Utah: Bryce Canyon

On the long deserted stretch toward Bryce we were surprised when three Pronghorns bolted across the road in front of us. Peter swerved left, the confused Pronghorn ran right and slammed into the side of our car. I screamed the foulest of foul words and it’s nothing short of a miracle that Sage has not started running around dropping F bombs whenever she sees a animal. Somehow the word didn’t stick and fortunately we slowed down enough that both the Pronghorn and the car were ok. Well I think the Pronghorn is ok. It sauntered of into the wilderness and was only a short distance behind its friends. At the time we had no idea what the animal was and were both in shock. We found the closest pullout and drove in to catch our breath. The shock turned into tears of laughter (me) when this sign was staring at us from the side of the road.

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Perfect timing! And clearly the title of “our fastest animal” is kind of sad. Poor thing wasn’t fast enough! Sage was confused by the event so I explained to her that the animal who hit our car was kind of like a big goat. For the remainder of the trip Sage kept yelling, “Bi-guh goht! Keep eyes open!” I’ll take that over the F bomb.

At a higher elevation of 8,000 feet Bryce was cold and deserted in early April (a good thing if you don’t like crowds!). The choices for accommodations in this area are slim and because of the low temperatures we were happy we chose a hotel over camping. Usually camping is our first choice especially because we love our pop-up trailer. But because of the inclement weather and how many places we wanted to see, we decided hotels were less of a hassle than setting up and breaking down the tent trailer every day. We stayed at the Best Western Plus Bryce Canyon, which is a large and cozy hotel minutes outside the park. They have a huge breakfast buffet, but they don’t have an on site restaurant for lunch or dinner. The evening we arrived we ate sandwiches from the grocery store in Cedar City, got in the Jacuzzi and went to bed. The next morning we woke up to a small snowstorm and were excited about the pictures we could get of the hoodoos dusted in white. We drove the length of the Bryce canyon road stopping at most of the lookouts. Because of the snow the lookouts only provided us the opportunity to bolt from the car, take a picture, and hop back in. This was a nice reminder that I really hate being cold. Once the snow cleared we had a fun time getting some beautiful shots of the views!

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The skies turned blue at about the same time Sage needed a nap. Instead of heading back to the hotel, we decided to put her in the Ergo so she could nap while we got some exercise. When doing hikes under two hours, and especially when Sage needs a nap we prefer the Ergo. It weighs less and I think when Sage is pressed against her Daddy’s chest she sleeps better.

We chose to do the Queen’s Garden trail to the Navajo Loop. From the bottom of the canyon, the section leading back up to Sunset Point was closed so we made it an out and back instead of a loop. The descent into the canyon is breathtaking! You are nose to nose with the Hoodoos. The Hoodoos are like nothing I had ever seen and I immediately understood why this park holds such a stellar reputation. It was like hiking on another planet! That gorgeous descent into the canyon gets you on the way back up though. It’s steep making it both an awesome workout and a literal pain in the ass.

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Queen Victoria is up at the top of the Hoodoo (on the left) overseeing her garden

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When Sage woke up she loved hiking back up The Queen’s Garden Trail through some fun little tunnels

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Early that evening we decided to walk across the street from our hotel to the Best Western Ruby’s Inn for some indoor swimming and dinner. Now this place is a must see. The pool is fantastic and the lobby décor transports you back to 1916 when Ruby Syrett and his family established their ranch and lodge on the current hotel site. I just about died. It’s cheesy western at it’s finest. As summer approaches the hotel and small theme area across the street have horseback rides, a great playground, a rodeo, and little shops all with a distinctly western feel. We were a little early to enjoy all the area’s activities but I imagine as the temperature rises, the hotel’s immediate surroundings would be a fun place to run around and have a few laughs. The family friendly dinner buffet at Ruby’s is crazy expensive but if the idea of entrees from a New York City diner, slathered in gravy, adorned with jello, accompanied by salads from what appears to be 7Eleven and lots of coleslaw sounds yummy to you then make yourself comfortable. Did I mention it’s “all you can eat?”

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