Bryce Canyon National Park: Twilight at Inspiration Point

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Sinking Ship

After resting in camp following our long day of hiking on Sunday, September 11, Sean and I decided to have one more look at huge beauty before darkness settled across the Paunsaugunt Plateau. So we pulled our boots back on and once again crossed from Sunset Campground to the mixed-use trail on the other side of the park road. This time we turned right and headed south and uphill toward Inspiration Point.

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It was only half a mile to Inspiration Point. Signs at the turn-off indicated that parking was full, but we didn’t have to worry about that. We arrived in time for the shadow of the plateau to have not quite edged up over the middle distance features.

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Boat Mesa (left), Aquarius Plateau (far distance, center), Sinking Ship (middle distance, center left), Bristlecone Point (center), Canaan Mountain (right, far distance)

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Black Mountains

Out in the distance to the north it looked like they were continuing to get some weather, or at least a lot of cloud cover.

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Paunsaugunt Plateau

To the west, the skies were almost perfectly clear.

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Bryce Amphitheater

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Sunset Point

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Bristlecone Point

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Aquarius Plateau

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Boat Mesa

Off to the north, Boat Mesa was a now familiar friend since we’d spent the day circumnavigating it.

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Bryce Point

Bryce Point was 200 feet higher still on the rim of Bryce Amphitheater, but had we hiked up to it, it would have been dark by the time we’d have gotten there.

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Sinking Ship

The Sinking Ship was slowly disappearing beneath the evening shadows. Its tilt is caused by its close proximity to the Paunsaugunt Fault, one of many dormant faults in and around Bryce Canyon National Park and the high plateaus of southern Utah.

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Bryce Canyon

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In the growing twilight, the hoodoos in the amphitheater below us took on an even more otherworldly aspect with their pale highlights almost glowing.

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Limber Pine

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Image: Sean M. Santos

Once the shadows had completely engulfed Bryce Amphitheater, the crowd at Inspiration Point began to disperse. Instead of going back the way we’d come along the mixed-use trail, we walked back to camp along the rim.

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Bryce Amphitheater

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Boat Mesa

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Silent City

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Aquarius Plateau

The sunset wasn’t quite done with the farther away features of the high plateau country. Aquarius Plateau in particular put on a show dozens of miles away.

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Aquarius Plateau

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Aquarius Plateau

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Canaan Mountain

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And then the sun was truly gone and the sky filled with multi-hued light that rivaled “Magic Hour” on the California coast.

It was that Sunday the fifteenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. And it was not the first time that Sean and I had happened to mark the September 11 anniversary in a National Park. Sean remarked that it felt like a fitting place to be on such a day of remembrance.

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Silent City

A conspiracy of Ravens had gathered beneath us on the towers of the Silent City. They cawed and carried on and practiced committing murder. We watched as they seemingly purposefully knocked rocks from the cliffs clattering into the narrow canyons below. Most of the canyons were all but inaccessible to humans, but some of the canyons of the Silent City, like Wall Street, had trails. It was disconcerting to think of Murder Ravens purposefully knocking rocks down to kill people in the canyons below.

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Common Raven, Silent City

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We gazed once more out at the beautiful Bryce Canyon twilight before turning from the rim and making our way along the connecting trail back to Sunset Campground.

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Back in camp and after supper we relaxed in our hammocks next to a roaring campfire until it was time to go to sleep.

 

One thought on “Bryce Canyon National Park: Twilight at Inspiration Point

  1. Pingback: Grand Canyon National Park: Stepping Off the Grand Staircase | As They Are: Exploring the National Parks

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