Sunrises and Snowflakes at the top of the Staircase

by Rich S
(San Diego, California)

Pretty sure he was just looking for food.

Pretty sure he was just looking for food.

Pretty sure he was just looking for food.
Sunrise.

I had seen photos of Bryce Canyon pop up here and there over the past few years. I'm a wedding photographer by day and a landscape photographer by...well by other days.

The only time I can pretty much guarantee to not be doing my day job is during the winter, so Bryce seemed like a natural destination. My girlfriend and I were actually going to go last year but a toothache had other plans for me. Not to let dental dilemma keep me down forever, I promised her we'd go back next winter.

Fast forward to January 5th, 2018 when we would.... arrive? land? come about? Anyway, we got there pretty much right before the Stone Canyon Inn office closed. The accommodations were, of course, lovely. Perfectly sized and perfectly warm for the two of us. Settled in and eating a meal we had prepared at home and driven across state lines (is that legal?) we readied ourselves for an early morning to catch the sun rising into the canyon.

Sadly It was not to be on that first morning. Most of our first day was met with clouds with the potential for rain. Fortunately this wouldn't deter our plans to enjoy Bryce Canyon's hikes. We spent the day hiking a combo of the Queen's Garden / Navajo Loop, and from there we drove up to Rainbow Point. That's when the snow hit. It was nowhere close to the worst snow I've seen, but it was enough to make us colder than we're used to.

Most of the photos from that first day were underwhelming. I knew everything would glow in the sunshine and the forecast for our second full day looked promising. I did however get a great shot of a cheeky raven that seemed pretty interested in getting into the car. I don't blame him, like I said, it was cold.

Our second day? Wow. Our patience was rewarded with a warm orange sunrise that set the hoodoos aglow that beat our expectations. We spent the rest of the day retracing our steps and snagging photos at spots I was certain would look better in the sunlight. We collected a few hiking markers so we could get a prize at the visitors center before catching a very blue sunset hour and calling it a night.

The last day was mostly for packing and travel out of the area, but it was nice to finally take advantage of that nice warm bed and sleep in a bit. All in all I'd call Bryce Canyon the perfect weekend getaway for anyone living in the southwest region. We got there in just over 8 hrs from San Diego, so I would imagine most other places would be an even shorter drive for a magnificent payoff.

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