For quite a few years now I have spent Thanksgiving weekend in the Bryce Canyon area of southern Utah (see map). I return every year to stay in one of the coziest places I know of, room #129 at the Bryce Canyon Pines Motel, a cute, cabin-type structure with a kitchen, small living room, fireplace, and sleeping arrangements for 4. The wood for the fireplace is free and plentiful - a most appreciated asset of this rustic charmer during the wind-whipping, nose-nipping nights. The kitchen is large enough to accommodate a small dining table as well as the cases of beer and soda that my fellow travelers and I invariably bring along. Staying here and exploring the multi-hued canyons of the surrounding countryside is part of my Thanksgiving tradition.
My typical stay is arrival very late Wednesday night through Monday; 5 days of peace, beauty, splendor, relaxing, adventure, and camaraderie. Thursday, Thanksgiving day, I shoo everyone out to Bryce Canyon so that I can prepare the traditional evening's feast, but traditional only in that there is a turkey to be cooked and consumed. In the weeks before Thanksgiving I scour the Food Section and other resources for tasty recipes to try out on my unwitting victims. Previous years' menu items have included: Tandoori Turkey, Wasabe Mashed Potatoes, Lentil and Rice Stuffing, Garlic-Chile Pepper Eggplant, Honey and Cinnamon Covered Edamame (Soybeans), Walnut Bread, Corn Muffins, Homemade Gravy, Spicy Green Beans, among others. After returning from the day's explorations, the rest of those who journeyed with me from LA pitch in with the final preparations for the evening's repast - so they don't have to wait until 10 pm to eat (my timing skills are horrendous).
Using Bryce Canyon as a home base one can easily visit many other areas and sights in the region on a day trip. Places such as Kodachrome Basin, Capitol Reef NP, Wolverine Petrified Wood Area, Boulder Mountain, Long Canyon, The Hogs Back, Hole-In-The-Rock, the slot canyons of Coyote Gulch, Vermillion Cliffs, Hell's Backbone, and of course the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon NP. This time of year the weather is usually mild during the day (40's to 60's), but quite chilly (if not downright butt-cold) at night. It could be shorts and sunshine or fleece and flurries, but no matter what the conditions, there is an abundance of places to see, by foot or by vehicle; all sculpted by the inexorable forces of wind, sand, water, and time. This part of the US is my absolute favorite and I never, ever tire of exploring its many trails, canyons, escarpments, plateaus, and vistas. On a clear day one can see well over 100 miles in all directions, the landscape before you hinting at the secrets of nature begging for your "discovery". From the yellows and whites of Grosvenor Arch, to the oranges and pinks of Bryce Canyon, to the scarlets and crimsons of Long Canyon, the colors of the land encompass the whole spectrum.
A whole gamut of experiences is available to those who journey with me. From the sublime beauty of the colorful crystals found in the petrified wood of Escalante State Park, to the magnificent spectacle of Calf Creek Falls as it plunges 200 feet down a face of green and taupe-colored rock, to the climbing and clambering within the claustrophobic confines of Spooky Gulch Slot Canyon, to the twisting, creeping, heart-stopping crawl down the backside of Capitol Reef on the Burr Trail. This time of year is the off season so the rates are low and the crowds are non-existent. With our 4WD vehicles we can seek out all the scenic treasures, hidden or otherwise, which abound in the surrounding region. So, come join me as I revisit some of the places I've been to during previous years trips and meet some of the people who've accompanied me on past journeys.
|Come with me on my 9-day Thanksgiving '99 trip|
|Travel with me for Thanksgiving at Bryce Canyon, 2000|
|I'm all alone for Thanksgiving at Bryce Canyon, 2001|
|Check out the pictures from Thanksgiving at Bryce Canyon, 2002|