(36 pictures, but it was 5 different parks along with astrophotography and the very photogenic lightning storm.)
Cedar Breaks to Red Canyon to Bryce, dark skies and stars, an eclipse, a state park named Kodachrome Basin, pronghorn antelope, the Grand Canyon, and lightning. Oh My...
On the way to Bryce Canyon, we decided to detour through Cedar Breaks National Monument. 10,000 feet altitude, and we were wheezing coming from sea level, but definitely worth it.
Then, of course you should stop at Red Canyon since you drive through it on the way to Bryce.
That evening at Bryce, Colin and Prabha got to experience stars under a truly dark sky.
The following day, we wandered (drove) up and down the length of the park and stopped at various points along the way. At the southernmost tip of the park, we hiked the Bristlecone Loop Trail where there are Bristlecone Pine trees over 1800 years old. Later, we hiked down into Bryce Canyon with an eye towards where we might spend the evening after dinner. This was my favorite daytime, in the canyon, shot.
And then after dinner, we headed partway back down the same trail to a spot that looked promising. Colin was impatient to see the Milky Way again, but it didn't disappoint.
The following day, we headed into the canyon again for a longer, more strenuous hike to take in more. Definitely worthwhile.
I love the variations in colors in this vertical panoramic shot.
We were really looking forward to an afternoon in the canyon, but then the cloud in the picture above decided to start spitting lightning, and we decided to head out. Thunder echoing in a canyon like that is rather awe inspiring to say the least. Colin did get freaked out a bit, but ultimately, it led to him later in the trip wanting to hunt down and (safely) see more lightning when we could.
The following day was about seeing the solar eclipse. But first, an early morning out to the rim of the canyon where I was treated to a most acceptable sunrise.
I was the first one there, but then some hordes showed up.
They left when the sunrise ended, but I walked over to a different angle to see the sun come up hitting the rock formations and lighting them up wonderfully.
And then I was treated to a rainbow as well.
We chose to head out of Bryce National Park because it was clouded over, and we headed to a local state park further east that the weather showed might be clearer. Kodachrome Basin State Park. With a name like that, we figured we couldn't go wrong anyway.
I cleverly left our solar eclipse glasses back at the lodge :-(, but we mostly made do with some photographic filters that I have. Some of the eclipse was visible, but we ran into some clouds as well.
The park itself is amazing and definitely worth a return trip when we have more time to explore it.
On the way back, we got to see a herd of pronghorn antelope along with a buck. We had never seen these before, so it was quite the treat even though we were getting rained on.
And then we went back to a couple of locations further south in the park as the weather was still threatening, and we weren't keen on hiking until the lightning went elsewhere again.
This is a shot with a fisheye lens that I thought would be fun to try at this particular location (Bryce Point).
The following day was all about packing and heading to the Grand Canyon, but we did one more small hike on the way out, and this was a shot from that hike and perhaps my favorite of an individual hoodoo. I really like how the clouds seem to be boiling out around the hoodoo.
And then on to the Grand Canyon and another round of oh my's. After dinner at the lodge, we headed quickly to a spot called Cape Royal that had been recommended to my. The setting sun played very nicely with the canyon as expected.
Then everyone else left and we had the location to ourselves, again waiting for the stars and the Milky Way to appear. We weren't disappointed.
The following day was our final day of the trip, and we decided to hike partway down into the canyon almost because we felt we had to. So, we dropped down some 800 feet in altitude in a bit under a mile. It was really hazy, but we enjoyed the views, and there were some amazing wildflowers along the way.
That evening, after dinner, we were treated to a most amazing thunderstorm that started out on the other side of the canyon and then headed our way. We were able to watch it safely from the lodge.