Day 15, November 13, 2016
Start: Bryce, Utah
Detours: Bryce Canyon National Park
Destination: Moab, Utah
Night time at Arches National Park
Total miles for the day: 315 miles
Total miles from day 1 start: 3,900 miles
The Bryce landscape is unreal. They’re basically rock sculptures made by wind, water, and erosion! In fact, they’re called hoodoos.
Hoodoos are tall skinny spires of rock that protrude from the bottom of arid basins and “broken” lands.
NPS description of how hoodoos are formed:
Hoodoos are formed by two weathering processes that continuously work together in eroding the edges of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. The primary weathering force at Bryce Canyon is frost wedging. Here we experience over 200 freeze/thaw cycles each year. In the winter, melting snow, in the form of water, seeps into the cracks and freezes at night. When water freezes it expands by almost 10%, bit by bit prying open cracks, making them ever wider in the same way a pothole forms in a paved road.
These crazy spires are amazing from above, but walking through is unreal. We walked through the “Wall Street” section of the Navajo Loop and you realize how massive these things are. These rocks just tower over you! It’s very humbling.
After Bryce, we decided to go to the Arches. This was a 3 hour detour that we were a bit hesitant to take but when would we ever drive through the middle of the desert of Utah again?? We witnessed a beautiful sunset during our drive as the rare Supermoon appeared! This was a nice surprise for us (since we’d been a bit disconnected from the world). At first all I saw was this faded white circular thing behind some mountains and assumed it was snow capped mountains. But no, it was the massive rising moon!
By the time we got to Moab, the town right outside of the Arches National Park, the moon was bright above us. We had to check out the Arches at night. On such a beautiful night, it would be a crime to miss it. The bright moonlight shining down on the amazing rock structures was such a nice contrast to the sunny desert views we’d seen the past three days. It felt like we were on the ocean floor walking in the dark blue sea. The whole park was ours and it was such a refreshing experience. Marc and I got so distracted from trying to figure out how to take night time photos, we never ended up walking under any of the Arches. It was still one of my favorite times on this trip.