Sunrise in Bryce and the Drive Home

Las Vegas Trip 2012
Saturday, March 17, 2012

It was the last day of our trip to Las Vegas and Southern Utah and we would finally be heading back home. Of course we would be making some more stops on the way back! After another night in another hotel we were up early again to catch one more sunrise. I was looking forward to photographing Bryce Canyon at sunrise and was hoping for a good one as we drove into the park in the dark.

While exploring the park the previous evening I had decided that I wanted to photograph sunrise from Sunset Point, so that’s where we headed. We were the first car in the parking lot that morning as I walked out to the overlook and setup my camera. When I first saw the sky turn bright pink out over Navajo Mountain, I had a feeling this was going to be a good sunrise! This photo was taken just before the sun came up over the horizon.

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Bryce Canyon Sunrise by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Once the sun rose above the horizon, it bathed the spires in a nice golden light.

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Bryce Rim Sunrise by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The view towards Inspiration Point.

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Inspiration Point by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I’m not sure if this is normal here at Bryce, but all of a sudden the light changed and everything was glowing a very bright and vibrant reddish-orange. I have never seen anything like it before. I managed to quickly take two or three photos but the neon color quickly disappeared almost as quickly as it had appeared. The colors were really this vibrant!

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Bryce Sunrise Colors by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

One more photo of the spires in the morning light before it was time to pack up my gear and start on our drive back home.

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Morning Lit Spires by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We took Highway 12 back to Escalante so that I could search for a new petroglyph near the Escalante River. Unfortunately I didn’t find the petroglyph I was looking for, but I did get to re-photograph some petroglyphs and pictographs that I have visited before.

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Three Amigos by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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White Hands by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Atlatl Sheep by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Continuing on down Highway 12 we stopped for lunch in Torrey and then made our way into Capitol Reef National Park. We had plenty of time, so I stopped to do a little hiking in Capitol Gorge.

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Capitol Gorge by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The Pioneer Register in Capitol Gorge contains many inscriptions from the last 1800’s and early 1900’s.

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Pioneer Register by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

…including this one from Cass Hite.

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Cass Hite by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

There were also a few faint petroglyphs to check out.

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Capitol Gorge Petroglyphs by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

…some handprints, too.

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Capitol Hands by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I did a little exploring off of the main trail and managed to find these pictographs in a shallow alcove.

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Groups of Three by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Marks by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

There were some nice clouds in the sky that were letting some sunlight through as we drove back to the highway along the Scenic Drive.

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Scenic Drive by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Leaving Capitol Reef by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I had tried to photograph the Fremont Falls last year when I drove through the park, but the parking lot was barricaded, so I couldn’t. I was happy to find that the parking lot was open again this time when we drove by, so I had to stop for a few photos. The park actually ended up closing the falls again about a week after our visit to prevent people from swimming and possibly drowning, so I guess we were lucky to visit when we did.

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Fremont Falls by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A closer look at the falls.

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Fremont Falls Closeup by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We also stopped by a small Fremont granary that I have been meaning to visit for a while.

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Fremont Granary by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

As we drove past Factory Butte on the freshly paved road, I noticed how the clouds above sort of mirrored the curve of the highway below.

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Curved Road & Clouds by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

As we drove the last stretch of I-70 back towards Colorado the storm clouds thickened, but the sun managed to squeeze through to light up the face of the Book Cliffs.

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Book Cliffs Highlights by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We finished the drive back to Grand Junction, grabbed some Cafe Rio for dinner and relaxed the rest of the evening. I doubt we will be returning to Las Vegas anytime soon, but we did manage to visit quite a few other places along the way that I know we will definitely get back to!

>> Sunrise in Bryce and the Drive Home Photo Gallery


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