Bryce Canyon SunsetProblem: A dwindling friendship.
Reasons: 1. A 2,000 mile separation, 2. One of us is maxi-social and the other’s maxi-not, and 3. Well, I have crummy phone skills.
Solution: Friends decide to explore southern Utah and meet in Bryce Canyon National Park for two days of camping and camaraderie.

I met Brynn several years ago and we instantly clicked. I hope everyone has a friend like her – she encourages deep conversations about who I am and why I live the way I do. So I jumped at the chance to visit Bryce Canyon National Park for the first time, hoping it would be a perfect setting to bond over blue skies, pine trees and fresh air.

We met up at the historic Lodge at Bryce Canyon and the building’s charm and character made me immediately rethink our decision to camp. Rustic, cozy, and a national historic landmark, to boot, the lodge would be a fun place to stay in comfort surrounded by others. Next trip, for sure. Fortunately, my disappointment at our lodging quickly disappeared as we set up our tent to an unexpected treat - a full moon and a billion stars sparkling in the night sky. I learned later that a “billion” might be an exaggeration. The park calculates 750,000 stars are visible on a moonless night due to the extremely low light pollution. Not quite a billion, but close enough.

I had never been on a moon-lit hike before, so Brynn and ventured out into the night after setting up our campsite. As I headed out amongst the trees in the ghostly light of the moon, hiking became an entirely new experience. We had fun mis-identifying sounds from animals in the distance, and our hike was laced with the smells of campfires and the murmur of campers in the distance. The relaxed setting lead us to share meaningful ideas of our futures because small talk didn’t feel right in such a big landscape.

The next morning, we made our way to the nearby Sunset Point and Holy Cow!  I had seen pictures of the famous hoodoos and Thor’s Hammer, but to see it in person – it’s unbelievable. First impression – okay, it’s corny, but honestly, the colors of fire truly became burned into my soul and slowly coaxed emotions to the surface. Second impression – the enormous red rock hoodoos of the canyon became the third member of our company and listened to our secrets as we walked by on the Navajo Loop Trail. I couldn’t resist touching the rock and let the fine dust reside on my hand, to take away a piece of the grandeur with me.

To this day, when I see a full moon or vibrant red-orange colors, I think back to my adventure with Brynn and am thankful for a chance to reconnect with her in a perfect location where the awe-inspiring helped strengthen a lasting, meaningful friendship.