Balt had me up at 5am eager to walk. We did 2 miles in the dark. I walked to the park entrance and back to my hotel and then got ready to go out for the day. The hotel had an amazing breakfast. We left for Bryce Canyon a bit after 8am. I decided to make my way all the way to the furthest edge of the park and slowly drive back, stopping for every photo op, hoping to get some hiking in here and there.
Our first stop, Rainbow Point, at 9115 ft, was beautiful but I found the trails packed with snow. I let Balt go ahead of me, who was elated to hike about snow again in warm sunshine. All of the trails start from the overlook pit-stops and have signs that say, "no pets or bikes on trails." They also say, "dangerous cliffs, watch your children." There were several times I had to let go of Balt as he ventured too close to the edge and I was too afraid of losing my footing. I feared he would tumble down and I would have a situation on my hands, but he never once lost balance. We hiked out a bit on trails but I never went too far out, knowing that most trails start out going down hill and our return was typically steep up hill.
Our next couple of stops; Black Birch Canyon, Ponderosa Canyon and Agua Canyon, I found we were touring around with many of the same people. Everyone around me seemed to be foreign-- mostly Asians, Scandinavians, and Germans. Balt really freaks some folks out while bringing smiles to others' faces. In general I found most people quite friendly. I did a lot of people watching and found a lot of familiar types- a woman that looked like Melissa asking her husband to take a jumping picture of her. He lovingly told her to step away from the edge first. I saw a woman that looked just liked my friend Beth walking hand in hand with her two teen aged sons. There were a couple of girls that reminded me of Jessi and her friend Jayne, setting out for a hike. As the day progressed, the park got more and more crowded. I was mesmerized by all the different types of people out there-- lots of older couples, plenty of families, other middle aged women alone and some with their dogs like me, but I did not see one man alone with a pet. The only man I saw alone was weighed down with camera equipment and quite honestly, looked miserable.
Every stop blew me away with amazing views. Natural Bridge, Fairwiew Point and Swamp Canyon all hit me with the reality that there was was no way to capture it all even though I was taking hundreds of photos with both my phone and DSLR. I brought my wide angle lens knowing it would serve me well, but I could not capture the heat of the sun on my face, the luscious smell of nature around me or the sound of silence. The only wild life I saw was a chipmunk or two. There were warnings of bears. Yesterday, on my drive in I saw a heard of deer on the side of the road but no wildlife was seen today.
My favorite stops were Bryce Point, Inspiration Point, Sunset and Sunrise Points. There was a trial that wrapped around all the stops-- Rim Trail-- that was easy to navigate and from Sunset to Sunrise point was the only designated trail for dogs. It was ironically the only time I was yelled at for having a dog on the trails. An old Asian woman wagged her finger at me and said, "no pets!!" Monika called me while I was on the Rim Trail and we chatted while I hiked forward. I got off the phone and then walked the whole way back so that I could take photos. By the time I got back to the car I was exhausted. There was only one stop left, luckily. By the Fairyland Point stop, the heat was dissipating and for the first time my feet were starting to hurt. I had walked 9 miles throughout the day.
Balt and I made our way back to the hotel for a nap. I soaked and scrubbed my feet in hot water. There is only one restaurant in the area- a buffet that I'm not really wanting to spend the money on. I have plenty of snacks, apples with almond butter, beef jerky and paleo snack balls. I'll stop at In N Out for lunch for tomorrow and I'll be good and hungry!