Monday, June 29, 2015

Hiking the Mysterious Hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Park #FindYourPark

Bryce Canyon Wilderness Area

A "Hoodoo" is defined as a pillar of rock, usually in a totem-pole like shape, formed by the erosion made by frost and rain.

It also is defined as "to cast a spell"...

A 360 degree amphitheater of color.
And that’s exactly what happens to us as we step out of the van on a cloudy day at 7,800ft in Bryce Canyon National Park. Packs on, warm layers ready, we are eager to get on the renown 5.5 mile Fairyland Trail that extends from Fairyland Point to Sunset Point.

But we are NOT prepared to have our breath completely taken away. As we stand at our starting place, Fairyland Point, we're mesmerized, as if hit by a mysterious force, by the shocking beauty of the wilderness before us.

Hoodoos are created by Coyote the Trickster Spirit. And frost and rain.

video


In front of us, and surrounding us completely as we begin the hike in, are hundreds of towers in glowing shades of orange. These crumbling pillars rise over our heads, some as tall as 10 stories high, in a full 360 degree amphitheater of jaw-dropping color.


Hoodoos as tall as 10-story buildings.

I literally take a moment to sit, breathe, and take it all in while my friends hike on ahead. I’ll catch up in a little bit but i crave the silence and space of this breathtaking place. It’s hikes like these that can’t help but make us reflect on bigness and smallness of our existence in this world.

Bryce is mostly limestone rock, but note the multiple colors of other types of rock from the stream bed.

The Paiute Indians, who inhabited this area 800 years ago, felt the same way. They described the hoodoos as “Legend People” who were turned into stone by Coyote, their trickster spirit. Magic happened to create Bryce Canyon. And I can’t help but wonder if important people that I’ve lost are mingling in happily with these trickster spirits and legend people.

I hope so.


Towering hoodoos in peculiar shapes make this hike a fantasyland. 


Sleet greets us at Sunset Point and gives my eye a giant splot.

The hike is a series of downs and ups over a 5.5mile trek and a joy to experience. Come, see Bryce. Words can hardly define it and photos give just a taste of the fantasy of the trail.

Bryce is known as a backpackers park, so come back to hike-in overnight. I know I will. Or get just a taste with this Fairlyand Trail. Bring warm weather gear. Rain turns to sleet by the end of the day and our heads and hearts are full.

-Outdoorsy Mama

Trip Report:
Location: Fairyland Trail from Fairyland Point to Sunset Point, Bryce Canyon National Park
Length & Elevation: 5.5 miles. Rolling terrain: down 600', up 300', down 200', up 700' (approximations)
Level of difficulty: Lots of ups and downs. Moderate. No real precarious exposures.
Exposure: Full sun. Bring layers for high elevation. Possible rain and snow.
What to wear: Bring everything for sun and cold. Weather changes quickly and high elevation makes this a generally cooler hike. I wore a sun hat for the first half, shifted to wool hat and rain gear by the end.
Kid friendly: Yes, for kids who are hikers and follow normal trail etiquette and safety. No real serious trail exposures.
Best time to visit: After a snowfall, after a rain-storm. Colors of rocks pop.
Tip: This is a one way trail. We had a pick up at Sunset Point. There is a Fairyland Loop that adds another 4.5 miles.
Disclaimer: Check the weather and trail conditions from a trusted source before attempting this or any hike. All hiking stats are approximations. Be sure to confirm on a good map.

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