down which made for a very enjoyable visit 🙂

  5. Ingrid absolutely stunning images. We have hoodoos in the area but these red one are absolutely spectacular. The white snow adds an exclamation mark of beauty and the need for warm clothes. 🙂

    • The snow does add some oomph to the scenery, not that those views need any help. Hoping to get in another hike among the hoodoos in the morning. BTW, congratulations!

    • No it can’t decide. I just drove back to the RV in sleet, snow, rain, and sunshine, but those views are so spectacular I didn’t mind. After all, it’s that extreme weather that sculpts these amazing hoodoos.

  6. Yeah, you made it to Bryce, we’re looking forward to our return there, we’ve only ridden through on horseback can’t wait to hike it. Hoping it might be a tad warmer than your day, we’ve always been enamored with the tenacious trees but never took the time to identify them.

    • I’ve been eyeing info on horseback riding through the canyon, but I have so enjoyed the hiking that I’ll wait and do it in the fall. The weather is suppose to be agreeable tomorrow so we’ll be back on the trails. Thank goodness I’m not running out of film 😉

  7. Isn’t being flexible wonderful!! We’ve done that same thing with a spur of the moment turn of the wheel. Good for you to not pass by Bryce Canyon. It truly is an unbelievable place. Love the opening photo with the snow in the air. But I am glad you did get to hike down with blue sky:) The blue sky does something magically to the colors of the hoodoos:) Too bad the park paths are made of that horrible clay. There was one area we couldn’t get to because of the deep clay. We’ll try again in a few weeks.

    If you do hang around the area, make a stop at Red Canyon. It is just outside Bryce. The rock colors there are so gorgeous…bubble gum pink, lavender, creamsicle orange.

    Looking forward to more beauty:)

    • We’re currently camped at Red Canyon RV Park along Hwy 12 and thus drive by Red Canyon each time we go up to the national park. We’re targeting Wednesday to hike over there (yep, extended our stay yet again) Any particular recommendation or should we ask at the Red Canyon visitor center?
      That clay does get slick and squishy. There were a couple of interesting moments but I managed to remain upright. May get those hiking poles yet 😆 We’re doing the Queens/Navajo hike again tomorrow but in the opposite direction with hopefully clear blue skies 🙂

  8. Oh did I ever enjoy this adventure through the Hoodoos, Ingrid. Your photos are incredible, and the hike looks wonderful, albeit challenging. I like the snow in the rock formations, it gives depth to the landscape.

    • Thanks Jet. The hike was extremely enjoyable and not too difficult. Those that aren’t accustomed to the altitude seemed to get winded easier than those of us used to hiking at higher elevations. Regardless, those views are so worth a little huffing and puffing.

  9. We love Bryce Canyon. I think I just love rocks.period. And to see that the Queen has her very own garden makes it that much more special.

    • I was trying to keep this post somewhat short and didn’t post the photo of the Queen, but may need to in a future post. Stunning land that has left me speechless!

  10. Looked through your photos a second time. Still love them all, but that’s not a Bristlecone Pine you pictured – it’s a Ponderosa. Bristlecones have short, super-dense needle needles. Once you see one, you won’t forget. Hope you drive to the south end, and do the Bristlecone Trail. You’ll see them out on the point.

    • Hmm? I tried not to label any one photo with the name of a tree but perhaps my placement of a particular photo was misleading. I realize there are four different varieties of Bristlecone and each one has it’s own distinct look. And of course, there is also other vegetation. Amazing how that stuff can grow in such a harsh environment. Fascinating!

        • Absolutely no offense taken. I was tired when I posted so the placement of the photo with narration was misleading. I usually try not to name things because I invariably get it wrong LOL.

  11. Can’t wait to see more photos. So glad you decided to venture in, and take your chances with the cold.

    Thanks again for your advice on Wolf Creek Pass. With our deteriorating forecast, we decided not to head to Great Sand Dunes. Think we made the right decision, as the tire chain signs were up. We carry chains, but have never had to use them. Drove through snow all day, which turned to rain. Landed at Chandelier National Monument is Los Alamos. Happy with our choice. The Dunes will have to wait. We probably would have planned to forge ahead without your sage advice, so thanks.

    • Although cold, it wasn’t unbearable and the stunning sight was worth having to bundling up. Sounds like a wise choice not taking Wolf Creek Pass. Even for us seasoned Colorado drivers, it can still present some white knuckle moments.

  12. Even before I started reading and saw your first picture I thought Bryce! We have yet to go but when we do we will go when there is snow. It adds an element that makes this beautiful area even more stunning. Awesome photos!

    • Since the park is between 8,000 and 9,000 feet in elevation, I think you can be sure of snow anytime in the spring or fall. I certainly wouldn’t recommend winter unless you have snowshoes and not all the park is open. FYI – the trails are slick and muddy in spots most of the time. If you plan on staying in the national park, do so with the truck camper. We could fit into a few spots with our 31′ but maneuvering into mounded or sloped sites isn’t our idea of fun. You’ll love Bryce Canyon!

    • We’re glad we didn’t allow the weather to keep us from visiting this stunning park. Beautiful and perplexing all at the same time.

  13. Bryce is a beautiful place indeed. We haven’t been for a couple of years, but I would love to go again sometime soon. The last time we were there it snowed a lot, and we were boondocking down a dirt road outside the park. We got up at 4am to snow and quickly got out before we couldn’t.

    • We know all to well how those dirt roads get. We always boondock around Moab and that mud turns in a thick molding clay when wet. We’ve already decided to spend more time in southern Utah in the fall. I may be emailing you for advice. Visiting Torrey and Capital Reef is part of the plan. This is incredible country that needs to be explored without a schedule.

    • Al and I have been having fun with the word ‘hoodoo’ and then of course hiking among them was a treat. The trees, the rocks, the hoodoos…. hoodoo I point the camera at?

  14. So glad you finally made it to Bryce and were able to do some hiking! The photos with the snow are my favorites and I love the views from beneath the rim. Here’s hoping the weather will cooperate and you will be able to do some more hiking!

    • The weather is a little on off today but Tuesday and Wednesday are looking good which is why we extended our stay. Hiking among the hoodoos – once was not enough. I too like the white snow against the red rock. Makes for a lovely contrast.

    • As a horticulturist, I think you would find the Bristlecone Pines fascinating along with all the other things able to grow in such a harsh land. You definitely need to put Bryce Canyon high on your list. It won’t disappoint 🙂

  15. Whenever I see hoodoos, I start singing Paul Simon’s ‘Love Me Like a Rock’. 🙂 What a neat experience to hike that in the cold. I’ll bet the freeze/thaw increases the amount of rock movement. Clear air, crisp sounds, and no crowds…wow!

    • Initially I wasn’t thrilled about the cold, but once out and about, it does add to the unique beauty and as you said – “Clear air, crisp sounds, and small crowds”. We hope to get in two more days of hiking before hitting the road.

  16. What an amazing landscape. I misread initially misread “with a 600 foot elevation” as “with a 600 foot elevator.” It might be convenient, but I’m still glad I was wrong. 🙂

    • As we were hiking back out of the canyon, we were joking with other hikers about the elevator being broke and one lady asked jokingly, “where’s the moving sidewalk?” Everyone was doing a little huffing and puffing but all in good fun and spirits. Ah, those views!

      • It would be useful! They’d have to hollow out a rock and stick it inside to preserve the look of the place, though. 🙂 Wouldn’t want to spoil such a majestic landscape.

  17. Great review Ingrid. We plan to be at Bryce in mid June with our granddaughter. Can’t wait to hit the trails. Love your photos and I can understand the sensory overload. I felt that way seeing and hiking the Superstitions. Can’t imagine what it will be like there but now I have some idea. 🙂

    • I think you and I are on the same page about the Superstitions – it’s a special place. Bryce Canyon is equally if not more breathtaking, but in it’s own way. You’ll love it. Ruby’s RV Park is the perfect place to stay especially with a granddaughter in tow. The hike we took is the most popular in the park and a perfect fit for kids. We’ll be hiking it again tomorrow, but this time in the recommended clockwise direction.

  18. Hoodoo you know? Really great set of photos. Landscapes like these are why I love the Southwest so much.

    • Hoodoo YOU know? LOL I’m enamored with the “four corner” states and although I look forward to traveling beyond their borders, I wouldn’t complain if I had to stay in CO, NM, UT, or AZ. Gorgeous country that never gets old.

      • Have you been to the De Na Zin wilderness area, part of the Bisti Badlands, south of Farmington, NM? I has lots of great hoodoos and whole petrified trees lying about.

        • No, I have not been there. I first heard about that place from a blogging photographer and RVer. Thanks for reminding me. It’s not that far from areas we like to travel. Thus, will need to make not of it.

  19. You made it – yay! I think the snow only added to the gorgeous scenery. And I have almost an exact duplicate of your last photo above. Really beautiful – thanks for sharing!

    • It is beautiful, isn’t it? I was actually looking forward to seeing the snow against the red rocks, but shhh, don’t tell my husband LOL.

  20. awesome place huh,,, next timeur in the area , above cedar city is a loop to parowan an back to beaver . takes ya to 11,307 at top of brian head an up there right down the road is cedar breaks national monument,,is an incredible place so is the fishing up there in the natural springs, lotsa rv camp spots also…is way kewl route..jest so ya know ..fer fun if ya haven’t seen it .take care Q

    • Twenty some years ago we camped at Cedar Breaks National Monument and today we intended to drive over there to reminisce. Unfortunately, the road is still closed and covered in snow. Thus, we’ll visit in the fall on our way south. Thanks for the heads up though. It is a stunning sight to behold.

      • wow how cool, i used to spend almost every summer at brian head, my family had a place there called chalet village, moved frum there to here, after the great escape frum calforniA eh …. happy travelin an be safe an watch out fer da other guy! 🙂 .peace-out frum Q now @ wolf creek colorado

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