Saturday, June 2, 2012

Bryce! Nice!

Last week while we were exploring Zion National Park, we talked to quite a few people who had already visited Bryce Canyon and we asked them to compare and contrast. The typical response was, "Well, they're so different, it's like comparing apples to oranges." But yesterday while we were exploring Bryce, and discussing which of the two parks we liked the best, Marilyn remarked that it was more a matter of comparing "golf balls to kangaroos" than apples to oranges. I liked that image enough to want to repeat it here.

Let's start with a simple truth. Bryce is beautiful. Unusual. Different. Worth seeing. Nice! But having seen Zion first and only a week back, it seems natural to continue with the comparison. As we discussed this issue over the last couple days, we reached the conclusion that while we liked Bryce very well, we measurably prefer Zion. And the basic difference, other than structural, is that you look DOWN into the canyon to view Bryce, but you look UP from the canyon bottom to view Zion. There is something, for us anyhow, in the perspective that matters. We are more impressed lifting our eyes to the top of the mountains and toward the heavens than we are standing above and looking down. Bryce, if you will, is more like the Grand Canyon, and Zion has more the feel of the Rocky Mountains or glacial Alaska for example. Zion is also a much bigger space to explore and has much more in the way of modest and challenging hiking trails that lend themselves to making your visit there considerably more personal.

Now if you come this way, you should definitely see both. But if you even think you may feel similar to the way we feel about these landscapes, then by all means, come to Bryce first. You will be awed without the somewhat of a letdown we experienced having seen the massive impressiveness of Zion first. Marilyn's son Dick had told us quite a while back that Zion was THE most beautiful place. Pretty sure he nailed that call! He is a rock climber, too, so his opinion comes with a perspective of its own. Zion is "climbable" in may places. Bryce is not climbable as the brochure advises the soft sandstones of the eroded pillars in the canyon wouldn't support anything more than the weight of a chipmunk on the climbing ropes. And your eye will confirm that the minute you pull over at the first scenic lookout.

There is much more to see in this area, so that will be the mission for the rest of our scehuled week here.

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