BRYCE NATIONAL PARK

I feel like this park is so underrated. I have taken so many pictures of this park that it was hard to decide which ones to add/leave out. It’s so cliche to say “pictures don’t do it justice” when you’re traveling. But I can’t help it if it’s true! This park! The hoodoos! And to think, I didn’t even get to see the whole thing because Navajo Loop was closed due to weather related issues.

So here are the points of interest with what I think are the best pictures we took of them:

INSPIRATION POINT

At inspiration point you’re standing at 8,100 feet elevation. This is where the main amphitheater is located and where we decided sunrise would be best seen from.

We parked in a lot that already had about 15 other cars in it and were standing at the viewpoint by 6:35am. I was so excited to see that the sun had not yet gone over the ridge. The next couple of pictures show how fast the sun actually rises. I feel so grateful to have experienced this sunrise. It was one of the best ones I’ve seen. And it lit up the hoodoos in such a way; I would describe it as setting them on fire.

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NAVAJO LOOP / SUNSET POINT

Our next point of interest was the Navajo Loop Trail. Unfortunately due to weather impacting the trail we were unable to do this one. The trail leads down into the canyon in the picture below. It’s the base of the really dark area. The second picture shows the beginning of the Navajo Loop trail and you can tell the trail is damaged. It’s not surprising really and people are lucky to hike it when it’s open. The rock is soft and crumbly in many areas.

The damaged Navajo Loop is visible in this picture

BRYCE POINT

There weren’t that many other visitors at the park yet so early in the morning and we were able to drive and park at each of these locations rather quickly. Bryce point was yet another delight. The green vegetation juxtaposed to the red rock and random white patches of snow were something to behold.

QUEENS GARDEN TRAIL

Queens garden is a pretty easy trail to complete. But it’s important to keep in mind that every descending step you take, you’ll have to retrace on the way back up.

I cannot make this stuff up! How perfect is this sunburst on Tony???

The queens garden trail ended up being the only one we did at the park. Once we were done with it though, there were many tour buses and a wave of visitors flowing into the park. We’d be moving on to another town soon and it was nice having it in the quiet of the morning. I was pleased to leave the crowds behind. I’ll have to re-visit Bryce National Park one day. The switchbacks from Navajo Loop are just begging to be crossed off my list!

“Hell of a place to lose a cow”.

Ebenezer Bryce
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MARYMERE FALLS

HEY READER! Looking for the sentimental exciting (maybe boring?) stuff from our trip to the PNW?! Check out THIS post for all the feels regarding this trip.

For those of you strictly interested in Marymere Falls, here you go:

GPS: 48.056716, -123.787458

DATE: MARCH 7 2019

TIME: 1.5 HOURS

LENGTH: 1.8 MILES

GETTING THERE

We drove to the storm king ranger station. As usual I assume I don’t get service in the woods. So just in case I had my trusty google maps download the area onto my offline maps. It was only a 30 minute drive from the Super 8 (20 miles west on the 101). Very convenient!

We parked right in front of the ranger station. You can see it off to the right of this picture. You can see a tiny sliver of Lake Crescent in the background. And to the left of this picture there are some bathrooms. Parks with facilities are always a win in my book.

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MARYMERE FALLS

We walked right passed the sign and past the closed ranger station to begin our hike. There are signs for the hike and if you miss those, the ground is very worn from where everyone else walked. It’s hard to miss. Don’t forget to look up at these amazing trees while exploring this hike. They’re huge!

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After walking for some minutes you’ll come across this tunnel. It’s meant to keep hikers looking for Storm King and Marymere falls off the road. It isn’t very long or creepy in the daylight hours. Walking through there at night however is a different story.

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I wasn’t exaggerating about these trees. Can you see my sister?

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The “snow” was actually just straight up ice. It was slippery and definitely will add to your overall hike time. Walking on the edges of the dirty snow was our plan but the truth is we should just invest in some traction attachments. I’ve ended up on icy trails on more than one occasion now, including winter hikes in NY.

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And then there was the sign. Originally I had planned to conquer the Storm King Trail. It’s approximately a 2000ft. elevation gain hike and has views worth the sweat. My sister and I, having done Breakneck Ridge back home several times, would have attempted this without hesitation (my favorite hiking blog has a great post on Breakneck HERE). However, the ice added a new element we were not prepared for. I like to push my body’s limits, but I don’t like to risk injury. So we snapped a picture and kept walking toward the falls. Something tells me I’ll be back one day when the snow and ice have melted…

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After a while you’ll come across this cute sign letting you know you are on your way to see something awesome!

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You come across this first bridge. This one is made of metal and wide enough to fit 2-3 people across. We made sure to have great foot placement as it was very slippery.

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From the area of the first bridge you can see the second bridge you’ll be crossing shortly.

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The second bridge is wooden and very narrow. One person at a time narrow. Again, watching our footing we trekked across and no one slipped. Thank God!

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After crossing the wooden bridge you start ascending towards the falls loop. I have to stress how tense our legs were here. We knew we were going to have a hard time coming down because it was so slippery going up. My sister is actually placing her feet in grooves in the ice to make her way up.

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After finding the first flat-ish portion she’s turning around to check on me. We had a brief discussion about whether it was worth ascending the ice to see the falls. We luckily decided on continuing. We made that decision because there are banisters the entire way up and we could use them to stay upright.

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You’ll come across this sign pointing to the left for the one way loop. You’re almost there!!!

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As you walk on the loop, the bend doesn’t let you see the falls. But you can definitely hear them.

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There are two portions to the Marymere falls. But the top one… WOW!

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I stole this one from my sister’s SnapChat 🙂

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And this one from my GoPro is actually where someone dimmed the light. It happened so quickly it was alarming. It went from perfect daylight to darkness in a matter of minutes. It doesn’t help that the sun probably went lower than the mountains around us and the trees make a very dark canopy.

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Needless to say, I have zero pictures of our descent on the ice. I needed both hands to hold on to the wooden guard rails at the speed we were going. But I found an instagram post that can give you an idea of what it was like HERE. It’s a 30 second video. We didn’t “snowboard it” like he did, but it was intense! I mean just look at how dark the trail got. And we were the ONLY TWO people on that trail.

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Haha!!! This picture makes me laugh because its lack of focus shows how fast we were walking at this point. No time for pictures. We had headlamps with us just in case, but I’m no fan of the dark. We were moving out there lol.

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By the time we reached our car at 6:45pm this is what that same sign from earlier in the afternoon looked like from the car.

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Ice and darkness were interesting to experience in what felt like the middle of no where. No other hikers around and the whole place was ours. I don’t regret skipping the Storm King trail seeing how hard the Marymere falls loop was coming down. And that was with guard rails. I can’t even imagine what it would have been like having darkness descend on us while climbing down Storm King. Can you say scary?

Don’t get me wrong, this hike was so much fun! And on our first day in the Pacific North West it definitely set the tone for the adventures to come that weekend. I have a post of all the fun things we did in the PNW HERE. Check it out 🙂

“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”

-Sir Edmund Hillary