..is the way Ebenezer Bryce, a homesteader from Scotland characterized the place close to his cabin when asked about what he thinks about its majestic beauty. As an immigrant who came trying to make a living the practicality of the place where he lived trumped its beauty. The canyon, or actually a collection of horse-shoe amphitheaters, is located on Paunsaugunt Plateau in south-east Utah. Its name came from Bryce family, Ebenezer and Mary, who were of the few who had a house here and people started to call it after their name, Bryce Canyon. Bryce was or became a Mormon like most of the one who found their way in Utah at the time.
The beauty of Bryce National Park is unmatched. The explosion of orange under the blue sky, the lines of spires that evolved from eroded walls making way to windows and further to “hoodoos” is spellbinding. Rows and rows of fins or pinnacles create a spectacular maze. In the native Paiutes language Bryce canyon is called “Unka timpe-wa-wince-pock-ich”, translated as red rocks standing like men in a bowl-shape canyon.
Hiking inside the canyon is a unique experience that I zest of doing for many years. Many years ago, I drove one day from the desert into the canyon in the evening ready for the next day hike. I did not plan in detail where I will end up and I was not dressed properly. In the morning I was awaken at 6:00 AM by a roaring engine under my window. I was curious to see who was the idiot who was mowing the lawn so early, but when I opened the blinds I was in shock to see more than 10 inches of snow that covered the ground from an unexpected, for me at least, overnight snow storm. The park, whose rim reaches 9100 feet altitude, got closed and I did not know how to run away to lower altitude with my flimsy pants and clothing and the tiny sedan I was driving.
That day opened up for me a window to the magic world of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, that I discovered unexpectedly to be, unmistakably, so mysterious. And it is! And what about Bryce? Well, I drove around and hiked at that time through lower parts of Utah and on my way back to the desert I stopped again in Bryce. The park was open and I drove through it on the 12 mile asphalt road but the hike was out of question: all the access paths inside the canyon were muddy, the boots getting deep into the muck and coming out oozing of clay. Since that visit sometimes in late 90s, the beauty of the Four Corner area and beyond somehow kept me away from Bryce. Till now…