Day 31: July 22, 2013

We had a very leisurely morning this morning and actually ran into the same man that had his daughter tethered to him on Angel’s Landing in our campground! He told us about the full moon hikes that Bryce offers once or twice a month (during the full moon) – turns out there was one going on t0night! We decided to try our luck with tickets and headed to the visitor’s center around 11AM. They were sold out – these tickets are a much bigger deal than we originally had thought. I did some research and learned that only 30 – 60 guests are allowed on each hike, and that people get in line for tickets around 6AM when the visitor’s center opens at 8AM! The real kicker: the meeting location for the hikes is a secret; it’s printed only on the ticket, and it changes every hike. We accepted the challenge, and decided that we would seek out the perfect starting spot for a full moon hike and sneak on with the group.

Instead of hiking the Fairyland trail (an 8 mile loop), we drove to the Mossy Cave trail for a lazy, 1 mile hike.

We found the mossy cave:

and a man-made river and waterfall from the 1800s!

We followed the river,

and stumbled upon the softest, smoothest mud in the history of mud. We played with it for a good while before deciding it was time to eat lunch.

We found a shady spot near the river to eat our meal and, after lunch, let our food comas and the sounds of the river lull us to sleep. A butterfly joined us when we woke!

When we returned to the main portion of Bryce, we began scouting out different possible full moon hike starting points. After visiting a few vista points,

we returned to our campsite and made another fire-cooked dinner. We restarted our detective work around 6:45PM – this time around we asked rangers and other campers/hikers if they knew where the full moon hike began and when. Lo and behold, someone told us a certain time and a certain place.

Taylor and I took this as truth, went to the General Store, bought a 12-pack of PBR, and parked in a lot where we drank and listened to Eminem. Turns out our friend did not lead us astray – the full-moon-hikers gathered in a certain spot and at a certain time and we (buzzed) hopped onto Geoff’s tour. He based his tour around superpowers and talked to us about different animals’ superpowers! He was wonderful.

Unfortunately, we could not go down in the canyons due to the cloud cover, so what would have been a 1.5 hour tour turned into a 45 minute tour around the Rim trails. The moon was still gorgeous, though.

Geoff would play an animal sound on his iPhone, show us a picture of the animal, and tell us all about it!

Some highlights of what we learned:

– prairie dogs can communicate to each other in detail i.e. “There is a tall girl in a blue shirt coming”

– while coyotes separate from their young and never meet again after a certain point, the parents will howl specific familial calls to their pups to let them know when they’ve made a kill and have extra food (and they tell the kids exactly where the food is!)

– great horned owls can see as well in the night as we see in the day!

– the glowworm is a mystery! Geoff is doing his research on glowworms. We learned that the female glowworm stays in the larvae stage (and glows pink in order to attract males), while males are adult beetles when they mate. However, the mating and metamorphosis processes of the glowworms are still a mystery!! Geoff is hoping to uncover some of these secrets in his research.

After a lovely moon-lit-cloudy hike, Taylor and I headed back to our campsite, watched Forgetting Sarah Marshall, drank more beers, and went to bed buzzed and happy.

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