We knew we were headed toward a popular place when the road slowed to a crawl a half-mile before entering Bryce Canyon National Park. Traffic like this always gets me angry. It just seems to me that if a place gets visitors in this number, something should be done to prevent such traffic from occurring. By the time we got past the guard shack, several of the first scenic viewpoints were filled, and the entryways blocked off so no cars could enter. Again, I ask: Why? You drive hundreds (or thousands) of miles to see a National Park, you pay your entry fee, and then...it's just crazy, right?
Letting go of irritation and anger can be hard, even in an area of such scenic beauty. Like Cedar Breaks National Monument, Bryce Canyon National Park is a canyon, and the public access areas are all located along the top. This makes hiking down into this scenic wonderland difficult, as you're already at 8,000 to 9,000 feet elevation, and the air is thinner, which can lead to high altitude sickness. So unless you're at the peak of fitness, or feeling real adventurous, you probably don't want to hike down into the canyon very far, as you'll need to hike back up again later.
My wife tells me I was sort of irritated all day, which is a shame, as there was always plenty of beautiful scenery to glimpse. In the afternoon, we were able to get back into one of the areas that had been closed off earlier, and even do a little art. We sat in our canvas chairs, overlooking the landscape below, while people stopped by to glance at my pencil sketch and my wife's watercolor. I heard quite a few folks tell their friends that they wished they could draw, which made me feel nice.
Although we had allotted for a second day at Bryce Canyon National Park, gazing down at remote geological features isn't the same thing as walking amidst them. Couple this with the wait to enter the park, the blocked-off areas, and the crowds everywhere when you're trying to "immerse yourself in nature," and another visit to Bryce Canyon National Park seemed more than a little, uh...insane.