We made our way over to Bryce Canyon through the Escalante and Dixie Natioanal Forests. This was another scenic drive which was a bit dicey at times. Lots of hairpin turns and steep dropoff with no guardrails. I was thankful that Jim was doing the driving !
We had hoped to get into the national park campground but the kids said they wanted to camp in “civilization” which, to them, means a pool and showers. To me this meant a chance to do laundry. We settled in for the afternoon and relaxed at the campsite. We did go to the visitor’s center to get oriented and pick up some souveniers. We didn’t actually get to see the canyon until Saturday morning.
Early Saturday we made our way to the Bryce Canyon Lodge. Jim set himself up in the lobby with his book and laptop. The kids and I made our way over to the corral for our trail ride into the canyon. The head wrangler introduced himself to us and asked about our riding experience. I always answer this questions a bit reluctantly. When I say I am experienced, I end up at the back of a long line of horses because I guess they figure I won’t fall off. I also don’t want to end up on an old slow poke horse. This time my answer paid off. I was given a mule named Jake, he had a lot of pep and was ready to go. He waited a bit impatiently for the other riders to get mounted. My riding instincts kick in instantly even though my muscles pay for it later. Erin rode mouse and Alex rode WInchester. We were near the front of the line of 12 riders and our wrangler was named Dave. We were the only people in our group who spoke English so I think they put us near the front to give Dave someone to talk to who would get his jokes.
We set off from Sunset Point and this was our first view of the canyon and it was breathtaking. Dave asked us how we liked his office, love it we replied! We made our way down into the canyon. Bryce is a park where the park is above the rim and you look down into the canyon from the overlooks unless you ride or hike down into the canyon. The main feature of the canyon is the hoodoos which are tall spire formations grouped together. The native people believed that people who entered the canyon were turned into rock. Dave told us the first pioneers saw the canyon and said “Who do that?’. He said that is why they are called hoodoos. One of the first pioneer/rancher in the area, Ebenezer Bryce said, “It’s a heck of a place to lose a cow”. The canyon is indeed a confusing maze of cliffs and hoodoos that would be difficult to find one’s way around in. But, Dave guided us through with an on going monolog of jokes, stories and information about the geology, plants and animals in the area.
We rode for 3.5 hours and covered over seven miles. It was awesome to ride again and to see so much of the canyon. I managed to stay on my feet when I dismounted my mule and I don’t think I walked too funny.