I’ve traveled a little bit in my near-63 years upon this beautiful earth, and I’ve seen some great sites, ranging from the Eiffel Tower in Paris AND Vegas to Washington’s AND Lincoln’s monuments. BUT I have NOT seen many famous NATURAL wonders. I have ventured into Yellowstone Park and watched Old Faithful do her thing, and I have marveled at the Tetons in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. EVERY day I ooh and ahh over the Rockies right here in my backyard, but I had NEVER ventured south to visit what SHOULD be one of the TOP 10 natural wonders of the world.
Southern Utah is home to NUMEROUS red, salmon-pink, golden, and gray rock canyons. While I have seen pictures and postcards, calendars and magnets depicting these canyons, I had not visited any until this past spring break. It was time!
I chose Bryce Canyon as our destination because of a certain accommodation: Ruby’s Inn. For years, I had heard of the historical lodging place, and I wanted to stay there, regardless of the canyon it called home. So off we went on a cold, rainy April day.
I love the learning that takes place on such ventures, and I will share more “fun facts” over the next few weeks, but I have to say that seeing these MORE than AMAZING formations up close and personal surpassed my expectations of breath-taking WOWness!
I became instantly curious. How were these “columns” created? Why are the rocks’ colors so intense? And my FAVORITE question of the hour: They are called WHAT? HOO DOOS? Who came up with THAT sophisticated, scientific-sounding name?
Although the Bryce National Park literature failed to explain the origin, and my personal research has not “conjured” up the answer, I have my own theory.
You see the native tribes of that area – the Paiutes – believed that the consummate trickster, Coyote, turned these “legend people” to stone. The rows upon rows of hoodoos look like lines of warriors, and I was, in fact, reminded of the terracotta army of the first Qin Dynasty.
Back to my theory. According to the always reliable Wikipedia, “the word hoodoo was first documented in American English in 1875.” Its definition is based upon trans-culture folk magic that involves potions, spells, and conjuration. Therefore it isn’t a far stretch to imagine that the Wily Coyote legend inspired the Official Geological Naming Committee to cleverly assign these majestic rock formations a “fun” label like HooDoo – “not to be confused with New Orleans voodoo or Haitian vodou.”