June 8, 2016 – Bryce Canyon NP Part 2

I am really looking forward to this mini-trip to Bryce Canyon National Park. It ranks near the top of my favorite places to visit.  We leave St. George early and plan to stop for breakfast in Cedar City. I figure a couple of stops along the way will make the trip easier for everyone.

Our breakfast is at the All-American Diner. Although Nathan and Sam are looking forward to a waffle somewhere, they are won over by the French toast fingers. All the breakfasts are pretty filling and I am confident that we will make it to Bryce and be able to take a hike without starving! ( I do have jelly sandwiches along for just in case.)

Mary, Sam, Jonathan, and Nathan at the All-American Diner, Cedar City, UT
Mary, Sam, Jonathan, and Nathan at the All-American Diner, Cedar City, UT

The rest of our ride is a scenic drive with views of Cedar Breaks National Monument and a climb up to over 9700 feet. Nathan is handling the GPS and reports our exact elevation. At the summit with patches of snow still visible we get out to take in the view back towards Zion NP.

Stretching our legs at 9700 ft. Elevation
Stretching our legs at 9700 ft. elevation

We reach Bryce NP shortly before noon and park at the Best Western Ruby’s Inn. We have decided to take the bus into the park as we know from experience that there is very limited parking. Our bus drops us off at Sunset Point.

We will begin our hike at Sunset Point and do the Navajo Loop
We will begin our hike at Sunset Point and do the Navajo Loop

We walk out to the canyon edge and are overwhelmed by the beautiful scenery. The hoodoos look like sand castles and everywhere the colors are pink, orange, and ivory.

Nathan and Sam are pretty impressed with the view
Nathan and Sam are pretty impressed with the view
Jonathan is, too!
Jonathan is, too!
Thor's Hammer formation
Thor’s Hammer formation

We begin our hike down into the canyon. It is pretty hard for me with my gimpy knee but I am game. Nathan and Sam are like mountain goats having no trouble with the terrain at all. Occasionally everyone needs to stop to let Beeba catch up.

Mary, Jon, Nathan, and Sam on the way down into the canyon
Mary, Jon, Nathan, and Sam on the way down into the canyon

It is pretty hot and the air is thin so we make sure everyone stays well-hydrated. Finally we get to the bottom of the canyon – and turn right to start the trek back up.  For some reason I thought this would be easier. It is easier on my knee but the steepness and the thin air are taking its toll.  Jonathan, Nathan, and Sam scamper back up to the top but it takes Zayde and Beeba a long time and lots of rests to make it to the canyon rim.  There were times when I wasn’t sure whether I would make it!

Cozy cave and a break from the sun
Cozy cave and a break from the sun

We check into Ruby’s Inn and Jonathan and the boys go in search of lunch.  I need a little sit down for a while. Later they go swimming and we take a nap.

Big goings-on tonight, a rodeo! We head across the street to the Ruby’s Inn Rodeo and get ready to watch some roping, barrel slalom, bull riding and bronco riding.  We discover pretty quickly that rodeos are 8 seconds of terrifying action and then 10 minutes of nothing happening.  One bull rider gets kicked in the head. We decide we’ve had enough.

Rodeo!
Rodeo!

Nathan and Sam go to the gift shop to pick out a souvenir.  Sam immediately picks out the most expensive thing in the shop. They are 5 foot matching geodes which are $15,000!  Luckily he is just as happy with a much smaller geode.  Nathan selects polished rocks.

It has been an excellent day and everyone sleeps well.

Part 3 – Zion NP and brunch at Mesa Grill

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