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Published: August 25th 2006
On the Trail in Bryce Canyon
Steve, our trail guide, was terrific
Day 14 - August 18, 2006
It was very hard to get out of bed so early today (6:30am), but when we got over to Bryce Canyon Lodge, and then to the horse corral, we got very excited. The cowboys (chaps and all) were very careful in pairing us up with the "right" horse. (Of course only Scott and Austin had horses, the rest of us mules. Mules are a mix of a horse and donkey. They are also sterile, but extremely surefooted.) Steve, our trail guide, assured us that only those animals that wouldn't
step off the side of the mountain were chosen for these trips. I'm sure I don't know why (it certainly wasn't warranted), but my mule Tonya REALLY
liked going near the edge of the trail. This was really scary until I was so tired that I didn't care any more (about 2 hours into the ride). The ride lasted about 3.5 hours. Tonya also apparently ate something bad yesterday because she gave off copious amounts of gas all
the time! Maybe that's why Krysten's mule, Chubby, who was directly behind me, (definitely a single-file-type ride), kept WAY back the entire ride. Chubby was definitely the right
This tree is over 1,000 years old
mule for Krysten (who can be timid at times). Chubby was slow the entire ride, Krysten was constantly encouraging him to move. But at the very end, about the last 10-15 minutes, Chubby got tired and decided to start cutting corners. This was really intimidating for Krysten.
Austin's horse, Chief, was really a great horse. Chief was SWEET, according to Austin. One kick would not make Chief do anything, two kicks would make him go faster, and three kicks would make him go "full gallop". Austin would start bouncing up and down.
Scott's horse, Hatchet, was very well-behaved the entire time. Robert's mule, Fester, was very feisty. Fester and Robert actually were much alike in temperament. They both are lively, daring, feisty, lots of attitude, and impatient. They also have inborn desires to do insane activities (like taking off the trail completely). Fester (or Uncle Fester, as Scott called him) once took Robert off into a completely different direction. Even Robert was taken aback and said "Whoa, Fester! What are you doing?" Fester went up a hill (away from the trail), jumped a log, and down the hill, before rejoining the others on the trail. Robert was very
Hoodoos - The Chess Pieces
Bryce Canyon is known for it's Hoodoo formations
proud of his mule!
Bryce Canyon is amazing (I'm just about out of descriptive words). The native Indians who lived in the area believed that the Coyote God turned people into stone if they invaded the sacred ground of the canyon. All of these stone formations are known as hoodoos. These formations have one or more names, and Steve described the stories behind them.
Eighty percent of the trees in Bryce Canyon are Ponderosa Pines. We saw several Bristlecone Pine Trees, which were about 1,000 years old. And some of them looked like they had been thru a lot too. We also saw Mormon tea. Most trees in the canyon areas are very small, even when fully mature. We also saw a beautiful fox.
Taking the horse ride is about the only way to see most of the canyon without killing yourself hiking. Steve, our guide was very personable and really engaged Austin during the ride with jokes and pointing out different things on the trail (like lizards). We saw the fox at the beginning of the ride. There are prairie dogs here in the meadows. (They were re-introduced into the Canyon). We also saw a small
Riding on the Edge
The animals really like the edge of the trail
woodpecker after the ride.
Afterwards, we went to the showers. And then immediately washed our clothes. We were sore, but I am sure it will be worse tomorrow. Steve assured us our "special momentos" will be with us for at least 3 days. (I'm glad we brought the ibuprofen!)
We also visited the Visitor center and bought some souvenirs. While there, the clerk, Alayse (pronounced "a lease"), asked where we were from because she had the same last name. We don't often meet people with the same last name, so I asked her if her family had been here long. She replied that her husband's family had come here in the 1800's as part of the Mormon migration and settlement of Utah. (And there are a lot of Mormons here, our trail guide was Mormon as well - 10 kids and 16 grandkids). Our guide on the Arches hike was also Mormon.
We ended the evening watching the sunset, then watching the movie RV. The part about the awning is true. So much so that B&B RV has used zip ties to attach the awning to the RV semi-permanently. They warned us not to use it. (9
Everything in the canyon has one or more names
out of 10 people ruin the awning, even with short rental). Robin Williams was right when he said that time with the family was priceless. There is a lot of family interaction, not all of it as cordial as we'd like it to be. It is especially hard on the teenagers to be in such close quarters. Austin was thrilled when we picked up the RV and is still thrilled with traveling in it. The teenagers are not so enthralled. I just hope we can make it two more weeks without leaving one or two at the roadside.
Tip of the day: Make sure you go on the morning ride, so you can use the rest of the day to recuperate.
Tip 2: To save time recuperating, request the padded saddles.
Tot: 2.167s; Tpl: 0.057s; cc: 12; qc: 27; dbt: 0.0294s; 2; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.3mb