For Amber Waves of… Stone

This post picks up where last Monday’s post left off. My dear friend and excellent photographer TLR and I had visited Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, then driven back to Salt Lake City, remember? In Salt Lake City, we picked up a third friend, codename: Perfect Gentleman. Then the three of us drove south.
In the southwest corner of Utah sits beautiful Zion National Park. I’m going to let the pictures (all taken by TLR) speak for themselves. Click any picture to enbiggen.
 This bench, which TLR called the “pi bench,” led to a conversation in which PG and I tried to decide which
 Greek letters would make the best benches. Some letters were more easily judged than others. Capital delta, for
 example (∆), would not make for a particularly comfortable bench. Lowercase delta, on the other hand (∂),
 might make for a nice sort of rocker, depending on how you sat on it.

 While we considered such matters, TLR had the sense to ignore us and keep taking pictures.

 Can you spot the rainbow?
How can the landscape be so dramatically different from what we’d seen in Wyoming, yet still be so beautiful? We spotted the rainbow on the way out of the park; it seemed impossible to me that any place could be more beautiful.
Which is the innocent sort of thought a person might have when she hasn’t been to Zion’s neighbor park, Bryce Canyon, yet.
 Bryce Canyon National Park
 Can you get a sense of the vastness, of how far it extends?
 In case you’ve been doubting that this is planet Earth, here’s a picture of a humanoid as evidence. (Don’t be deceived
by my T-shirt. No one on Tatooine actually wears R2-D2 T-shirts.)
Bryce Canyon was the last stop on our trip. We drove ourselves back to Salt Lake City, then flew home. If you’re aware of the size of the states of Wyoming and Utah, you’ll have gathered that we covered a lot of miles on this trip. 1,900 miles, in fact (~3,000 km)! In case you don’t know, most USA national parks charge some sort of nominal fee for entrance, and if you plan to visit several national parks in one year, it’s wise to purchase the highly economical annual pass.
What a wonderful trip it was; I’m a bit sad to wrap up this photo essay. I’ll end with a thank you to TLR for taking such beautiful pictures and for allowing me to post them here. You know, during the Wyoming portion of our trip, we were in grizzly bear country. I have what I believe is quite a rational terror of grizzly bears — and in fact, someone had been killed there by a grizzly bear quite recently — so TLR and I made sure to implement a Bear Plan whenever we went hiking. Bears don’t like to be startled; also, if you do encounter a bear, you’re supposed to back away slowly with your eyes on the ground while speaking in a soothing tone of voice. (NEVER RUN!) Our Bear Plan involved keeping up a steady conversation as we hiked, with an occasional “Wokka wokka!” thrown in (so that if a bear did hear us, it would know we were friendly to bears). Were we to encounter a bear, the plan was that while backing away slowly with our eyes to the ground, I would recite T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” with suggestive modifications. Let us go then, you and I/ When the evening is spread out against the sky/ Like a bear etherised upon a table.
Fortunately, this is the only bear we encountered.

TLR strikes a pensive pose.

Thanks to my traveling companions. And I hope you’ve all enjoyed the pictures from our trip. :o)