Bryce Canyon, Utah – September 1, 2009 (A.M.)

Tuesday morning: In the morning, I drove down the park road to the southern terminus, Rainbow Point. This is the trailhead for the Bristlecone Loop trail.

Here’s the view from Inspiration Point, about ½ mile to the south of Sunset Point.

Inspiration Point, Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

Inspiration Point

I began walking down the Bristlecone Loop trail, a short trail that’s only about a mile long. As you can see, it’s very different from “The Amphitheater,” in that the visitor is surrounded by green trees instead of red hoodoos and cliffs. I saw deer along the path and was able to walk pretty close to them, but didn’t get any good shots. I have two other good shots of deer taken along the road, which I’ll post later. I also saw Pronghorn in the park, an animal referred to as an “antelope,” though it’s not a true antelope. Wikipedia notes that, “true antelope have horns which are unbranched and never shed, while Pronghorns have branching horns, shed annually.”

Bristlecone Loop Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

Bristlecone Loop Trail

There’s an overlook a short distance off the Bristlecone Loop trail called Yovimpa Point, so I detoured there. During most days, visitors can see Navajo Mountain, the mountain that is sacred to the Navajo tribe, about 80 miles distance. However, it was a hazy morning, probably due in part to the forest fire near New Harmony, Utah, as you can see in the photo below. In the center of the shot one can see No Man’s Mesa and Molly’s Nipple, an eroded sandstone cone, about 25 miles away.

Yovimpa Point, Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

Yovimpa Point

Returning to the Bristlecone Loop trail, the trees soon gave way to additional vistas:

Bristlecone Loop Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

Bristlecone Loop Trail

Bristlecone Loop Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

Bristlecone Loop Trail

Bristlecone Loop Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

Bristlecone Loop Trail

Bristlecone Loop Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

Bristlecone Loop Trail

Bristlecone Loop Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

Bristlecone Loop Trail

Bristlecone Loop Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

Bristlecone Loop Trail

A sign indicated that this bristlecone pine tree is 1,600 years old:

Bristlecone pine tree

Bristlecone pine tree

Bristlecone Loop Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

Bristlecone Loop Trail

Bristlecone Loop Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

Bristlecone Loop Trail

A close-up of the needles of a bristlecone pine:

Bristlecone pine needles

Bristlecone pine needles

Bristlecone Loop Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

Bristlecone Loop Trail

A friend of a friend suggested that this flower is a bloom of the
genus Castilleja, commonly known as Indian paintbrush. Looking
through Wikipedia’s listings of that genus, it looks most like Catilleja linariifolia:

Indian Paint Brush

Indian Paint Brush

Bristlecone Loop Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

Bristlecone Loop Trail

Next: Mid-day in Bryce Canyon.

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