11th December 2005
Cedar City, Utah

Today we head through the mountains towards Bryce Canyon national park. We seem to be in a strange half land between the deserts of the south and the snow in the north. The result is a bright red landscape dusted with snow. As we drive through the mountains the snow becomes thicker, and at one fine viewpoint a small snowman has been built at the side of the road with pennies for eyes. In places the rock has been carved into arches to allow the road to pass through the harsh landscape.

We decide to follow our usual plan of driving through the park to the far end and then stopping off at points of interest on our way back through. However, the park ranger recommends that we take a look from 'Inspiration Point' as the light at this time of day is prime. 'Inspiration Point' looks out over the 'Bryce Ampitheatre', a gobsmackingly huge arc of sandstone monoliths that look like a kind of natural Terracotta warriors. The name isn't lost in the translation to experience. I climb the snowy hill to the vantage point and look out. The view is simply incredible and the snow just makes it all the more beautiful. I could spend all day up here but there is plenty more to see.

We drive the length of the park to Rainbow Point, 9115ft above sea level. From the nearby Yovimpa point we are afforded a splendid view of southern Utah which stretches all the way to Navajo Mountain which is about 82 miles away.

We see the fabulously named Ponderosa Canyon and the Hoodoos, Agua Canyon, and some huge natural arches. We stop and look at the monolith known as Thor's Hammer due to the shape. There are plenty of Trails and walks in the park but we don't really have the time to see them. On the drive back through the park we are forced to stop whilst a family of deer cross the road. We head back to Inspiration Point to watch the sun set before driving back a different route to the motel.

Chris Cottam