After the aptly priced free motel breakfast I began my ride northward into a cold headwind. Along hill provided warmth. I nearly made it to the top before adopting a WTF attitude and walking for a bit.
Back to pedaling, I came upon a trail to Mossy Cave. After a visit to a waterfall I managed to find the cave (the sign to which I had ignored.) The waterfall, views, and flowers were much more interesting than the cave.
A few miles later I came upon the Bryce Canyon National Parks entrance sign, located three miles from the entrance.
I rode down the hill and turned left onto a bike trail straight to the shuttle bus parking area. The trail continues many miles into the park but climbs over 1,000 feet in the process.
I paid my $0 entrance fee (Senior Pass!) and jumped on the free shuttle to Bryce Point, way up on the rim of what’s called Bryce Amphitheater. There I caught my first view of this.
Greetings from planet Hoodoo.
I probably spent 30 minutes just trying to process it all.
After another shuttle ride, I did a short hike on the rim trail from Inspiration Point to Sunset Point.
It’s pretty clear that with water, food, decent footwear, and fresh legs, I could hike in this place for days.
My legs had bigger things in mind (like tomorrow’s ride over a 10,000 foot mountain).
(Note for tourists: the canyon shuttle is free. Use it. You don’t need your car unless you are transporting an invalid. Personally, I think cars should be banned from the park.)
So I shuttled and biked out of the park to grab lunch. The Subway literally had a line out the door so I went to a restaurant/bar next store where I came upon Bill Miles. Bill is doing a figure 8 tour of the area, we had much to discuss. So lunch lasted over and hour.
We parted ways. Bill headed east. I headed west and jumped on the Red Canyon Trail, a paved bike trail along the two lane highway.
The trail was filled with junior high (maybe older) girls on a supervised bike outing. They were softer than the SUVs on the highway so I stayed in the trail.
Although the trail had annoying expansion joints, it had the benefit of not being half closed for storm repairs as the highway was.
Red Canyon is mighty beautiful in its own right. At two points the highway runs through rock formations.
Ten miles of rocks. Then in the blink of an eye everything was green.
A vast valley presented itself. Now on the highway I descended only to see two bike tourists riding toward me. Mike and Dawn were coming from California on my route. They gave me loads of valuable info about what look for and avoid.
After reaching the valley floor the route turned north toward Panguitch. With the prospect of a three hour climb and the possibility of camping in near freezing temperatures, I called it a day, 30 miles short of my planned destination. (The mountain too campground was closed anyway.)
Dinner was a bowl of potato soup and a chicken quesadilla that three people couldn’t finish. I took half of it for the ride tomorrow.
Miles today: 32.5
Tour miles: 2,123.5
Top speed: 26.8 mph