I set out alone for a hike down into the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon. I started at the top of what is called ‘Wall Street’ where a series of switchbacks take you down into the belly of the formations. Looking up at the towering rock while walking back and forth started to make me a little dizzy.
I couldn’t have asked for a better day for this hike-the sky was blue, the weather mild, and there were a surprisingly few people on the trail. That’s weird, this is the middle of peak season for the national parks. Shouldn’t there be hoards of people here making their way down this ultra popular trail? Thinking I was the luckiest girl in the world because I got to enjoy this trail virtually undisturbed, I skipped along the trail taking in the incredible views of the park.
As I reached the valley at the bottom of Wall Street, I noticed the clouds had gone from a wispy white to a dark and threatening grey…and they were getting bigger by the minute. Feeling the beginning twinges of worry as I realized there is no cell service in the valley of the canyons, I started making my way along the valley floor towards where the trail would slope upwards again out of the canyons. Then the rain started and my twinges of worry turned into fear as visions of flash floods danced through my head. Within minutes it was a downpour and thunder was rumbling across the sky. I found a sign post for a trail and started making my way up only to realize that this was the wrong trail for where I needed to go. I slipped and slided my way back to where I needed to be and continued on looking for the right trail a ways up ahead.
Where the slope coming down ‘Wall Street’ was gentle and easy, the trail going back up was full of steep switchbacks, made all the more difficult because of the copious amounts of water running over them.
Of course in true irony of these situations, as soon as I reached the top of the climb, the sun broke through the clouds and the rain became a mere drizzle. Soaked to the bone and covered in mud but too happy to have made it to care, I made my way back to my hotel for a hot shower. I passed a park ranger and he said “You must be crazy going down alone in this weather.” Yes sir, I believe I am. But what a mighty fine adventure it was.