Thursday, August 10, 2017

May 22 -- part 1: shifting into the park, and back to Rainbow Point

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Here is a link to the interactive expedition map.


I mentioned before that we spent our first two nights at Bryce in the Best Western just outside Bryce Canyon National Park.  It's a nice hotel, with the best free breakfast we had on this trip, hands down.  Lots of variety, including fresh fruit.

Looking down into my coffee cup.  (The temps were in the mid-60s when we were at Bryce -- sunshine was welcome rather than a scourge.)



Looking west from the hotel.  The road into the park is between the pond and the buildings just beyond the pond.



Looking north from the hotel.



On the 22nd we moved into the park. 

Closer crop of the above.  I can't remember if our room was in this building, but if not, our building was just like this.  We were on the second floor, at the end of the hall.  We had a table and two chairs on our balcony.

We couldn't get into our room in the morning, but we let them know we were there.



We walked up to the rim of the "canyon."  I would be willing to bet this is the most-photographed tree in the park.  A nicely-shaped tree in an astonishing location, literally on the edge.....




It is very interesting for me to look at these pictures, having labored over the ones I took on the 21st.  When I was there, looking at all of this in person, my impression was that I could see it all much better on the cloudy day.  But the camera..................  The camera could see it (and remember it) much better on this clear day.

The pics from the 22nd took me forever to process.  I wanted one level of exposure/contrast for the sky, another for the far background, perhaps another for a "medium" background, and yet another for the foreground.  And maybe two for the foreground, depending.  Selecting all of those different parts of the image successfully is seriously non-trivial.  Many individual images from the 21st took an hour or more to process.

You can imagine my happy surprise to discover that the pics from the 22nd required *vastly* less processing.

Hooray!

Odd, though, when my perception when I was there was that I could see it all much better on the cloudier day!

We are standing on the rim trail.  You can see some more of the trail just below the green trees in the upper right quadrant.  Trail, edge, abyss......



Still amazed by this landscape.




Some people were comfortable sitting right near the edge.  Some were happier many feet away, just looking out over the edge.



Note features along the horizon, which we will see over and over during the course of the day.

Note, also, very pale lines crossing the smooth red hills in the very center of this next image -- they are trails.  (I'll show you a closeup of the trails soon.)



Closer.



Still closer.  We walked on these trails on the 23rd.  Note persons on trail in the lower right....



Closeup of persons on trail.



Hoodoos from the rim near the lodge.  Looking basically east.



I didn't check when I was there.  I bet this is looking basically south.



Closer crop of the middle of the above.



Our daughter hiked part of the rim on May 21.  She wanted to see all the view points on the road through the park, and we were happy to see them again, so on the 22nd we drove back down to Rainbow Point.

Yowza, eh?  Michigan does not look like this...........





There're the same faraway features on the horizon I mentioned above.



We hung out on the rim, waiting for 2:00 pm, and then listened to the ranger talk about the Geology of the Grand Staircase.  It was interesting, with many dinos (the ranger brought plastic models), and one actual genuine dino gastrolith -- some dinos used rocks to aid in "chewing" the plants they ate, just as some birds do.  It was an interesting talk!



After the ranger talk, we had a picnic lunch.  We bought a little cooler in Vegas before we headed out on our expotition, and it served us well.  You can see it under the table....



We walked the first (paved) part of the Bristlecone Loop trail.





We bought me a hat at the same Target where we got the cooler.  It did its job well, protecting my face from the sun, and staying on my head (it had a string), despite windy locations.  Speaking of useful acquisitions, on the ground by our feet you see our daughter's silver metal water bottle, which has visited many countries and many more states....




Note rock formation on the right edge of this next image, a bit below the center.



That same rock formation is on the left edge of this image, right in the center.

Note the familiar features on the horizon.



This helpful info is right by the little shelter at Rainbow Point where we heard the ranger talk.  All this time we've been looking out at Aquarius Plateau, and the Henry Mountains.



This next one is just to the right of the previous landscape pic.  We're looking pretty much straight down.  This is the way it looks over the edge of many of the trails.

When I do risk assessment, I'm interested in the likelihood of bad things happening.  I'm also interested in how bad those bad things are.  If the bad things are really bad (like going over this edge, say!), I'm not interested in taking the risk, even if the likelihood is small.

We saw SO many idiots in SO many precarious positions on this trip.  And yet, as far as I know, none of them fell.  I conclude falling is less likely than I think it is.  But that doesn't change my position that falling is very (VERY) bad, and is to be actively avoided, despite the (probable) unlikelihood.........................


Here is the link to the next post about the Grand Canyon expedition.

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