While enjoying the mountains, canyons, cliffs, hoodoos, spires, blue sky and white snow, we also looked up heavens for inspirations ... Sunset, Sunrise and Stars in the Sky.
The best place to watch sunset at Zion is at Watchman trail. The best place to watch sunrise at Bryce Canyon is Sunrise point. Since Bryce Canyon boasts the darkest sky in America - far away from light pollution, and one can see 7500 stars on a moonless night compared to 2500 stars from most remote rural areas, no visit to Bryce canyon is complete without star gazing there.
The first day at Zion National Park, we drove along the scenic drive and stopped at viewpoints one by one and hiked some short trails. In the late afternoon, we were behind schedule for the hike on the watchman trail to watch the sunset. It was 5:10pm when we arrived at the trail head. The sun was low in the sky, and our shadows got longer with every passing minute. I noticed that our shadows on the trail side trees were close to our real sizes. So I asked the whole family for a group picture of shadows at next tree (first picture below). I was the one on the left hand side, with only one leg in the shadow, Nicholas was half squatting, and his mom facing him from right, Justin stood tall on the right. I did not realize that I dropped a glove while taking the picture until later, I had to call out to alert the family. The boys were far ahead of Lily when I caught up with her at the intersection of the trail and a service road in the park. The hue of sunlight started to change and our shadows were really long. As I took another picture of shadows, Lily gave a peck on my cheek. How lovely!
We got only to a half way point on the trail when the Sun set. It got really dark quickly in the mountain after sunset. Soon afterwards, we could barely see the trail on the way back but the silhouette of the trees at twilight was quite impressive.
|on the Watchman trail during Sunset|
|silhouette at twilight|
Bryce Canyon is the "last grand sanctuary of natural darkness". Star gazing is a must to true nature lover. We went into the park after dinner on New Year's eve to watch stars. we had never seen the sky full of stars! Milky way was easily observed. As our eyes adjusted to the natural darkness, we could move around with only the light from the stars! We stayed on the east rim of Bryce Canyon for about 10 minutes despite bone chilling cold. It was memorizing.
|Sunrise at Bryce Canyon|
|Rising Sun over Bryce Canyon|
|Starry Sky over Bryce Canyon|
1. Justin took a couple of decent starry sky pictures without tripod! He placed his camera on the top of the car.