Time and time again, travel for me remains to be a humbling experience. It makes me realize and appreciate my own insignificance. Nowhere is my immateriality more palpable than when I am swallowed by wildness - so vast and fathomless - in national parks. Yosemite, and now, Bryce and Zion, all have the same effect on me. They all remind me that I am but a teeny cog in this universe. A teeny cog! My self importance and egoism are dwarfed by everything unknowable and undiscoverable so apparent in the wild places we see. It bowled me over when I realized as we were engulfed by endless canyons everywhere that prior to that time, and even after that time, I completely had no notion of the extent of my ignorance. It would have been unfathomable to my own imagination, creative as it may be, how astounding the world is. And how there are innumerable places and experiences to left to see. And yes, even the acceptance that I will never even get to seem them all in my lifetime.
I find it almost silly that some cities think they are the center of the universe (ehem, New York City?). But stepping out into the wilderness, engulfed by cliffs, clean air you can actually breathe, pure, thin air up top, trees wildlife, gushing rivers - you become certain that nothing is absolute, nothing is nowhere nearly as powerful as nature is. And really, that is the true center of the universe.
We may not have architectural feats built yet in 1 AD, but these canyons formed by nature into structures that resemble temples and pyramids - thousands of them - have been around far longer.
I mean, there could be ten, thirty, fifty, a five thousand items on your list. Yes, that's impressive - but how many experiences are you excluding?
Instead, I have the antithesis to bucket lists - Reverse Bucket Lists. These are the things that make it to the list only after I have done it, seen it, explored it, experienced it. And this majestic sunset in Bryce National Park is definitely going on my Reverse Bucket List.
If you go:
- Go later in the day to avoid the crowds. Unlike Yosemite, the length of Bryce is actually navigable by car. Drive south to the Rainbow and Yovimpa Points and work your way back. No matter what you do, plan to watch the sunset at either Inspiration, Bryce, Sunset or Sunrise Point.
- Take your wide angle lens! I was too lazy to pack mine and I was stuck with the fixed-focus lens I had on. Fail.
- We had many animal sightings, including pronghorn antelopes, which I've never seen in my life before. Take your zoom lens and a tripod while you're at it. Heck, take all your camera equipment!
- Plan to hike. I certainly wished I did - but that just means I get to return very soon.
- Don't drive very fast. There are lots of wildlife about - the most I've seen (but I haven't been to Denali either). If you do, you either miss them or worse, hit them.