Quietude in Bryce Canyon

Zion is such a marvellous national park. I want to hike here another day before I continue driving. At breakfast I ask the lady at the front desk of the hotel if I can check out a bit later and that’s not a problem at all. That’ll give me the whole morning for hiking and allows me to decide later what I’m gonna do in the afternoon.
I choose to do an easier hike Emerald Lake. It’s still a bit of climbing, but nothing compared to Angels Landing. It’s really beautiful though and it gives a great view of the valley surrounded by the red mountains. I’m glad that I’m hiking early in the morning again, because it’s very quiet. I only meet a handful of people on the trail and am just by myself almost the whole hike.
When you’re walking here in this beautiful nature, everything else seems to fall away. There is no cellphone service in most of the park, no connection to the outside world. Just being here is enough. I am thankful to be alive and to get to experience all this.
I remember how Dale told me yesterday not to work too hard. I think that’s one of the lessons I’m learning during this trip. I love my work, but I want to change the relationship that I have with it. Worry less and go more with the flow. I’m also thinking about a quote I read the other day. “For things to change, you have to change.” And “We have to change from human doings to human beings”. I know they might sound cliche, but walking here makes me realize they’re true. We can be so occupied by things we have to do or how things will work out, that we often miss the moment. Wherever you are now, just take a deep breath. Look around and think a moment about the wonder of being here.
I drive back to the hotel to check out. When I say goodbye to the lady at the front desk, she tells me “You meet great people, because you are a great person and that attracts each other.” I show her my website and when she reads the title of my blog, she says “Young at heart, that’s you!” I’m thankful for all the wonderful people I meet. She also tells me that the road from Zion to Bryce is one of the most beautiful roads there is and she’s right. When I drive out of Zion the views get wider. There are outstretched landscapes with red mountains in the distance. I drive slower than usual, but still reach Bryce Canton National park in about two hours. I find a nice old wooden lodge hotel. There is a big fireplace and comfortable chairs around it. This looks like a great place to stay and I book a room. I check in and get a few snacks at the grocery store next door and then drive into the park.
I feel like if you visit Zion, you also have to visit Bryce Canyon. They are like brother parks. Both beautiful in their own way and not too far from each other. I’ve been to Bryce before in the summer, but it’s a complete different world now with all the snow. I’m again glad that I have the micro spikes, because the start of the hiking trail is like an ice skating rank downhill. It goes perfectly fine with the spikes and it’s relatively quiet here. I meet one couple who stop and ask me if I was the guy they saw on Angels Landing. I confirm that with a smile. It’s a small world. They go in the opposite direction, so I continue on my own. When I’m in the canyon it’s completely silent. No wind, no animals, nothing. It’s an interesting experience, because it doesn’t happen often that there is complete silence. I’m happy to be on this hike and to see familiar spots in a different setting. The white snow makes the orange rocks stand out even more than usual.
I hike longer than I had planned and I love every moment of it. Both the hike this morning in Zion as also this hike in Bryce showed me parts of the parks that I hadn’t seen before. I’m also getting a new appreciation for Bryce. Now that I’m doing a longer hike, I see more of its beauty. The red rocks and wide views are absolutely amazing. Just before sunset I reach the rim again. The colors on the landscape are marvelous. I walk back to the starting point while enjoying the view over the valley with red rocks. It’s only a 15 minute drive back to the hotel, so that’s very convenient. In the same big lodge is a nice restaurant called Cowboys Buffet. They have great food and I like that it’s all in the same building, so I don’t have to go outside in the cold again. After dinner I take a quick shower, put on my sweatpants and a t-shirt and go back to the hotel lobby. I order a hot chocolate at the restaurant and sit down at one of the comfortable chairs by the fireplace. The fire is crackling, on the background is some country music playing and I’m sitting with a book in one hand and a cup of hot chocolate in the other. I’m ending this great hiking day with a perfect relaxing winter night.

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