Bryce Canyon National Park

Hello everyone and welcome back.

Wow, I apologize for the delay on posts, I am slacking. Bryce Canyon National Park was our next destination and we were super pumped to see the park and spend some time with our friends (Iowa & Colorado friends). Getting reservations at Sunset Campground was a bit hectic since this campground is really popular and I had to literally get a spot 6 months in advanced. I was lucky to get 2 sites since the campgrounds are super small and literally with only enough space for 1 vehicle instead of 2 as stated by the park. The drive to Bryce Canyon was spectacular! Abby’s GPS took us a completely different way. At times it appeared that we were lost but the scenic views were killer and next time we go back to Bryce Canyon we are going to make sure we take that drive again. While growing up in Colorado, Abby and I were spoiled by having such a great view of the mountains every day and now that we live in Iowa we have become accustomed to farmers being around everywhere in our community. Picture this! Farming in the mountains! Yup!! It’s true and it’s a thing and it was super rad to see; free range cattle were everywhere, the scenic views of the mountains were incredible, not to mention that the temperature dropped quite a bit. Our last location (Canyonlands) we encountered 105-degree weather and now my car’s thermostat was reading 64 degrees, I couldn’t believe it but we were for sure gaining elevation since our 5-gallon water containers were shrinking and making popping noise because of the altitude and the wind was brutal. My car was swerving and I had to be super focused because A) the wind was making my car swerve and with the roof top tent and the carrier on the back on my car, things felt worse and B) cows were roaming around all over the mountains and one moment of distraction could end in disaster.

The names of the towns that we drove through were Loa and Koosharem, both towns are small but the view of the mountains sure was majestic. The majority of the houses appeared to be cabins and that was super cool. Abby and I got some ideas since we are turning our house into a large cabin in a Dutch town, we are for sure going to stand out. Not to mention that in the town of Koosharem we saw a pizza joint named Napoleon’s Pizza and the restaurant had a VW bus outside and it was dope! Just like that, we went from mountains and green pastures to flat and sand everywhere and our last 10 miles we kept encountering red hills which to me that’s kind of strange but sah-weet at the same time! When we left Canyonlands to refuel in Moab, our friends Andy and Brenda (Colorado friends) sent us a text message letting us know that they were already waiting for us at Bryce Canyon, shoot man!! We are never late but I guess there is a first time for everything since we were technically 4 hours away.

After an awesome drive we finally reached Bryce Canyon City and my cellphone reception was not great but I managed to call Luke and Corrine (Iowa friends) and left them a voicemail to let them know we had arrived to Bryce Canyon and also letting them know which campsite was theirs. This park had awesome signs indicating where to go (not like Canyonlands National Park) and within 5 minutes of being inside of the park, we had arrived to our campsite. I decided to drive to the other campsite to say hi to Andy & Brenda which was on the opposite side of our campground in loop B. As I drove up, I had to bust a d*ck move and honk at them while they were napping (my bad) and just like that, I woke them up and I drove back to my campsite ha!

I have stayed in lots (and I mean lots) of campgrounds in different parks, states and locations within the U.S. and I have never in my life experienced a stricter campground, even though we followed the rules (we always do, it’s what we do). As we arrived to our site, Abby and I parked in an area where a tent should be and set up our roof top tent. A park ranger came over and told us that we were not to park our car in the grassy area for tents (even though there was no grass there). So I quickly moved and apologized to the park ranger. Once again Abby and I set up our tent and this time we were told that we parked too far to the left and may disturb the other campers since my roof top tent’s ladder was technically in our neighbor’s campsite. I politely asked the park ranger that we were expecting another vehicle and there was hardly any room for a second vehicle (that’s why I parked too far to the left). The park ranger told us that, that wasn’t his problem, we were all adults and he was confident that we could figure it out a way to make our parking issue work or have the other members of our group not camp that night at all. Wow!! Do all Bryce Canyon park rangers treat all of their visitors like this? Apparently the ranger on duty did! I can’t imagine how they treat the visitors that don’t speak English since foreigners are their main income. Throughout our visit, we spoke to our neighbors and other visitors of the campground and out of the 4 families that we spoke to in addition to our friends, they ALL got citations for failure to park within the campsite boundaries. Another family got a citation because they failed to maintain a 10’ perimeter around the campfire (never heard of that rule). Our neighbor got a citation because he set up his tent in dirt (designated tent spot) and apparently that was a green area, that’s why we (Abby and I) got in trouble in the first place. I just couldn’t believe it. Yes! The place is popular; I get it but at least let the visitors enjoy their stay. I can understand if the visitors were slammed (drunk) and making all kinds of noise during the night while leaving their camp fire unattended or trying to ride the local deer or let’s not forget, feeding the overweight chipmunks but getting yelled at for parking too close to my neighbor, really? Either the park ranger was having a bad day or he just has a terrible attitude.

Enough of the negativity, we didn’t travel this far to focus on a moody park ranger. We drove to Bryce Canyon to enjoy the beauty of the park and we quickly gathered our gear and headed to see the hoodoos. Bryce Canyon was AMAZING! I looked at the hoodoos and I told myself, “I can’t believe these types of formations exist!”. But sure enough they do and I couldn’t wait to go on a hike with my family and friends and see the hoodoos up close and personal. That afternoon we decided to take it easy and save our energy for the following morning and headed back to camp for dinner. That afternoon, we met a cool couple (Larry & Barbara Clark), who were interested in our rooftop tent and that conversation went on for an hour or so since we talked about our travels and their travels. The conversation turned to Route 66 and now Abby and I are pumped to do a 4-week road trip to Route 66 (hopefully soon!). I know my work will throw a fit about it but, life is to be enjoyed not to be wasted sitting in front of a computer screen the whole day. That being said, I am truly considering giving my 2 weeks after we go over some finances and see if we can make it happen or we get a random sponsor, which I wouldn’t be opposed to I guess ha! 4 weeks of adventure, man that sounds sweet. Anyway, moving on from a dream. We ate dinner and Andy and Brenda mentioned a nice and easy hike near Bryce Canyon called Mossy Cave. We didn’t waste a minute longer and Andy did us a solid and drove all of us to see and enjoy Mossy Cave. It was probably a 15-minute drive from our campsite because this place is technically outside of the park.

Once we got to Mossy Cave, I realized I had forgotten my camera and my cellphone, I was running blind, and I couldn’t take any pictures. What was I going to do? Well…The Bryce Canyon Gods sent me a Mossy Cave angel since Andy offered to let me borrow his super amazing and heavy camera (which he treasures like his baby) and I felt powerful with it. But it was so heavy that I was scared of dropping it. Truth is, I was so nervous that I’d drop it that I’m surprised I even was able to snap some photos. I tried to post some pictures but for some reason my system didn’t allowed me to but if you guys have a chance to checkout Mossy Cave, please do because it was awesome and to Andy (thanks buddy!).

Mossy Cave was a super easy trail, Eyra walked the whole way to an amazing waterfall and to a mossy cave (maybe 0.8 miles maybe less), I was tempted to walk along the river and get down to the waterfall and snap some pictures but then again, I was carrying a camera that was not mine so I couldn’t expose myself to stupid choices so yes! I played it safe. Our friends from Iowa (Luke and Corrine) did not make it in that night and I was worried, had something happened to them on their way to Bryce Canyon? Did they get a flat tire? Or perhaps hit an animal on their way here or maybe they took the wrong turn and ended somewhere else? I left yet another voicemail to determine if they were OK but I couldn’t get a decent signal so I was a bit worried and stressed so I drank the worries away with some awesome hot chocolate. And since I couldn’t do anything else, I decided to do the one thing I could do. I ate about 6 marshmallows! Abby, for the record, makes some killer s’mores, I don’t know what technique she uses but hers turn out better than mine do. The following morning, we all ate a quick snack, packed our bags, refilled our water bottles, got our trekking poles and all jumped in Brenda’s car and to the hoodoos we went.

That morning was nice and cool and the wind had died down from the night before, that was a good sign for our hike to come. We began our trail at Queen’s Garden and in a blink of an eye the bright orange color of the hoodoos smacked my face and told me “Here we are, admire us, love us and take some pictures”, so I obeyed and took a sh*t ton of pictures. One of the cool things I loved about Bryce Canyon was that every hour the hoodoos looked different depending on the location of the sun. During the morning, the hoodoos looked bright red and other times more orange, as the sun continued its rotation the hoodoos looked white and sometimes yellow. It was awesome! Everywhere we looked the view was rad and since we started our hike early that morning, the trail was all ours.

We decided to take a different trail that ended up giving us some extra miles on our hike but we didn’t mind since we had nowhere else to go that day but to hike that trail alone. We came to a resting area were we noticed a few super overweight squirrels and we even saw a foreigner pet a chipmunk? These animals are so tame that it is even sad to see, not even the squirrels that live on my trees outside my house are this trusting. We rested and continued our hike towards Wall Street. Abby started the hike with Eyra on her back and went 3.5 miles before we decided to switch and I was to finish the rest of the hike with Eyra. My mule skills were tested on the switchbacks that this trail had to offer and even a few people provided a few words of encouragement.

The switch backs were rough with a baby on my back but together we managed and to the top we went. I stopped on every switch back to get a breather but hey! We made it to the top and Tylenol never looked so good as my entire body was aching. I consider myself to be in OK shape but these parks were sure kicking my butt but Eyra, Abby and I never gave up. I can say that my mule skills were getting better every day and I figure since I could hike Delicate Arch with no shade and in a 109-degree weather environment, I could knock out this bad boy with no issues. We hiked 7 miles and we all went straight to the campsite and took a nap, Abby and I were the unlucky ones since Eyra took a nap during the hike. Eyra was wired on top of the tent and we didn’t get to have a power nap.

Here are a few pictures of our hike!

I love this place!

Even more rad pictures.

Let’s do a few more.

I decided to go to the bathroom and while I was gone Abby took 47 pictures of a deer, I guess when you have a digital camera, the amount of pictures taken isn’t really a concern but she did a good job. Our whole afternoon was based on food and catching up with Andy and Brenda and by some miracle my phone had a moment of service and I noticed that Luke and Corrine were near since they sent me a text message. We welcomed the night with a fire and lots of more s’mores and all of a sudden we noticed a massive bus in the distance! Well that was no bus, that was Luke and Corrine’s massive Mercedes Benz Sprinter. If I thought my brother’s truck was big, this puppy tops it. We all said hi to Luke and Corrine and they went to get situated for the night. A few minutes later, Luke Corrine and their daughter Charlotte joined us for marshmallows and to have a good time by the fire and that’s how we ended our night.

The following morning Andy and Benda took off to the hoodoos to see the sunrise, I really wanted to go but my body said (not today) and I decided to sleep in. Sleeping in with a 22-month old means up by 7:00am if not earlier so Abby and I took our chances and we slept in. Andy and Brenda came back to the campsite satisfied from their early visit to the hoodoos and got some sick shots of the sunrise. It was unfortunate that Andy and Brenda could only visit us for such a small period of time but the point is that they made it and we had a blast with them. Just like that our dearest friends went back home to Colorado.

Luke, Corrine & Charlotte wanted to hike early that morning so we all prepped up and drove to the Bryce Canyon Lodge and once we parked and chatted for a bit we all parted ways momentarily. The Wyma’s (Luke, Corrine and Charlotte’s last name) went for a hike while we got breakfast at the lodge since we had hiked the hoodoos the day before. Unfortunately, Abby, Eyra and I arrived to the restaurant 3 minutes late since the lodge’s restaurant stopped serving breakfast at 10:00am and lunch was not available until 11:30am, so here we were trying to kill some time. Well… We visited the mules and Eyra had a blast, Abby enjoyed being a dork while playing lava with the median in the bike trail, we payed a visit to the store at the lodge, got a few souvenirs and went back to the car to drop off all of the stuff we bought and headed once again back to the rim and looked into the amazing view the hoodoos had to offer.

Killing time at Bryce Canyon was not hard at all and in a blink of an eye, Abby, Eyra and I were sitting at the dining table at the restaurant waiting for our food. Eyra was passed out until the we got our food served. Her ninja smelling skills kicked in and we enjoyed some awesome lunch. 45 minutes later we met with the Wyma’s and headed to our next destination that we did not plan to go to in the first place but since it was on the way we decided to give it a go. They really had to twist our arms for us to go. On our way to this mystery location we saw a killer VW bus with an amazing Harley Davidson bike. I have to say, we saw the craziest vehicles on this trip, some cars had to improvise the way packing was done and others relied on the owner’s wallet with million-dollar RV’s.  What was our next destination?

Please check the picture below for details and leave a comment if you know the location.

IMG_9301

To be continued…

 

 

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