Bryce Canyon, a Vegas reprieve

Sunday, August 25, 2013
Bryce, Utah, United States
I'd spoken so highly of flying over The Grand Canyon from my previous trip with Mike and Jay, so that was definitely listed as a highlight for our around-the-world trip. We'd seen a bit yesterday coming in to Las Vegas the previous evening, but I was hoping we could do the complete 4-pass VFR traverse that's allowed. Unfortunately the weather wasn't looking too good for that.

On the plus side though, Johannes had heard about the beauty of Bryce Canyon . I remember it from a previous road trip 20 years ago through the southwest as insanely pretty and I was also eager to revisit it. There's a Bryce Canyon airport just north of the national park, so a day hike through a portion of the park was seemingly easy to organize. Our flight in was with low overcast, and seeing as the airfield is at 8000 ', if the clouds we any lower we would have had to file IFR while en route. We just squeaked in though, under non-Texas conditions. Johannes wasn't nearly as phased by this as I was ;-).

The main souvenir shop and restaurant, Ruby's, provides a free shuttle service from the airport, so we took advantage of that. From there it was another free shuttle operated by the park service through the national park. To top off the free theme, it happened to be the annual celebration of the national park service founding, so we had free entry into the park. Great!

When I think national parks, I think shorts weather and sunshine . That wasn't the case today as it was very low overcast and cold. Regardless, we had a majestic hike. The park is so unique and even with the overcast the colors were amazing. It started to rain about 2/3 through our rim hike, but that didn't really matter. Good pizza in the dry lodge restaurant served ato warm us back up as well.

Flying back out of Bryce Canyon was in low overcast conditions. We had some rain en route but it wasn't choppy as forecast. Flying over the Grand Canyon was awash with the weather, but we figured we could do its tomorrow. As a consolation, flying into Vegas at sunset is a cool sight. It was fun to hear the controllers use the Stratosphere needle for navigation purposes. Apparently we had just missed a big storm in Vegas as that's all the FBO could talk about.

To complete the Vegas experience I wanted to show Johannes downtown Fremont Street as opposed to just going to the Strip again. It's a completely different vibe there and the people watching is intense. I'd read that El Cortez has the best blackjack odds in Vegas, so we sat down at a $3 table and after an hour had both won a whopping $1. No complaints there so we walked away content and went back to NYNY.

Routing: Bryce Canyon KBCE back to North Las Vegas KVGT: BCE V8 MMM at 14,000'
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