Nobody was lost today. We all made sure we stayed within eye and ear shot. There was alot of climbing and descents and despite all the downhills, we actually topped out at 9000 feet near Rainbow Point, which is where the Under the Rim Trail elevated us to. The views from that point were quite stunning. However, the views became even more so better and panoramic as we started going down from 9000 feet. The Under the Rim trail gave you mostly a view towards the east. But as we descended, the trail began curving towards the south. Here is where I gawked for a bit. Oh what a view! Pictures can barely describe what i saw. To the east I could see the Kaiparowits Plateau. To the north-east, the Aquarius Plateau and Boulder mountain. To the South-east, Navajo Mountain. And down south, I could already see the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Here is where it began to sink in that we were essentially traveling thru time geologically. At 9000 feet, we were on the very top of this Grand Staircase, the pink cliffs of Bryce Canyon, the icing on the cake, the younger layers of rock. Making our way down south towards the Grand Canyon, we will gradually drop in elevation, eventually making it to the Colorado River, the very bottom of the Grand Canyon, elevation approximately 2500 feet, where the Vishnu Schist rock is found, the oldest layer of rock. We are talking millions of millions of years. Yes, I am not only a thru hiker, but one that travels thru time. Mother Earth has a way of making me feel so small and insignificant, yet at the same time so privileged and empowered. Definitely feeling humbled too.
After today, I can finally say that I have hiked thru pretty much all of Bryce Canyon National Park. Leaving the park, we find ourselves back in GSENM. Yes, we are back in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Yes, this Hayduke Route does meander quite a bit. We are still about 43 miles (2 days) from the AZ-UT border and our next food cache.