Saturday, May 30, 2020
After a good sleep at our Kanab Hampton Inn, breakfast is a must before getting back on the highway and heading to Bryce Canyon. A walk down the main drag takes us to Jakey Leigh’s Coffee Shop and Bakery. COVID 19 has kept many places in the area closed but I’m hankering for some eggs and this place has more then baked goods so after a couple eggs over easy, I’m good to go.
Down 89 and over to scenic Route 12 never disappoints. Another 80 mile drive with a later then expected start due to my slowness in the morning. By the time we arrive, there are clouds gathering and looks like a strong chance of rain. Even thunderstorms are in the forecast. This Park is completely open for business (no buses) and the crowds are not there. This was a perfect time for us to come and visit. Easy entrance and easy parking at the Trailheads.
Carolyn and I have decided on the Wall Street and Queens Garden Loop to Peekaboo Loop (Figure Eight Trail). Once we get down the Wall Street section, hikers are few and far between. We are social distanced and isolated. The hike is spectacular and just might be my all-time favorite. Last year we hiked the Fairyland Loop Trail at Bryce and that became my favorite but this loop is incredible as well. I should point out that Bryce has become my favorite park. It just has things that you can’t find anywhere else and the hoodoos are ever-changing and spectacular.
As we enter the depths of the canyon, the clouds are really building and that sense of urgency of not being stuck in the canyon during a thunderstorm builds. We can hear the thunder and the anxiety starts to build in our minds. The rain comes as we complete the lower portion of our figure eight and climb towards Queens Garden. Soon we are looking for shelter and hide under a ledge on the side of hoodoo that gives us a bit of shelter from the rain and the lightening that has now lit up the sky. It has added some time to our hike as well as anxiousness, and added thrills. I must say it is exhilarating to be stuck under a hoodoo with rain and lightening and thunder all around. Eventually the rain turns soft and the lightening moves on and we finally reach the top. Our total time is three hours with the delays climbing some 1600 feet in elevation gains over the 7+ miles of hiking.
Back to Kanab we head, hungry and thirsty. Upon arrival we decide to try out Big Al’s Burgers. What a gem. It is an old school type drive-in burger joint that is packed with people waiting to pick up their orders. We go for the buffalo burgers, me a double and Carolyn a single. We grab and go and head off to a Jacob Hamblin Park for our dinner. It is a beautiful park with few in attendance and plenty of picnic tables. What a gem. Oh, and those burgers are fantastic. Burgers and juicy hazy IPA from the Moab Brewery makes for a great dinner.
After the fact, I learn that A.J. Cook from Criminal Minds was also grabbing a burger at Big Al’s on Saturday. You know it has to be good. How cool is that? (No mask and no social distancing.) Great customer service from the guy on the left. He’s quite the worker. From Big Al’s Facebook page:
The Southwest Utah journey and more of the hoodoos I love continues with another day in the books and more adventure straight ahead.