Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Sunrise . . .

We're camped in Cannonville, UT, (pop. 148 in 2000), one of the small towns along Scenic Byway 12.

I mention the highway because of its status. It has been designated a National Scenic Byway and an All-American Road by the Federal Highway Administration. All-American Roads have one-of-a-kind features so exceptional that they qualify as "destinations unto themselves.”

Rated among the top ten Scenic Byways in America by Car and Driver magazine, the Byway winds through slickrock canyons, red rock cliffs, pine and aspen forests, alpine mountains, national parks, state parks, a national monument, and quaint rural towns.

The rock formations along the section of the highway shown in these first four photos are midway between our campground and the road leading to Bryce Canyon National Park.

These formations occupy just a small section of the 120+ miles of Byway 12, but they provide an introduction to the beauty that lies just ahead in the Canyon.

Our first stop in Bryce Canyon NP was at the Visitor Center. We had looked at the Park map and noticed six main observation points in the main section of the Park. I had noticed that Sunrise Point and Sunset Point, the first two stops, were on the same side of the 18-mile-long road through the Park.

Challenging the idea that there are no dumb questions, I asked one of the Rangers, "Are Sunrise and Sunset Points named for the obvious reasons?"

Surprisingly, the answer was, "No. As a matter of fact, several of us think the names should be changed. The best viewpoint for sunrises and sunsets is Bryce Point."

After visiting Zion and beginning our tour of Bryce here at Sunrise Point (the last six photos), I wished I had taken an Earth Science course in college. (More on my belated intro to geology in a later entry.)

Today, our first stop in the Park was spent marveling at the sights before us.

As we took each photo, walking four steps in any direction presented an entirely different view of what we thought was the same scene. However, those four steps presented different compositions and lighting effects.

Sunrise Point was our first view of Bryce's wonders.

Sunset Point was our next stop.

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