Bryce Canyon National Park
We arrived at Bryce Canyon Pines RV Park with a less than pleasant beginning. We were given a site that was very uneven and we had to use every tool at our disposal in order to park level. Even after we were able to level off, we hated the site. It was in the back of the park and surrounded by maintenance trailers. We also had literally no yard and our door opened over the fire pit. I decided to check at the office to see if there were any other sites available, especially since we were going to be there for a week. They were very friendly about it but said they were booked solid and there was just nothing they could do. I reluctantly accepted this and headed back to the site. Very soon afterwards, the manager arrived, agreed that our motor home was too big and not a proper fit for the site and moved us to another site. The new site was much more level and we loved our front yard. We spent our first full day with a drive into the park. Our first stop was at the visitor center where we looked over maps and enjoyed the 20 minute movie. From there we drove to the southernmost point in the park, about 18 miles away from the entrance before turning around and stopping at each of the overlooks along the way. We saw some incredible views and as we inched our way north, each view just kept getting better. Once we returned to the “main” section of the park, about 5 miles from the gate, we skipped the remaining viewpoints and headed home for the day. First thing the following morning we headed off and enjoyed a nice breakfast at a local restaurant. Following breakfast we returned to the park and got on one of the shuttle busses which took us back to Bryce Point, the last stop we made the day before. From there, we hiked up and down along the rim trail for about 4 miles to the final vista, Sunrise Point. The hike gave us the chance to really enjoy all those spectacular views close up. The following day we once again got an early start in order to arrive for our reservation at the Bryce Canyon Horse Corral by 7:30. From there, we took a horseback ride down into the heart of Bryce Canyon where we saw such magnificent views as the Wall of Windows, The Chessmen, Silent City, and the Bristle Cone Pine Trees, said to be the oldest trees on the planet. That horseback ride was everything we hoped for. I was assigned Tin Man, a steady, reliable, experienced mule who clearly knew the trails better than I did. He liked to hug the edge of the trails at times (yikes) and did like to bend over and eat flowers whenever we stopped but he was an easy ride. Claudia was assigned Strawberry, a pokey horse who didn’t seem thrilled with her passenger. She was right behind Tin Man but when she got too close, Tin Man liked to give her a kick so she kept her distance. The ride took us from the top of the canyon and all the way to the bottom. Some of the trails were easy while others were steep narrow switch backs. All around us we saw beautiful landscape with thousands of hoodoos, sculptures carved in the sandstone by wind and rain. We traveled through natural bridges and across dry river banks. Many times we felt like the horses would fall off the steep winding cliffs but we were assured that the horses were not suicidal. That wasn’t all that reassuring at the time. We were so glad we did take the ride however since we couldn’t have seen the canyon like we did if we hadn’t. We certainly wouldn’t have been able to hike through as much area as we did by horseback. The down side of the trip became more apparent as the day went on and even more so the following days. The pains began on our backsides but continued to our knees, calves, thighs and stomachs. It was of course, still one of the best things we’ve done. Before leaving the area we took a ride into Red Canyon, just outside Bryce where we took a short hike on the Hoodoo Trail to get some nice close-up views of more Hoodoos. On our final day we returned to Red Canyon with Stella and enjoyed a great 3 mile hike along some fairly rustic trails, occasionally with nice steep grades and all with gorgeous views. I think it’s safe to say that our visit to Bryce was everything, if not more than we expected.
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Ed and Claudia always dreamed of retiring and travelling the country in their motorhome. They retired in 2013 and this is the continuing story of their adventures on the road.