Yesterday's drive, 58 miles (93 kms).
Really pretty scenery along the way. We really like this area. Too bad it's not warmer during the winter or we would spend more time here. Even now it's a bit chilly, but for a week of beautiful hiking we'll put up with it!
Scenery along the way.
We arrived at Bryce Canyon City at around 11:00am. Not a city, in fact its hardly a town because it all centers on the tourist businesses of Ruby's Inn. But, due to some wierd law, they are actually able to be recognized as a city. Legally, it's called Bryce Canyon City. Really, it's just Ruby's Inn, and now a couple of other businesses.
Ruby's Inn owns the main hotel and general store, and the commercial campground outside of the National Park. And, much of the surrounding land.
They have very specific parking regulations for RV's. There's a brand new lot across from Ruby's Inn, and it said specifically "RV, Truck, and Car Parking". So that's where we parked.
We went across and spoke to a lady at the info booth and asked about overnight parking, and the free shuttle bus service that takes you in to the park. It's free, provided you have a park pass. But, we don't need one because this week is free National Park entry at all the U.S. National Parks in celebration of their 100th anniversary. So, riding the bus is free. Turns out that it stops right at Ruby's Inn and it runs every 10-15 minutes.
We had already researched the campgrounds inside the park. They are $30 USD ($39 CAD) per night, with no services. No thanks.
The lady in the booth says "well, we recommend that you park in our campground". Well of course you do...Ruby's Inn Campground is a business. But, she did go on to say that most of the tourist related businesses in the area don't open until next weekend and that we could probably park in one of their lots and not be disturbed.
We went back to Sherman and had some lunch, and then took the free shuttle bus into the park. We stopped at the Visitor Center and got some info on the hikes in the area. It was already afternoon, so we decided to do a short 2 mile hike (but listed as strenuous) at the far end of the canyon. We hopped back on the bus and took it down to Bryce Point.
Got off the bus, and had our first view of the canyon...
Wow...what a place!
Be warned...there could be lots of pics over the next couple of days!
Very cool scenery!
Check out this guy standing way out there!
I'm usually pretty bold about that kind of thing, and thought it would make for a neat picture. But I got half way out and decided that guy was plain crazy. Nothing but a sheer drop off either side, and gravelly rocks and only about 2 feet wide. Plus, there were gusty winds.
That's as far as I got. Brave, but not stupid.
Check out the girl sitting in the top left corner.
Now that's a view!
Notice I've got my Iceland jacket on. This is the coat I bought in England in 2012 in preparation for our October visit to Iceland. Ever since, I call it my Iceland jacket!
I've got it on because the high temperature up there at 8,300 feet was only about 51F (11C) yesterday. The chilly weather is one of the reasons the park is still pretty quiet. That's okay, I wouldn't want to experience the huge crowds in busy season.
We found the trailhead leading down into the canyon. We were going a mile down, and then turning around and a mile back up. Just a short preview of the hike we have planned for today!
Still some patches of snow around. Yes, she actually threw it at me!
Good thing I stepped out of the way just in time!
Going down into the canyon.
Can you see me by the hole through the canyon wall?
I had the GoPro going for part of the hike. Here's a short video of what it looks like when you go through that hole in the canyon wall...
Wow...we love this kind of stuff.
We made it to the cutoff where the trail meets another circular route that we'll be doing today. So we turned around and hiked back up. Funny, but after beeing a few weeks near the coast, I didn't know if the altitude would affect me. I didn't notice any difference at all, but Ruth complained of a minor headache that could be attributed to the altitude. Who knows.
Kevin, back near the top.
Ruth at the top.
We went back to the visitors center and watched a 20 minute movie about the park. Then back to Sherman and tried to decide where to overnight. I asked at one of the hotels about their parking lot, and the girl said that if I parked at Ebenezer's Restaurant we should be fine becuase it doesn't open until this Friday. Sure enough, we were okay and one other RV parked there as well after we did.
But, we've also learned of a little known Dixie National Forest boondocking spot that is located only two miles from the National Park entrance. that's where we plan on spending tonight!
Gotta go...busy day planned for today!
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