Fairyland Canyon

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Yes Virginia, there is a Fairyland. (and no wise cracks from the peanut gallery in reference to me at the sign).

The Fairyland Canyon loop is 8 miles long and is not as crowded as some of the other trails. At 10:15 a.m. I started out down the trail. I could see from the overlook views that this was a hike meant for me. The descent was gradual, so it was not so hard on the knees or feet. Soon after dropping below the rim I was down amongst the hoodoos. And the deeper I went the more they towered above and around me. The early morning sun was fantastic also and made everything stand out very sharply. 

Other people were on the trail and I greeted most of them as they passed coming the opposite way. (Not everyone is as friendly as I). I could tell a number of them were Europeans. Several had families of about 4 or more in their groups. Parts of the trail went steeply up, then down, then up and down again and again. After an hour and a half I was starting to ache a bit, but not significantly. I just slowed down and kept walking and I felt fine. After 2 hours I reached the 4 mile mark and intersection with the Sunrise Trail, which made up part of the last 4 miles. It was 1.7 miles up to Sunset Point overlook. It was a slow ascent, but the beauty surrounded me all along the way. Every few steps the awesomeness of the scenery had me feeling enchanted with what I saw. After awhile it becomes nearly overwhelming. Then I find it best to stand and absorb what I see, etching it in my memory. The splendor of this hike can not even begin to be expressed in the photos I took. As some other hikers along the way and I acknowledged, a person would need to be on these trails to really understand and feel the magnitude of the place. Once I reached the top, I still had another 2 ½ miles along the rim trail back to my car. It was then, of course, that I wished I had an easier way to finish the hike. I had already completed 5 ½ miles as I reached the top, but the rim trail was up and down also, but not as steep as from in the canyon. The bottoms of my feet were hot, but I knew they were not blistering, that is a whole different kind of discomfort. 

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As I was nearing the rim, I had seen the weather was changing, as it does this time of year with dark clouds starting to form. I figured that once on the rim trail, even if it began to rain, it was a better place to be. In that last 2 ½ miles I passed a German family that I had earlier passed within the canyon. Then another couple with whom I chatted for a while in the canyon, were also going the opposite way. In both incidences, they had started their hikes the opposite of me, and seemed our timing for hiking was about the same.

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Thunder had been starting to roll from the darkening sky, so I wanted to pick up the pace to try and avoid getting wet. But the views were still capturing my attention and I had to stop once in awhile. Once the trail started to level out more, it started to drizzle, then sprinkle more heavily. I got out my rain poncho just as it started to rain steadily. The trail, not yet overly wet or muddy was getting a little slick. I trudged onward, passing another European family of four huddled under a tree with rain ponchos on but two of them. I passed on by, as I then could see the parking lot through the trees in the distance. Then one of the sons of the family passed me from behind and ran to a picnic shelter in the parking area. That was also the place I wanted to hang out until the rain (and small hail) let up. We both stood under the shelter as he kept looking back for his mother who he said was right behind him. I saw her amidst the trees as she was quickly nearing the shelter. Along the way she had removed her blouse and was attired top side with only her bra. Initially she looked slightly embarrassed for me to see her as such, but I just smiled and waved it off, as no consequence to me, which put her at ease. 

The family were from Holland and as we waited for rain to cease, they said the father and younger son (with the rain ponchos) were headed to their car at Sunrise Point and would drive back to pick them up. I'd have given them a ride but my car is jammed full and there is no place to sit. They were fine with waiting. In the time we waited for the rain's end, I explained this is a monsoon and it would soon pass. And as we chatted the sky did start to brighten. They had been in Las Vegas, which she said was too crowded and too hot, so not their favorite stop, but had been to Zion Park, were going to Death Valley (but only driving through), then to Yosemite and Sequoia Parks in California. 

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Since the rain had stopped, I felt my time had come to shed my wet poncho, get in the car and head on down the road. 

I was very tired, and felt huge relief in just sitting in the car seat. Ahhhhh, a long drink of water and I made my exit of Bryce Canyon National Park. An 8 mile hike that was worth the effort, now behind me, and 2:30 in the afternoon, my resting point would be Kanab, UT, once again. It was after 4:30 when I arrived here and upon chatting with the manager found him to be a cave explorer. He had just returned from a cave exploration with the Park Service on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Meeting people like him always interests me. I guess I feel a camaraderie with such explorers and adventurers. 

As my trip is now nearing it's conclusion, I am remembering the people whom I have met in passing down these trails, our conversations and sharing our adventures and know we all will have stories to tell and memories to share. 

Kanab, UT tonight, no specific plans for Monday, 8/27/12. 







More photos to share:

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This was from a place near Mossy Cave before entering Bryce Canyon.

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Descending into Fairyland Canyon

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If you use your imagination, you might see things in or atop the hoodoos

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All those pillars of stone, as if standing watch over the valley

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This shows the formation "sinking ship"

A cat atop the hoodoo?

A bridge between the hoodoos

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A wall of windows

Don't step too close to the edge

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Nearing the rim as I ascended

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An easy section of the trail

The final stretch to trail's end.