The National Park system in the United States started back in 1872 (actually the first in the world) when Yellowstone was so designated. These areas preserve phenomena of American life and culture in designated areas, treasure boxes to be opened by the curious and the adventurous. Each park has a story to be told, rich in its history, mystery and beauty and Bryce Canyon is no exception with landscapes sculpted by wind, water and fire. Far from any city lights and pollution, it offers clean air, the sounds of nature and starry nights.IMG_6895

From US89, Bryce seems rather benign and my heart calmed a little at the thought that perhaps I would not be subjected to thousands of feet of sheer drop at every stopping point along the 12 mile rim drive. Alas, not so. But the experience of Bryce with its majestic formations and beautifully carved sequences of spires and cliffs far outweighed any phobia I had about heights. Mind you, they were there lingering in the back of my mind, but what laid before me and Jan kept those thoughts at bay.IMG_6891

Bryce is famous for its hoodoos, individual spires soaring from the plateau below, created by the erosion of the cliffs from the forces of water and ice and forming narrow walls which then over time further dissolve into the hoodoos. It is a never ending cycle, the sedimentary rock from which the hoodoos come crumble over time to be replaced again by a new cycle of hoodoo formations. It is a dynamic experience, an always-changing force of nature.

From the top of Bryce, one can see The Grand Staircase which is a sequence of plateau and cliffs that begin with the Grand Canyon and “step” up through space to Zion and then Bryce. From the Kaibab Plateau at the Grand Canyon to the Chocolate Cliffs, the Vermillion Cliffs, the White Cliffs and finally the Pink Cliffs of Bryce this evolution over 525 million years has created vistas that can be seen for up to 150 miles on a clear day. And that is what Bryce is all about – the closest thing to natural and pure space in the country.IMG_6881

In real time as I write this corn is plentiful and cheap –  $.88 for three ears at the local markets in Oregon – deliciously sweet especially the “butter and sugar” variety. We’ve had it several ways, but this recipe done as a salad and mixed with black beans, salsa dressing and grilled chicken is light and very summery. Enjoy!

grilled chicken,black beans, and corn salad with salsa dressing

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