Traveling is chasing feelings. You don’t go places to do things; you go places to feel the things you feel when you do the things those places have to do. These feelings can be internal or external. Every place you go has its own vibe you step into, and every trip you take creates its own sensation within you — the sense-memories, the vague excitement/relaxation/wonder that bubbles up from deep in your brain/heart/loins when you look back at the photos.
Bryce Canyon’s vibe is 19th-Century heaven. Like if you popped into the red-rock portion of the great hereafter, but a couple hundred years ago, before it got so crowded. How it makes you feel — other than a little lightheaded from the thin air — is a little harder to pin down, but it’s safe to say you’ll feel happy. Especially if you let our buddies at Bryce Canyon Pines handle the details.
There’s the actual, external landscape — all 9,000-foot-high conifers and congregations of mad hoodoos (pro-tip: it all looks better on horseback) — and then there’s the feeling in the air. Drive into Bryce Canyon and you realize how big and grand and remote the world can be. It’s above everything. You feel like you’re looking down from one of those cloud cities in the movies. The air is crisp and cool: perfect for camping in the summer and cross-country skiing in the winter. There’s that special kind of bristling, buzzing silence you only hear in beautiful, elevated places.
And then there’s the internal landscape Bryce Canyon creates. Again, this is by definition highly personal, but our informal poll found that most people who visit Bryce Canyon report that it feels —
— “like home” (could be the comfy digs or the delicious home-cooked meals).
— “like the old days” (the horses, the cowboy aesthetic, all that pristine nature).
— “like family” (gotta be Ethel’s pies).
If you could feel (and see, and smell, and taste) all those things in a virtual reality chamber in your basement, you would, and there would be no need to travel. But you can’t. So go to Bryce Canyon.