Monday, June 12 ~ A return to Bryce, Fairyland and Mossy Cave
The wind was still howling this morning, but the forecast claimed it would subside by sometime mid afternoon. We were both getting a little cabin fever and wanted to get out and do some exploring.
We came up with a game plan to visit the horse riding corral to sign up for a ride for the next morning, go into the small town of Tropic for lunch, then find some Internet to check emails, return to Bryce NP to find Fairyland Point which had somehow eluded us a couple of days ago, and then round out the afternoon with a stop at Mossy Cave for a short hike.
Well, it all sounded fine and started off well.
Reservations for trail ride – check
Lunch at Rustler’s Restaurant – check
Then things went down hill…
Traffic was at a dead stop on Scenic Byway 12 as we got closer to the Bryce turnoff. We could see smoke coming up over the trees. Yep, there was a fire just east of Mossy Cave and the road was closed in both directions.
The best update we could find out from other stranded travelers was it could be 1.5 hours or more, depending on how long it took to knock down the flames, before the road would reopen.
So, we did a U-turn and returned to our lunchtime hangout, logged onto their WiFi, and entertained ourselves for the next couple of hours. Eventually we noticed cars coming through from the other direction and we once again headed back toward Bryce.
At least by now, much of the wind had calmed down and as we passed by, the fire crews were in mop up mode, putting out a few remaining hot spots that were near the roadway.
Fairyland Point – check
The tree hanging on the edge of the cliff that I remembered so fondly was nowhere to be seen. There was a picture of it on the sign at the overlook though, so I snapped it and will try to find out if it finally lost its very tentative grip and slid down the side of the hill or something else.
Someone said the tree was named Twinkle Toes and was actually located at Sunrise Point. I’ll have to research that possibility when I can.
Nature is ever-changing, but I was still a little disappointed in not being able to find it. For me to remember one specific tree from a trip years earlier, you know it must have been unique.
I did love seeing the fairy hoodoos.
Mossy Cave – check
The short .4 mile hike to Mossy Cave is pretty uneventful. A not too strenuous uphill walk along the side of a rushing mountain stream. A bridge crosses over the water and offers up a great place to take a picture over the river and catch gorgeous rock formations in the background.
Unfortunately it was much later in the afternoon than we had originally planned and our lighting was way past optimum.
Mossy Cave itself is really nothing much to see this time of the year, as the ice which makes it stand out is usually gone by June.
So, if you must, take a quick look and then take the fork that proceeds a bit further upstream to see the waterfall. To the right of the waterfall is my favorite view, and what brought me back.
Do be careful as the soil is loose and on the slopes it is easy to have your feet slip out from under you. I found out the hard way and ended up landing not so gracefully on my backside. The only thing wounded was my pride and a bit of a sore spot on my “bu-tox” as Forest Gump so elegantly called it.
We will see how tender it is tomorrow after riding a horse for two hours…
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for a fast response which resulted in the well-trained firefighters getting things under control before it escalated into a major forest fire.