As we drove up to Bryce Canyon, Andy was curious as to what we’d be doing there. Is it hiking? Is it just driving through? What will we see? What’s there? I told him that I reserved a spot at an RV park for the night and I knew just about nothing else.
At this point in the trip, I pretty much put faith in the National Park System that we’ll be seeing something great but I put almost no research into what we’ll do. Zion was the only park we’d been in so far that dogs were really really not allowed in. Usually we can keep him in the car, someone might have to stay back with him from time to time, but we’d still be “in the park” to see most of the cool sights.
Bryce Canyon was a treat, I’ll just tell you that. It’s described as “Bryce Amphitheater”. If you imagine in your mind that we are driving on the road that’s at the top row of the movie theater, the canyon, cliffs, hoodoos and everything else is all the seats going down to the stage. The stage would be hundreds of miles of different plateaus, levels or “grand staircase” and eventually the Grand Canyon. But just walking on the rim(at the top) you can see all these hoodoos with amazing colors of pink, red, orange, grey and whites. We walked the rim for about a mile, admiring all the hoodoos we saw below us.
Hoodoos is a new word for us-it might be for you too! We’ve figured out that it’s a Native American term for the statue like rocks scattered in the amphitheater, and it comes from a story referencing them as “canyon people” who are standing alone, in a group, and some are sitting. It’s a great term actually, and you really can visualize faces and bodies on some of them! These hoodoos were made from thousands of years of erosion, with a harder grey rock usually being at the top to give and keep its shape. A famous one is Thor’s Hammer, and another is the queen’s garden(see her riding a backward camel). See if you can pick them out here:
There is a road that leads through Bryce Canyon that comes to a dead end, with pull offs every once in a while, all giving different perspectives on the amphitheater. At one stop, we saw a large “window” or arch that was super big and just super neat!
We had 3 days in Bryce, and on day 2, I convinced Jesse to wake up early with me to see the sunset. Neither boys were interested and I wasn’t going to make them. Woody had second thoughts during the night though b/c he wrote us a note and left it on the sink telling us to wake him up! It was pretty special to see the sun rise off the hoodoos, a great memory total worth the early alarm!
On day 3, I made Andy go on a hike with me down into the canyon of the hoodoos. He’s a pretty brisk hiker and we’ve been holding him back pretty much every hike we do. I was bound to keep up with him! It was fun to be down in the tangle of the canyon and hoodoos, a different surprise at each turn. But then the trail turned back up to the rim, and that was grueling, even for Andy! I haven’t done much one on one time on this lifestyle with Andy, but this was awesome!
Our campsite was right near the entrance of the Bryce Canyon National Park and backed up to a National Forest, so there were lots of campers and rv’s with 4 wheelers and bikes. Woody really wanted to rent a 4-wheeler until he found out he was too young to drive one himself. He’s 11 going on 16 real fast! The whole area we were staying in seemed to be owned by one company, so were able to have access to the pool at the local hotel, and also use their business center. We did plenty of swimming and the boys got excellent use out of their business center. The boys had complete privacy to do their schoolwork in there, no one ever came in. (I mean, who wants to do work on vacation?!) They had access to 5 computers with fast internet and even had “mood lighting”. Southern Utah is very rural so I didn’t think we’d get this lucky. We hadn’t had computer access since San Francisco (nothing in Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Death Valley or Zion!
The uniqueness of Bryce Canyon will keep it a favorite of our families for a long time. This is one I would highly recommend, though I’m sure I’m going to say that about all of Utah’s “Mighty Five” National Parks too! (MT)