Bryce Canyon

Or: have you seam-sealed your tent lately?

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Why do two car alarms go off in one night at my campground? Why does it take about five minutes for them to be turned off? Usually I don't mind, but at 2am in a campground this was truly unpleasant. More pleasant was the morning shower and actually even the short trip from Zion to Bryce. Little traffic, cool temperatures, and a nice campground where one has to pay for every day individually instead for a few days in advance - oh how smart.

Bryce showed itself from its wet and cold side. Still, at sunset, all campgrounds were full and the sky was clean again. My neighborhood spoke mostly German, which is little surprising, and also some Italian; of all things I even heard a few words of English! Despite the temperature I went to shoot the occasional night picture and decided to catch the sunrise after a rest period. (The night pictures didn't work out at all).

And what a sunrise it was: I was standing there at the lookout, together with a German guy with a tripod, we both wearing our Gore-Tex jackets, and staring into the fog. I mean FOG, not the San Francisco wannabe. There was nothing to see other than the white thing. And it was raining, too. One could hear a helicopter overhead - wonder how much these tourists paid for the scenic flight.

It was a wise decision to postpone my hike and save it for this day - NOT. Instead of beautiful weather I got thick rain, but also almost no tourists. Fortunately, for my descent to the canyon floor the weather gods were on my side and partially stopped the flood until after I crawled out. The scenery in the canyon was indeed wonderful, showing all kinds of red lime stone.

Returning to the campsite I talked to some equally wet and disappointed neighbors, like Dennis from San Jose, who works for the VA, which I naturally didn't know when I told him that NASA was the only federal agency worth funding; then there was Charlie from Truckee CA who was coming back from a wedding in Colorado; and then the two young ladies from NYC, Ali and Lisa (oops, sorry, writing this after days, so maybe the names are somewhat off...) who were on a cross-country trip to SF. Their tent didn't look very happy, and this was even before the night came upon us. Just before sunset we got to see a beautiful rainbow, and then it resumed to rain. Or, to pour. And it didn't stop till the morning.

I didn't even try to shoot the sunrise because the almost deafening noise of pouring rain on the rainfly told me that there wasn't anything to shoot, anyway. Surprisingly enough, the tent was still dry at the inside. Suddenly there was brief silence, and all of the neighborhood took advantage of the moment and used it for packing. Ali and Lisa, whose tent was less dry, even attempted to start a fire; I used some of Apple's printed source code to help in this production (the information was properly destroyed by the fire), but at length our efforts were futile. Ali made the decision not to use my stove to cook some sort of breakfast but instead to go to a diner and to have some good old classic American breakfast, whatever that may be. So we drove out of the park, in an unbelievable downpour I'd may add, and had a 1+ hour breakfast. Then we parted - Ali and Lisa to the Grand Canyon, myself to Grand Teton and Yellowstone, all of us hoping for better weather.

The drive to Grand Teton was about as pleasant as an 8:45-hr drive can be, with little rain and no incidents, except the hour-long delay just before Jackson, due to road construction. From the radio I learned that in Salt Lake City a private video store censors customer's copies of "Titanic" upon request - snipping the portrait and car scenes. This makes me wonder what they do with 99% of the other movies released these days - leave the credits? Paramount has already promised legal action, oh joy.

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