Natural joints and fractures in the limestone are exploited by water and ice, producing the pillars of stone called hoodoos. The rate of headward erosion is rapid, amounting to feet per century. Many places in the world erode this way, but few if any display the sheer number of fins, spires and hoodoos. There are tens of thousands of them in the park.
|View north from Rainbow Point|
Rainbow Point, for instance, is the highest viewpoint in the park (at 9155 feet, it is a thousand feet higher than the more popular viewpoints). From it and adjacent Yovimpa Point, one has an incredible view extending from the Wasatch Front to the north, Navajo Mountain to the east, and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to the south (part of the view from Rainbow is seen above, and Yovimpa Point is below).
|View southeast from Yovimpa Point, towards Navajo Mountain and the north rim of Grand Canyon|
We didn't have any such adventures on our latest trip, but I must say there is nothing quite like experiencing the summer monsoons of Bryce Canyon. In July and August, moisture-laden air moves north out of the Gulf of Mexico, and sweeps up against the plateau margins, producing spectacular thunderstorms and flashfloods. One of our family memories involved a terrifying lightning storm and cloudburst that produced a lake in our tent, and a six foot wide river below our campsite just a few hundred feet from the rim.
Bryce Canyon is worth a second look if you've ever rushed through in the past, and if you've never seen it in person, make sure to make the time to really explore it! Pictures just don't do it justice.