After the Valley of Fire, our next overnight stop was the Bryce Canyon in Utah. Famous for its stunning views and geological formations, this was going to be one of the highlights of our trip.
We decided to use the park’s shuttle service, which has several drop off and pick up points throughout the park. This not only takes away the stress of the constant battle for RV-parking spaces in the park, this service actually contributes towards the conservation of the National Park. Thanks to the shuttle, less vehicles are driven in the park, thus helping to keep the air clean and also reducing noise pollution.
Soon after entering the park, you are greeted by the first views of the park’s fascinating rock formations, the so-called “Hoodoos” or “goblins”.
These Hoodoos are tall, thin spires of rock which can have a height of 1.5 m to 45 m. They can be found in several places in North America but they protrude in a very high abundance from the northern basin of the Bryce Canyon. One of the most famous Hoodoos is called Thor’s Hammer as the rock really does remind of the weapon of the Norse god.
Chipmunks are nearly as omnipresent as the Hoodoos at Bryce Canyon. Three different species of these small rodents can be found in the National Park – the Uintah chipmunk Tamias umbrinus, the Least Chipmunk Tamias minimus and the Cliff chipmunk Tamias dorsalis.
All of these chipmunks have orange brown coloured fur, however, one can distinguish the different species thanks to the stripes on their backs. Whilst the the Uintah chipmunk has wide dark black stripes, the Least Chipmunk has narrow dark stripes and is very small in size. The Cliff chipmunk, on the other hand, has very faint gray, white stripes.
Most of the chipmunks we came across were Cliff chipmunks. These seemed to feel quite at home around the picknick areas – they obviously were hoping to get hold of some of the human snacks. And the signs which explicitly prohibited the feeding of the wildlife, illustrated by a hand feeding a chipmunk, showed that people used to only be too happy to share their food with the small button-eyed creatures
All over, our time at Bryce Canyon was packed with stunning views and sightings of small furry creatures. I’ll hopefully be returning one day, as I’d love to experience the park at sunrise or sunset, as the views then are supposed to be even more breathtaking.
For all animal enthusiasts, I can recommend this field guide to the mammals of North America by the National Audubon Society. Even if you’re not actually in North America, it’s interesting to simply flick through and read up on the biodiversity of the different groups of mammals. And one can also spend quite a bit of time simply marveling at the skillfully made sketches and photos of all the animals.:
And if you’d like to read more about the Bryce Canyon National Park, have a look here: