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Tower Bridge Rock Formation, Bryce Canyon # 6173

Below is a description of the photograph you were looking for, and the circumstances surrounding the photo.
Date: 2004.11.19
Vantage Point: From Tower Bridge Viewpoint Trail

Caption: This rock formation shows an uncanny resemblance to London's Tower Bridge.

PhotoDescr: Besides the more familiar hoodoo type of formation, the rocks in Bryce Canyon National Park also take the shape of natural bridges. This particular feature has a side trail from the Fairyland Loop trail specifically to allow hikers to view it; it is the only side trail on the loop. Because of the extreme slowness with which plants grow and anything resembling soil develops in the high and dry environment of southern Utah, off-trail walking is extremely damaging to the environment, and is discouraged.

While on this side trail, I heard noises that led me to believe I was not alone, but when I identified the source of the noises, it seemed to to be freeze-thaw erosion in action. As the day warmed to slightly above freezing in the sunlight, small rocks were being released to roll down a slope above the trail.

Mid-November is a little late in the hiking season for Bryce; the area had already received its first major snowfall, and when I hiked the Fairlyland Loop trail, the temperatures at the start were below freezing. The upside is that the trails were firm rather than muddy and I had the place to myself almost the entire hike; the park's 1.7 million annual visitors tend to come earlier in the year. It was also easy to avoid heat stroke.

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