Zion to Bryce: A Beautiful 72 Mile Drive

It has been almost a month since we returned to Pensacola from our Western road trip adventure. My desert tan has faded a little. Even the Florida sun can’t compete, especially since I’ve spent some time hiding out in the cool, dark cave of our house recovering from a non-trip-related back strain. All healed up now. In fact, we’re packing to head up to Maggie Valley, North Carolina’s cooler air for some serious porch sitting, valley gazing, hiking and visiting with friends.

We drove the 72 miles from Zion National Park to Bryce National Park on May Day. It has a dreamlike quality already, even from the distance of so short a time.

We left Zion from the east, drove through the long Zion to Mount Carmel tunnel built by the Conservation Corps and completed in 1930.

These are images in my mind now. They have become part of my dreamscape. Each of these rock formations have names and an incredible geological history. None of that matters to me in any visceral way. It is, instead, the way their essence has become emblazoned on my brain pan, the way they have absorbed me to become part of themselves, just as I have absorbed them to become an indelible part of me.

The road curves. We hurtle and spin in the surrealistic landscape of geological wonders.

Imagine. This is not a virtual tunnel. It was hacked, blown up, carved and taken out by the spoonful. It is real. It sustains the reality of the physical world. I traverse this tunnel and grow stronger, more real, for having experienced its essence.

Is it butterscotch? The other one chocolate mint?

Red rocks, hints of hoodoos. Bryce is my imagination’s imagination. The way to creativity begins here.

Tomorrow:  Hiking the valley floor at Bryce Canyon.

2 thoughts on “Zion to Bryce: A Beautiful 72 Mile Drive

  1. This is really enticing writing and photography — we’re struggling trying to figure out a road-trip vacation from southern California later this summer — the whole family. The area you’ve described is one of our options.


    1. There are so many national and state parks in Utah. I wish we had allowed more time to see more. I would love to go back again and stay in Moab for several days to see The Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Have you guys been to Sequoia National Park in northern California? That place is a cathedral.


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