13 December 2007


One of the aspects of travel I most love is the opportunity to see how landscapes change as you move across the earth's surface. You begin to see subtle changes in the land as you travel high above it in an airplane, or as you travel past it in car or boat. Seeing earth's rich diversity of color and textures inspires me both aesthetically and emotionally.

My husband and I hopped on a plane Thanksgiving Day and headed for the dessert. We flew to Las Vegas, rented a car, and drove four hours to the northeast, entering canyon country. While he had been to Utah before, it was one state in which I had never set foot into before. I had been on a mission to visit Bryce Canyon for quite some years, and finally now I had the chance.

Thanksgiving weekend was already winter for Bryce, Utah. We stayed at the alternatively touristy, rustic, and charming Ruby's. Everyone who has been to Bryce knows Ruby's -- you literally can't miss it. The first hotel was built by Ruby and his family there in the early 1900s and the rest, as they say, is history. We arrived late Thanksgiving night, having driven down winding and mysterious roads to come there. The high altitude made us sleepy. We awoke to a bright winter morning with temperatures in the single digits Fahrenheit, ate a hardy breakfast, and headed to the edge of the geological feature erroneously known as Bryce Canyon. (I asked a geologist park ranger where the river was. He explained that it's acutally not a canyon because there never was a river. Bryce is a natural ampitheater that was formed by wind, rain, and snow.)

When we drove south a couple days later to Zion Canyon, the climate was different: the weather remained autumnal. The soaring canyon walls had golden sun painting their surfaces and the trees held on to multicolored leaves. The weather was comfortable at this lower altitude. Zion's walls came in a palatte of colors, including white, brown, sand, red, orange, and green with foliage.
This trip expanded my understanding of canyons, which I had once thought all looked much the same, one from the next. (Not many canyons where I grew up in Ohio.)

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