I mentioned in a previous post that we saw snow falling in Bryce on our second day there. It happened early in the morning (shortly after sunrise) and only lasted about 30 minutes. My initial thought was to get out to the amphitheater area as quickly as possible. It seemed to me that the hoodoos just might have received a “sugar coating” of snow. With the sun beginning to make its appearance, the effect would likely be photogenic.
Unfortunately, there was no sugar coating. New snow had accumulated in flat areas of the canyon, but not on any of the spires. Still, it was a beautiful sight, and one that I essentially had all to myself. There had been a few people there when I arrived, presumably to photograph sunrise. But they’d left or were in the process of leaving. So I just wandered along the edge, enjoying the view and the silence.
As I stood there looking toward the east and the breaking clouds, I noticed that some of those clouds seemed awfully low. And then I realized that those “clouds” were rolling over the eastern edge of the amphitheater and down into the canyon.
Not clouds, I thought. Fog. Fog was rapidly forming to the east and heading in my direction. The snow that had fallen must have brought the air temperature and dew point within 4 degrees F of one another. Creating Radiational Fog. A rare event in the southwest.
Being a greedy SOB, I began hoping for a little something extra. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen photographs of the effect or not, but on occasion fog will fill a deep canyon (even the Grand Canyon) so completely that you can’t see down into it. It looks like a bathtub filled with water, except that the “water” is really fog. Well, no cigar this time. But I loved it anyway!
Eventually the fog arrived on the west edge of the canyon, just below the entrance to the Navajo Trail and near what is perhaps Bryce’s most iconic hoodoo: Thor’s Hammer.
All in all, an experience much better than “sugar coated” hoodoos. Although that would have been nice, too.