The View from Mt Lofty

The View From Mt Lofty

Located in the Adelaide Hills and just 20 minutes drive from the city, Mount Lofty Summit is a “must see” destination for any visitor to South Australia. The highest peak of the Mount Lofty Ranges, Mount Lofty Summit provides spectacular panoramic views across Adelaide’s city skyline to the coast, with visibility extending as far as Kangaroo Island on clear days.

Our camera doesn’t do the view justice, so we found a few other photos.

The View From Mt Lofty

The View From Mt Lofty

The View From Mt Lofty

The View From Mt Lofty

Little bears are checking out all the places they have visited in Adelaide… They have excellent eyesight 🙂

The View From Mt Lofty

Which allowed them to find something that made them rush all the way back to the city…

Alice, by John Dowie, in Rymill Park
Alice, by John Dowie, in Rymill Park

This playful sculpture depicts the heroine of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There. Characters from both books, including Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Duchess and the Gryphon, appear on the statue’s base.

John Dowie designed the sculpture for the parklands. Cast in Italy, the sculpture was unveiled on December 17, 1962.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, so stay tuned for a story!

A Lazy Sunday in Adelaide

Seriously, after yesterday’s food extravaganza, who could be energetic today? Previously made plans for breakfast were summarily dismissed, eating more food was more than one could bear! After rolling out of bed, little bears went for a stroll around Victoria Square.

Three Rivers Fountain, Victoria Square
Three Rivers Fountain, Victoria Square

The Three Rivers fountain was switched on by the Duke of Edinburgh on a visit to Adelaide on 28 May 1968. The fountain was built to commemorate the visit of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke five years earlier. He is reputed to have called the modernist fountain ‘a monstrosity’. We disagree.

John Dowie’s design was inspired by both tradition and the site. He was quoted in the Advertiser on 22 February 1967: ‘It’s an ancient tradition for fountains to honor the gods of the rivers that feed it. We have no river gods, but the water feeding this fountain will come from the Murray, the Onkaparinga and the Torrens and I decided to make it symbolic of this’. The rivers were represented by human figures and birds: ‘I made the two lesser rivers female figures (a woman and a black swan for the Torrens and a woman with a heron for the Onkaparinga). These are the cultivated areas, so I made the women European. But the old substantial Murray is male and had to be Aboriginal’. The Aboriginal man holds an ibis.

At the northern end of Victoria square is a water play fountain, which shoots multiple jets from the ground in a mesmerizing pattern.

A Lazy Sunday in Adelaide

Further down King William Street, little bears found the Adelaide end of the overland telegraph from Adelaide to Darwin.

Historic marker in Adelaide - Overland Telegraph Adelaide to Darwin, 1872
Historic marker in Adelaide – Overland Telegraph Adelaide to Darwin, 1872

At the Darwin end they kept a telegraph pole…

Historic marker in Darwin - Overland Telegraph Adelaide to Darwin, 1872
Historic marker in Darwin – Overland Telegraph Adelaide to Darwin, 1872

… but they created a memorial to commemorate the centenary of the overseas cable to Java in 1871, and the completion of the Overland Telegraph Line between Adelaide and Darwin in 1872, and the first message between London and Adelaide.

Overland Telegraph Memorial, The Esplanade, Liberty Square
Overland Telegraph Memorial, The Esplanade, Liberty Square, Darwin

More strolling along King William Street, and little bears came across Rundle Mall and four funny pigs on a day out. Truffles (the standing pig), Horatio (the sitting pig), Oliver (the pig at the bin) and Augusta (the trotting pig) are walking the mall, greeting shoppers, and sniffing out a bargain.

A Day Out, by Marguerite Derricourt
A Day Out, by Marguerite Derricourt

Installed in 1977 in the new mall, the Girl on a Slide sculpture, by John Dowie, was created as a ‘discovery piece’, something that wouldn’t be visible from a distance, but would be discovered by accident. Dowie is one of South Australia’s most respected sculptors.

Girl on a Slide, by John Dowie
Girl on a Slide, by John Dowie
The Spheres, by Bert Flugelman
The Spheres, by Bert Flugelman
Rundle Mall Fountain
Rundle Mall Fountain

Maybe a little breakfast for lunch is in order…

Raisin toast at the Coffee Spot, Adelaide Arcade
Raisin toast at the Coffee Spot, Adelaide Arcade

North Terrace is the home of many of Adelaide’s well-known cultural institutions. With a history as rich as the collections they hold, the buildings that make up this precinct could take a day, or a lifetime, to explore completely. There is Government House, Institute Building, State Library of South Australia, Migration Museum, South Australian Museum, Art Gallery of South Australia, University of Adelaide and Adelaide Botanic Gardens.

Little bears took a liking to the colourful facade of the Art Gallery, currently displaying Mooi Anomaly (Beautiful Anomaly) by Eko Nugroho.

Art Gallery of South Australia
Art Gallery of South Australia

The Art Gallery has comprehensive collections of Australian, European and Asian art. The country’s most significant and important collections of 19th century Australian paintings and Aboriginal Western Desert dot paintings are housed here.

Little bears were uncharacteristically restrained in their visit, despite the many, many temptations… You know, all the signs that say don’t touch, don’t sit here… 🙂

Art Gallery of South Australia
Art Gallery of South Australia

They didn’t even jump in Yvonne Koolmatrie’s hot air balloon!

Yvonne Koolmatrie, Hot air balloon
Yvonne Koolmatrie, Hot air balloon

One of the current exhibitions at the gallery is RIVERLAND: YVONNE KOOLMATRIE, on until January 10, 2016. It is amazing! Make sure you watch the short video interview with Yvonne, part of the exhibition.

Yvonne Koolmatrie is a master Ngarrindjeri weaver and internationally esteemed artist. Embedded in the traditions of Ngarrindjeri culture and animated by her boundless imagination, Koolmatrie’s elegant woven forms are created using the labour intensive process of hand harvested river sedge from the banks of the Murray River. Suspended eel traps launch visitors on an immersive journey through a remarkable artistic practice spanning three decades and featuring over sixty works of art, including iconic works from institutions across the country and newly commissioned work.

Yvonne Koolmatrie
Yvonne Koolmatrie

A little walk in Adelaide Botanic Gardens…

Adelaide Botanic Gardens
Adelaide Botanic Gardens

… for some rest in the shade.

Adelaide Botanic Gardens
Adelaide Botanic Gardens

Next stop is the Adelaide Festival Precinct, the location of the main event for the day.

Maneki-neko at the Noodle Markets
Maneki-neko at the Noodle Markets
This mural at Adelaide Festival Centre Amphitheatre by Trevor Nickolls, untitled, is designed to deal with notions of harmony and reconciliation. The central Mimi figure,   inspired by Northern Australian Aboriginal Rock Art,   floats between land and the spirit world.
This mural at Adelaide Festival Centre Amphitheatre by Trevor Nickolls, untitled, is designed to deal with notions of harmony and reconciliation. The central Mimi figure, inspired by Northern Australian Aboriginal Rock Art, floats between land and the spirit world.
River Torrens
River Torrens

No more restraint 🙂

A Lazy Sunday in Adelaide

A Lazy Sunday in Adelaide

While we weren’t paying attention the crowds built up!

A Lazy Sunday in Adelaide

Most, if not all, of Adelaide’s residents came out to Elder Park for the Moon Lantern Festival. It was worth it.

A Lazy Sunday in Adelaide

A Lazy Sunday in Adelaide

The annual Moon Lantern Festival, within the heart of the Adelaide’s OzAsia celebrations, is Australia’s largest parade of its kind.

A Lazy Sunday in Adelaide

Honey and Isabelle met the dragon earlier…

A Lazy Sunday in Adelaide

The dragon became all fired up with excitement 🙂

A Lazy Sunday in Adelaide

Then all the lanterns stopped in front of the little bears so they could have a really good look and select their favourite ones 🙂

A Lazy Sunday in Adelaide

A Lazy Sunday in Adelaide

A Lazy Sunday in Adelaide

A Lazy Sunday in Adelaide

A Lazy Sunday in Adelaide

A Lazy Sunday in Adelaide

The grand finale to the evening was fireworks over the river Torrens.

A Lazy Sunday in Adelaide

On the way back to the hotel, another stop at Victoria Square to check out the fountain at night…

Three Rivers Fountain, Victoria Square
Three Rivers Fountain, Victoria Square

A Lazy Sunday in Adelaide

Before a well-earned rest in the glow of lanterns with moon cake for dinner 🙂 For a lazy Sunday, little bears sure got around!

A Lazy Sunday in Adelaide

A Sunny Saturday in Adelaide Hills

Marble Hill cherry ice cream
Marble Hill cherry ice cream

If it was December, we’d be making straight for one of the many cherry farms scattered throughout the Adelaide Hills, primarily in the areas that experience cool winter days, the perfect breeding conditions for cherries. Most of the cherry farms that have shed door sales also sell other cherry related products in addition to fresh cherries – cherry pie or crumble, cherry jam, and even cherry ice cream.

But it’s still September, and the best we can do is cherry strudel…

Here it is, the German Cake Shop and Bakery!

A Sunny Saturday in Adelaide Hills

Breakfast first… With enough bacon for four big bears 🙂

A Sunny Saturday in Adelaide Hills

And then the divine strudel… apple, cherry and cherry and custard, to take away…

A Sunny Saturday in Adelaide Hills

This bakery is also famous for its beesting cakes (but not for the coffee) and while we saw them in the cake window, they didn’t mean anything to us so we didn’t get any. Next time! We got plenty of strudel this time… And it really is divine.

There is plenty to look at inside as well…

A Sunny Saturday in Adelaide Hills

A Sunny Saturday in Adelaide Hills

A Sunny Saturday in Adelaide Hills

After breakfast, a little walk along Hahndorf’s pretty, tree-line main street where charming old stone buildings dominate, before hordes of tourists invade the town…

A Sunny Saturday in Adelaide Hills

When visiting Hahndorf, the most striking features that greet visitors are the over 100 year old elm and plane trees that line the Main street and the original ‘Fachwerk’ buildings, many beautifully maintained or restored to original conditions. Hahndorf has a unique ‘village feel’ about it and the Main Street is lined with eateries, souvenir and gift shops, clothing and leather goods and craft outlets and galleries.

A Sunny Saturday in Adelaide Hills

Settled in 1839 by Lutherans fleeing religious persecution in Prussia, Hahndorf was named after the ship’s captain. His name was Hahn, while dorf is German for village. Today Hahn’s little slice of Germany attracts visitors from all over the world. You can discover the history and art of this fascinating town at the German Migration Museum at the Hahndorf Academy.

Hahndorf Academy
Hahndorf Academy

Starting out as a boarding school, and later a maternity hospital, if the walls of the 19th century Hahndorf Academy could talk, they would tell remarkable stories of history and courage and fear and excitement as early settlers created new lives for themselves. The heritage building was opened as a Gallery on the 90th Birthday of Sir Hans Heysen in 1967, and in 1988 it was purchased by the Hahndorf Academy Foundation Incorporated, who continues to maintain it today.

At the side of the building is a sculpture by Craig Medson.

Angel of Hahndorf, by Craig Medson, Australia Corner of Main and Balhannah Roads, Hahndorf
Angel of Hahndorf, by Craig Medson, Australia
Corner of Main and Balhannah Roads, Hahndorf

The sculpture was crafted during the 2012 Adelaide Hills International Sculpture Symposium. The 2012 symposium was the first of three biennial events bringing together internationally recognised sculptors, from Switzerland, South Korea, Turkey, Spain, and Japan to join their three Australian colleagues.

The resulting first 8 world class sculptures have begun a Sculpture Trail…

Spatial Tension, by Luke Zwolsman, Australia Bluestone, Mt Barker - East Parkway (off Hurling Drive)
Spatial Tension, by Luke Zwolsman, Australia
Bluestone, Mt Barker – East Parkway (off Hurling Drive)
Sailing of Soul, by Kemal Tufan, Turkey Auchendarroch, Dumas St, Mt Barker
Sailing of Soul, by Kemal Tufan, Turkey
Auchendarroch, Dumas St, Mt Barker
Prickly 3, by Jaya Schuerch, Switzerland Corner Gawler and Walker Streets, Mt Barker
Prickly 3, by Jaya Schuerch, Switzerland
Corner Gawler and Walker Streets, Mt Barker
Watersong, by Yoshin Ogata, Japan Crystal Lake Park, Devereux Street, Macclesfield
Watersong, by Yoshin Ogata, Japan
Crystal Lake Park, Devereux Street, Macclesfield

A Sunny Saturday in Adelaide Hills

The Remoteness, by Miguel Isla, Spain Coventry Library, 63 Mt Baker Rd, Stirling
The Remoteness, by Miguel Isla, Spain
Coventry Library, 63 Mt Baker Rd, Stirling

We didn’t visit the ‘Le Peloton’ in Balhannah, and ‘Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter And…’ in Lobethal.

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter And..., by Hwang Seung-Woo, South Korea Mill Square, Lobethal
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter And…, by Hwang Seung-Woo, South Korea
Mill Square, Lobethal
Le Peloton, by Silvio Apponyi, Australia Brockhoff Park, Balhannah
Le Peloton, by Silvio Apponyi, Australia
Brockhoff Park, Balhannah

The second event was held in April 2014 at The Cedars at Hahndorf, estate of the iconic Australian artist Hans Heysen and the third symposium will be held in April 2016 at the same location. After the three events, there will be 24 major pieces permanently placed in the communities of the Adelaide Hills, an enduring legacy of culture for the communities and for visitors to the Adelaide Hills.

http://www.adelaidehillssculpture.com.au/

Of course, a trip to Hahndorf isn’t complete without German beer and German food at one of the cheerful Teutonic-themed pubs.

Hahndorf Inn
Hahndorf Inn

The Hahndorf Inn dishes up huge, hearty servings of traditional German fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

After all the sculpture hopping, the boys are enjoying a lemon-lime-bitter, while the girls are trying the arcobräu zwickelbier 🙂 It is an unfiltered beer and quite a taste sensation. We’ll have to look for it. It’s sweet…ish, of course 🙂

A Sunny Saturday in Adelaide Hills

The pretzels are perfect, dark brown, crispy, salty crust, with a plump body, and thin, crispy (not dry) crossed arms.

A Sunny Saturday in Adelaide Hills

Lunch was the Bavarian Kassler Chop – Smoked Pork Kassler Chop served on a bed of sauerkraut with rhine potato. Huge! And delicious.

After lunch, do as the locals do 🙂

A Sunny Saturday in Adelaide Hills

The perfect adventure, good food, great weather, and everyone thought the bears were cute and gorgeous 🙂

Just Tickled Pink

This is it, we found it!

Just Tickled Pink

Just Tickled Pink

Pink cupcakes are the best!

Just Tickled Pink

Chocolate is yummy too!

Just Tickled Pink

Everything is yummy at Just Tickled Pink…

Just Tickled Pink

Little bears give five paws of approval to Just Tickled Pink!

Just Tickled Pink

http://www.justtickledpink.com

After a pink high tea, a little walk in the garden…

Just Tickled Pink

The Himeji Gardens is a traditional styled Japanese garden, a gift from Adelaide’s sister city, Himeji, opened in April 1985.

Just Tickled Pink

Just Tickled Pink

You have a very beautiful home, Duckie!

Just Tickled Pink

Just Tickled Pink

Just Tickled Pink

More cupcakes?

Just Tickled Pink

Yummy…

Just Tickled Pink

A Dazzling Story

It’s story time at the Mickey Club!

A Dazzling Story

What story shall we read from the Once Upon a Time book?

A Dazzling Story

Rapunzel!

A Dazzling Story

A Dazzling Story

Long ago and far away, there lived a beautiful young woman named Rapunzel. She had a special gift: twenty meters of magical hair. She had never, ever been outside the tower where Mother Gothel kept her hidden away.

Every year on her birthday, Rapunzel gazed out her tower window at the sparkling lights that rose into the nighttime sky. The lights were meant for her – she was certain of it. And Rapunzel yearned to leave the tower, just once, to see the sparkling lights…

A Dazzling Story

On the day before her 18th birthday, Rapunzel was wondering how to find the source of the lights. Suddenly, a thief named Flynn climbed into her window. Flynn was trying to escape from the royal guard, who were determined to catch him.

Pascal, Rapunzel’s chameleon friend, agreed that Flynn did not look like the ruffians Mother Gothel had warned her about. So Rapunzel asked Flynn to guide her to the floating lights. Flynn agreed!

The next day, Rapunzel’s heart fluttered as they neared the kingdom where the lights would be launched that night. She was so close – until Maximus, a horse from the royal guard, appeared. Maximus had finally hunted Flynn down and wanted to put him in jail. But Rapunzel convinced him to let Flynn go for just one day.

Just then, a lovely chiming sound floated through the air…

Following the sound, Rapunzel raced up a small hill and saw the kingdom!

The chimes came from the kingdom’s bells, ringing in the new day. Below the palace’s peaked towers stood a village filled with tatched-roofed houses and inviting shops. Rapunzel felt more excited than ever.

A Dazzling Story

Nothing could stop Rapunzel now! She just had to wait until nightfall for the lights to appear. In the meantime, she found lots of new things to do in the kingdom! In a village shop, she tried on a beautiful dress.

Rapunzel shared pretty pink pastries with Flynn. She loved the way the sweet frosting glazed her lips and tickled her taste buds. She had never eaten anything this marvelous in her entire life.

A Dazzling Story

I like pink cupcakes!

A Dazzling Story

At last, nighttime arrived. Flynn led Rapunzel to a boat and rowed away from the shore. Darkness fell and Rapunzel gazed in awe as thousands of colourful lanterns rose into the sky. It was her grandest dream come true!

A Dazzling Story

Flynn reached behind him and pulled out a surprise for Rapunzel: two lanterns! Together they launched them high into the air. Rapunzel’s heart soared as the lights floated into the sky. It was the perfect day to a dazzling day. And all she could do was wonder what fantastic new discoveries were yet to come…

A Dazzling Story

We need a new adventure, with lanterns and pink cupcakes…

A Dazzling Story

Majestic Canyons

Majestic Canyons

No matter how many times you’ve seen it, visiting the Grand Canyon never fails to take your breath away.

Grandview Lookout, Grand Canyon National Park
Grandview Lookout, Grand Canyon National Park

Of all the scenes in the America Deserta, none has captured the imagination of the world so completely as Grand Canyon. Even among the magnificent landscapes of the American Southwest, it stands alone in its distinction. There is no single aspect of it that is most impressive, unless it is size, and even that is impossible at a glance. Only in hiking some distance below the rim does one begin to come to terms with its enormity. Although having grasped the overwhelming depth and width of the canyon, there remains the fact that it extends for nearly 480km; the most panoramic viewpoints offer a look at only a portion of it.

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon

For geologists, Grand Canyon is the classic example of erosion in an arid landscape and one of the finest exposures of sedimentary rock in North America; for archaeologists and naturalists it is a wealth of information on the pre-history and natural history of the American Southwest. But for most of the millions of people who see it each year, and the many others in whose mind’s eye it lives as a dream or a memory, Grand Canyon is the ultimate American landscape.

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon

The Spanish called it the Rio Colorado because of the red colour of its muddy waters. It was, more than anything else, a barrier to further travel, and lay at the bottom of a gorge unlike anything they’d ever seen. Small wonder that among the feelings it inspired were discouragement and fear.

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon

As imposing as it must have seemed at the time, the Colorado River is no less fascinating today. Although by no means one of the largest rivers in North America, it’s not even in the top 25 and has less than one percent of the flow of Mississippi River, it drains one of the most extraordinary landscapes in the world. From its source in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the Colorado River runs more than 2300km across the southwestern portion of North America to the Gulf of California.

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is only one of a series of impressive canyons that trace the course of the river. In Utah, the river passes through Westwater Canyon, Cataract Canyon and Glen Canyon before it reaches Grand Canyon. Below Grand Canyon, along the Colorado River just below Hoover Dam, lies Black Canyon. These extraordinary canyons, each nearly as impressive in its own way as Grand Canyon, are a testimony not only to the power of Colorado River but to the erosive power of water in general. But the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River has come to be the canyon by which all others are measured.

Majestic Canyons

It is from the South Rim near Grand Canyon Village that most people see the canyon. Here the canyon rim falls away in a series of remarkable cliffs, broken occasionally by slopes of talus or rock debris. More than 900 meters below the rim, the walls give way to the broad green shelf known as the Tonto Platform. From the rim one can discern here portions of the Tonto Trail, the 1100-kilometer-long inner canyon trail whose faint outline parallels the rim of the Inner Gorge: the narrow V-shaped slot whose steep dark walls drop an additional 300 meters (or more) to the Colorado River below. There, at the bottom of the canyon, visible from only a few places along the rim, lies the Colorado River.

Bottom of the Grand Canyon, Colorado River, near Phantom Ranch
Bottom of the Grand Canyon, Colorado River, near Phantom Ranch

The view here is dominated by horizontal layers of sedimentary rock, traceable for miles in any direction, and by an erosional landscape whose shape is startling in its appearance. The unusual shape of the canyon is directly related to these strata. Each layer responds to erosion in its own characteristic manner: the shales tend to form slopes, the thick beds of limestone and sandstone form impenetrable cliffs, and the ancient igneous and metamorphic rocks exposed below the Tonto Platform at the very base of the canyon form the steep, somber walls of the Inner Gorge. Though the canyon is far younger than the ancient rocks in which it is carved, it owes its shape to this diverse suite of rocks and to the semi-arid climate of the region. While the river is responsible for the existence of Grand Canyon, the canyon owes its present shape and character to erosional forces other than the Colorado River.

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon

The North Rim is 16km across the canyon by air but a long 350km drive by car. The North Rim, at 2400 meters above sea level, stands 300 meters higher and consequently receives an annual precipitation twice that of the South Rim. The cooler and moister climate on the north side supports an altogether different community of plants and animals. The North Rim is at its most spectacular in early summer when New Mexican locust and lupine are in bloom, or in late September and early October when both aspen and oak, the latter scattered below the rim, give the canyon a splash of brilliant colour.

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon

Stand before this vast rent in the earth’s crust and you’re looking down at two-billion years of geologic time. That fact does something funny to the human brain. Lit by flaming sunsets, filled with billowing seas of fog and iced with crystal dustings of snow, the mile-deep, 450-kilometer-long Grand Canyon is nature’s cathedral. You’ll feel tiny yet soaring, awed yet peaceful, capable of poetry yet totally tongue-tied.

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is the southern end of the Grand Staircase, an immense sequence of sedimentary rock layers that stretch south from Bryce Canyon National Park through Zion National Park and into the Grand Canyon. In the 1870s, geologist Clarence Dutton first conceptualized this region as a huge stairway ascending out of the bottom of the Grand Canyon northward with the cliff edge of each layer forming giant steps. Dutton divided this layer cake of Earth history into five steps that he colorfully named Pink Cliffs, Grey Cliffs, White Cliffs, Vermilion Cliffs, and Chocolate Cliffs. Since then, modern geologists have further divided Dutton’s steps into individual rock formations.

Majestic Canyons

What makes the Grand Staircase unique in the world is that it preserves more Earth history than any other place on Earth. Geologists often liken the study of sedimentary rock layers to reading a history book, layer by layer, detailed chapter by detailed chapter. The problem is that in most places in the world, the book has been severely damaged by the rise and fall of mountains, the scouring of glaciers, etc. Usually these chapters are completely disarticulated from each other and often whole pages are just missing. Yet the Grand Staircase and the lower cliffs that comprise the Grand Canyon remain largely intact speaking to over 600 million years of continuous Earth history with only a few paragraphs missing here and there.

Rainbow Point, Bryce Canyon
Rainbow Point, Bryce Canyon

At the top of the geological Grand Staircase sits Bryce Canyon. Surrounded by aromatic pine and juniper forests, it’s best known for its iconic hoodoos, weathered spires of rock that reach up to 10 stories high. Though Bryce Canyon is one of America’s smallest national parks at just 30km long, the concentration of sunset-coloured hoodoos creates a mesmerising effect. The park is not so much a canyon as the eastern edge of a great plateau, nibbled into a series of amphitheatres at a rate of about one metre every hundred years, through layers of limestone, siltstone and mudstone that give the hoodoos their segmented appearance.

Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon National Park is a geologic wonderland. The erosional force of frost-wedging and the dissolving power of rainwater have produced here what is probably the Earth’s most famous example of pinnacled badlands. Within the canyon’s spectacular formations are deep caverns and rooms resembling ruins of prisons, castles, churches with their guarded walls, battlements, spires, steeples, niches and recesses presenting the wildest and most wonderful scene that the eye of man ever has beheld – truly one of the wonders of the world.

Bryce Canyon, Hoodoos Formations
Bryce Canyon, Hoodoos Formations

The famous spires, called “hoodoos,” are formed when ice and rainwater wear away the weak limestone that makes up the Claron Formation. For 200 days a year the temperature goes above and below freezing every day. During the day, water seeps into fractures only to freeze at night, expanding by 9%. As ice, it exerts a tremendous force (14-140 MPa) on the surrounding rock. Over time this “frost-wedging” shatters and pries rock apart. In addition, rain water, which is naturally acidic, slowly dissolves the limestone, rounding off edges and washing away debris.

Bryce Canyon Hoodoos
Bryce Canyon Hoodoos

The result is thousands of delicately carved spires rising in brilliant color from the amphitheaters of Bryce Canyon National Park. Tinted with colors too numerous and subtle to name, these whimsically arranged rocks create a wondrous landscape of mazes, offering some of the most exciting and memorable walks and hikes imaginable.

The geologic term, “hoodoo”, lives on at Bryce Canyon National Park as perpetuated by early geologists who thought the rock formations could cast a spell on you with their magical spires and towering arches 🙂

Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon

Because Bryce Canyon transcends 650m of elevation, the park exists in three distinct climatic zones: spruce/fir forest, Ponderosa Pine forest and Pinyon Pine/juniper forest. This diversity of habitat provides for high biodiversity. At Bryce, you can enjoy over 100 species of birds, dozens of mammals and more than a thousand plant species.

Star Lily at Bryce Canyon
Star Lily at Bryce Canyon

So many superlatives can be used to describe Bryce Canyon National Park that in the end it all becomes cliché. And even the beauty of the park itself can become a cliché: images of the park adorn so many postcards, book covers, table mats and billboards that one begins to forget the place actually exists. This small cove of rock and plateau is a lesson in meta-geology and an open invitation to trance like concentration.

Bryce Canyon Amphitheatre
Bryce Canyon Amphitheatre

In the tales of the Paiute people of Utah, long ago there lived the To-whenan- ung-wa, or Legend People, who were animals of all kinds with the power to take on human form. They were arrogant and misused the land, so in punishment, the coyote god, known as a trickster by Native Americans, turned them all to stone. They still stand in their thousands at Bryce Canyon National Park, as hoodoos.

The Scottish-born Mormon pioneer Ebenezer Bryce, who gave his name to Bryce Canyon in the late 1870s, called it ‘a hell of a place to lose a cow’. Only the park’s prairie dogs are oblivious to the maze of hoodoos, creating underground labyrinths of their own.

Bryce Canyon prairie dogs
Bryce Canyon prairie dogs

Zion is easily one of North America’s most spectacular national parks. The area’s primary attraction is its soaring rock walls, among the tallest sandstone cliffs in the world, which form an area geologists used to colloquially call standing-up country, and Zion Canyon, where many of the tallest cliffs surround the Virgin River, is a canyon in America likely rivaled only by Yosemite Canyon. Zion Canyon and its tributaries are departures in relief downward from the high-plateau surface. The canyons are so narrow, so deep and so well interlaced that in places the entire country seems to be made up of great gorges, cliffs, buttes, mesas and a marvelous variety of lesser erosional forms.

Inside Zion National park's famous "Subway" slot canyon
Inside Zion National Park’s famous “Subway” slot canyon

To this extraordinary relief must be added a lavish and bold colour overprint. The sedimentary rocks that form the walls and slopes are naturally white, red, yellow, green, purple and rust. Worked upon by the weather of countless years, the rocks have been broken to fragments and chemically altered. Today they seem to have been painted, by some monumental brush, with an infinite variety of vivid splashes and pastel shades. After rainstorms the colours can be startlingly intense. Artists and photographers are constantly being drawn here by the challenge of capturing Zion in its infinite variety of moods.

Zion's sandstone cliffs—in hues of creams, pinks, and reds—reveal clues to the geologic events that were important in shaping this national park
Zion’s sandstone cliffs, in hues of creams, pinks, and reds, reveal clues to the geologic events that were important in shaping this national park

Its name bestowed by Mormon settlers who found it utterly heavenly, Zion National Park is an oasis in the desert. Here a meandering river snakes between dizzyingly high canyon walls, and secret springs and emerald pools hide in shady grottos.

Zion
Zion

What makes Zion stand out is its accessibility. In Grand Canyon, you’ve got a superb view nearly 1,800 meters down to the Colorado, but to actually experience the river, to get down to it, you’ve got to be a bit of a brute; trails there either wind along the canyon rim or plunge down steeply to the river, and once you get there the only choice is to hike back out. In Zion, however, you start at the bottom, and while there are steep tracks that lead up towards the high country most of the trails follow the canyon bottoms into far recesses.

Zion
Zion

That confluence of canyon walls often exposes water seeping through the rock; when it bursts or bubbles out, small clusters of shooting stars, monkey flowers, evening primrose, larkspurs, even orchids, blossom back with gratitude. These oases contrast sharply with the stark desert landscapes that often lie just feet away, and the endless bare rock ramparts that rise dizzyingly out of sight. The result is a seductive wilderness of breathtaking beauty that at once beckons the casual visitor and the experienced backcountry traveler.

Zion
Zion

Even with eyes closed, Zion National Park overawes with the names of its mountains and valleys – the Court of the Patriarchs, Tabernacle Dome, the Organ, the Pulpit and the Great White Throne. Mount Moroni bears the name of the angel who Mormons believe appeared to the founder of their church in the 1820s, and even the area’s native religions get a look-in, with the Temple of Sinawava – that trickster coyote god again.

The Three Patriarchs in Zion Canyon are made of Navajo Sandstone
The Three Patriarchs in Zion Canyon are made of Navajo Sandstone
Zion Great White Throne
Zion Great White Throne
Zion Canyon as seen from the top of Angels Landing at sunset
Zion Canyon as seen from the top of Angels Landing at sunset

Zion Canyon’s grandeur and beauty inspire overwhelming feelings of awe, reverence and peace in all who view it. These are the emotions that no doubt prompted the exalted names that have been bestowed upon its natural features, names that have been retained and added to in like spirit: Watchman, Altar of Sacrifice, East Temple, West Temple, Angels Landing, Temple of Sinawava and Zion itself are eloquent examples. The word “Zion” is Hebrew for “a place of peace and relaxation”.

Majestic Canyons

Să te odihneşti în pace.

Un suflet blând, plin de dragoste şi bunătate s-a ridicat la cer lăsând în urmă multă durere şi lacrimi. Te voi păstra veşnic în amintirea mea.