Saturday, June 13, 2015

Red, red rocks

(Due to spotty wifi, I couldn't get the pictures to upload, but there are some over on our Facebook pages.)
After a few days of having extremely limited wifi and cell phone connection, we finally have good enough wifi to do a blog post (ironically, or perhaps appropriately, in the least scenic campground we’ve stayed in yet, behind the Best Western just outside of Bryce Canyon).

We left Mountain Home for Red Canyon, with a stop at the world’s first Atomic energy plant, just outside of Atomic City, Idaho. It was a long day of driving, but the kids were troopers, and never complained once—they’ve been awesome travel companions.

We spent a night at a gorgeous campground in the heart of Red Canyon. What’s really fabulous about the area is there’s a relatively flat, paved, long bike path that runs along the highway and leads to numerous hiking trails. When we got there, we rode over to the visitors’ centre, then to the start of a hiking trail and went for a short walk before it started to rain just a bit. It rained most of the evening, which made us a bit nervous, considering one of our biggest fears was that it was going to be unbearably hot the whole time.

The next morning, we got up and went for another hike up a trail that started at our campground. It led to the top of a hill that gave us an amazing view of the whole Red Canyon area. With an invigorating morning hike done, we drove the 20 or so minutes to Bryce Canyon, set up camp at the famous Ruby’s Inn, and booked a horseback ride for the afternoon. When we booked it, I mistakenly thought it was for Bryce Canyon, when it was actually for Red Canyon, but we decided to go with it anyway.

I’m glad we did. The horseback ride is probably my favourite thing we’ve done so far on this trip. The weather was sunny, but with a cool, refreshing breeze. Our horses, Warpaint (Jaxon’s), Target (Aiden’s), Frosty (Gerry’s) and Buddy (mine) were mostly content to meander along, but if there was space between them and the horse in front, they’d break into a quicker trot to close the gap. We spent about three hours blissfully trotting along, enjoying the vibrant red hoodoos jutting out all around us, the smooth, exaggeratedly rounded hoodoos and spires reminding us of a scene out of The Flintstones.

This morning, we got up early and got the free shuttle bus from our campground to Bryce Canyon Park. After a stop at the visitor’s centre, we settled on doing the Navajo Loop trail, which took us to the canyon floor and back up. Red Canyon was gorgeous, but you know those paintings you see of red and white spires and hoodoos jutting up from canyons? That’s what Bryce Canyon is.

Just as we were finishing up our hike, we started to hear thunder, so we made sure to catch the next shuttle back to the campground, just in time for lunch.

We’ve settled into a nice routine: hiking, biking or some sort of activity to start the day, then driving or playing board games in the afternoon, when it tends to be hottest (or raining). So far, the rain hasn’t stopped us from doing anything, and has mostly just been refreshing.

Last night, when we were in the hot tub (yes, last night’s campsite was awesome, especially after a horseback ride), we found out that school has been out here since last week, which was earlier than we expected. We thought we had a couple of weeks left when we didn’t really need to worry about reservations, but are realizing that’s not quite the case. We are booked for tomorrow and the next night at Zion National Park, then have laid out a rough itinerary past that.




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