Sunday, January 25, 2009

Utah! -- Hoodoos

Where one goes in the southwest
One encounters magic, strength, and beauty.
Myriad miracles in time and place occur;
There is no end to the grandeurs and intimacies,
No end to the revival of the spirit
which they offer to all
--Ansel Adams

With an open heart, I am always willing to enter into an intimate relationship with the wild. The love for Nature, has been inspiring me to explore many national parks. Bryce canyon, among them, is the most impressive! If you want to be awestruck by rock and space, I recommend Grand Canyon; if you want to be embraced by water, vegetation, you might go to Zion. But it is Bryce Canyon, especially Bryce in winter, that touches my heart most deeply. A place of quiet sanctuary -- where sounds, colors and textures seep into the soul.


"The desert, the real desert, is a land whose character is hidden except to those who come with friendliness and understanding." -- Randall Henderson, an early explorer of Canyonlands.

Welcome, friends! Are you ready to follow Jennie's footprints? I will show you my friendliness and understanding of Southwest's most intriguing landscapes: a series of natural amphitheaters scooped out of the east face of the Plateau, then carved into fairytale tableaux of sunset-hued fins, spires, arches, windows, turrets, and weathered pinnacles known as hoodoos.

In the early morning, we started off to welcome Bryce's first sun rays. These two pictures were shot on the road. The chaste silver moon on our left, while light of early dawn emerged from behind.



Released from their nightly enchantment by the early morning shadows ofthe dawn, they seem, as geologist Clarence Dutton put it in 1880,

"the work of giant hands, a race of genii, once rearing temples of rock, but now chained up in a spell of enchantment. "
Bryce Amphitheater, seen from Sunset Point, at the beginning of winter sunrise.


There are 15 spectacular viewpoints jut out along Bryce Canyon's 18-mile scenic drive. Each view is like a framed Technicolor diorama with fantasy scenes. Regrettably, we get access to only one-third of the drive since heavy snow blanked off the road in March.

The Silent City. It looks like a dead ancient kingdom ever prospered here. Now only silence remains.


A close-up


We took Navajo Trail to explore the secrets in the valleys. The temperature is 0 Fahrenheit. Almost no travellers. Sounds are magnified in the clear air. Such a virgin and pure world. I've never felt so close to nature, to self.


Douglas fir, yearning skyward toward the sun.



Hot surfaces blaze, an artist's palette of crimson, ocher, burnt sienna, and magenta against the fierce blue above and the sharp white on earth. As clouds race by, patches of landscape soften -- vibrant colors fade to pastels. At sunset, rock colors bleed into the sky, then quickly fade to silhouettes against the Milky Way.


Castellated walls and Cerulean sky


Snowflakes, dancing in the gentle breeze.


Trees in Bryce have strong characteristics.


Famous landmark: Thors Hammer


We step from a modern life of busy clutter to a primeval state of simple sensation. I felt something deeper in Bryce Canyon, beyond thoughts and words. Each step in hiking is solid and real; life and self has never been so clear, so close. Walk, walk, walk, throughout my life -- bumpy and tough, but happy and brave!

Photographed by Jennie Bai.

Copyright ©Jennie Bai. All Rights Reserved.

(Note: The article was originally written in March 2005.)