After a spectacular morning being awed by Bryce, the trail called. And this wasn’t an “oh, we should check that one out later” or even a “that trail looks interesting; let’s pack up our camera gear and go for a hike!” Nope. This was a “ooh, I wonder what’s down that way… I must find out now; forget that I still have all of my camera equipment on me!”
Trails do that to some folks. Especially explorers like us. And especially in a place as beautiful as Bryce.
The trail calls
Like Reese’s Pieces on the ground, we were pulled inexorably forward by each new inviting twist and turn in the path. What’s around that bend? Ooh, a tunnel; what’s through there?? Look at that tree, that formation, that view!
Before we knew it, we had descended all the way from the lofty Sunrise Point, and we found ourselves in the Queens Garden (complete with commemorative medallion to prove our progress).
We now had the choice of either retracing our steps to rejoin our abandoned friend at the top, or we could wave sayonara to our grown friend who could take care of himself and see what more the trail had in store for us.
Guess which one we chose.
The trail beckons
We continued our way through the Amphitheater until we came to the base of the Navajo trail. We had the entire path to ourselves; it was wonderful. There, we were faced with another decision (as our friend, still lost behind us, began to frantically text us to see where we had disappeared to): check out the Peekaboo Loop or call it a morning and ascend back up to Sunset Point.
A bird visited us as we deliberated. The trail continued its alluring call. We might not get another chance to explore its distance.
But sadly, we were weary and hungry (several hours into the day now, and we had yet to eat any breakfast). We elected to head back, going up the north side of the Navajo Loop. The map indicated the south side was closed, and a pair of annoyed hikers returning from where they were blocked a mere quarter mile from the top confirmed it. Besides, we were curious to see the Two Bridges.
I reluctantly denied the beckoning trail, and we ascended.
The trail fades
These early morning hikes are the best – especially off-season. There was next to no one around us, and we were free to simply enjoy the natural beauty of the landscape uninterrupted. It was so peaceful.
We soon came to the Two Bridges – a pair of natural bridges spanning a slot canyon. It was a fascinating geological sight, though it was nothing to compare to Arches. I was dismayed to look behind us and see some descending hikers just walking right past it. Downhill, the offshoot isn’t as visible as it was for us going uphill, so it’s easily missed, and I was sad to see them continue on, not even aware of the wonder they completely bypassed.
Rising out of the canyon and into the sunlight, we slowly left the magic behind us. The snow was beginning to melt, and the snowy path was ice turning slush. We rejoined the early crowd – those adventurous enough to stray from the viewpoint, though most didn’t go far.
We also found our long-lost friend, back from his own adventure, and we finally answered our stomachs’ impatient insistence at sustenance.
The trail remains
Far too much to explore in one short weekend, we’d soon be back to reunite with the tantalizing trails and discover their many secrets.