Into the Canyon

We got up at 6 am to get ready do a hike down into the canyon.  We got to the visitor center and road the bus to the Kaibab Trail drop off point, since we weren’t allowed to drive there.

We headed down the trail with the intent of getting to “Ooo Aah Point”, which was about a mile down into the canyon.

There were a number of switch backs that descended down a cliff face and then we walk along the edge of the cliff. The trail was dusty and well-worn. There were several groups that were actually hiking back up as we were going down. And we had several people that passed us on the way down.

We took it slow–going at ~A~’s pace so that he could stay with us.

The cliff face that we were walking along had numerous steep drop-offs and were a bit nerve wracking to be near. Christine kept ~A~ on the inside of the trail all the way down so that he wouldn’t get too close to the edge.

We got to Ooo Aah point and it was pretty crowded and difficult to get a good view or get a chance to take pictures. That was a little frustrating. There were a number of other people that were heading further down into the canyon. You could look down and see the trail zig-zagging down the side continue on further in the canyon. I overheard someone saying that it was 9 miles down to “Skeleton point” and then another 4 to get to the bottom of the canyon.

In another life, I think it would be fun to hike all the way down.

…but we started back up towards the top.

I had ~A~ now and he was in good spirits and hiked like a trooper up to the top. He wanted me to carry him at one point, but I refused and just kept encouraging him and he made it all the way to the top on his own.

We were also thankful that the trail, for the most part, was still in the shade, so it was cool and enjoyable, rather than being hot in the direct sun.

I was really proud of ~A~ hiking the whole way (a 2 mile round trip) on his own. He was a real trooper!

After we were done, we caught the bus and went to Yuki point and then back to the visitor center. We then decided to ride the bus and transfer to the “Red” line so that we could do a little hiking along the rim.  But that didn’t turn out to be so simple because it was getting more crowded with all the people.

We did our hiking and saw several views of the canyon.  At this point, the sun had gotten hotter and it was getting more crowded at the park and we were pretty fried when we finally got back to the car.

We went out for lunch and then headed back to the hotel for a nap.

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Head South, then Turn Right When You See a Big Hole

On of the primary places that each person in our family said that they wanted to go when we went out west was: “To see the Grand Canyon.” Today was the day we headed there.

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We got up at 6 am, packed up and said “Good bye” to Bryce Canyon.

We drove down 89 south and took that the whole way. We stopped in Kanab along the way for groceries and gas. From what we could tell, there weren’t very many stores near the Grand Canyon, so we had to stock up before we got there.

We also stopped soon after crossing into Arizona, once at a scenic overlook that had a good view of Lake Powell, and soon after at a visitor’s center for the Lake Powell dam because we needed a potty break.

We turned of onto 64 and got into the Grand Canyon National Park and stopped at the first overlook to see the canyon. The place was mobbed with people.

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Then we drove to our hotel, intent on checking in. Alas, none of the rooms were ready and check-in wasn’t until 4 pm. We thought we were in Mountain Daylight time, but apparently the Grand Canyon area doesn’t change to daylight savings time, so it was 4 pm Mountain STANDARD time. Which meant we got our time bumped back another hour–3 hours behind Virginia time.

We had to burn a couple of hours, so we drove back into the Grand Canyon park and went to the visitor’s center to get some more information. There wasn’t anything there, and the Grand Canyon movie wasn’t running because the theater was out of order.

So we walked to the run and looked at the biggest hole in the ground and took some pictures.

We finally got back to our hotel. The room was small, but seemed clean.

~A~ took a late nap, so he was bouncing off the walls at 7 when we ate in the room. I took him to the pool for a little. We didn’t stay long because it was cold and crowded there.

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This is definitely the most crowded place we’ve been. More like going to an amusement park. We needed to reset our expectations and realize that we’re not the only ones that want to see a big hole in the ground.

Tomorrow we plan to get up early and go on a hike into the canyon. We’ll have to ride the shuttle to get to the trail head.

Laundry Day at Bryce Canyon

After going hard for a week and a half, we decided to take a rest day at Bryce. We still had another day before we could check in at the Grand Canyon (our reservations there were made months before). We slept in, did some reading and did some laundry.

However, Christine took the opportunity to get in trouble with the law.

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~A~ also made a new friend…

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…and went hat shopping:

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Tomorrow, we get up and go to the Grand Canyon.

Rodeo!

We had the opportunity to go to a rodeo that was across the street from our hotel.

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There was bucking bronco riding,

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bull riding,

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barrel racing,

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and sheep riding (little kids).

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The atmosphere kind of reminded me of going to a high school football game. It was fun but not as much the spectacle that I expected it to be. However, I had never been to a rodeo before, so wasn’t sure what to expect.

Hiking in Bryce Canyon

We got up early that Friday–6:20 am–to beat the crowds at Bryce Canyon. This was actually later than planned. I had planned to get up at 6 am, but overslept because we had gotten in late the night before.

We headed to Bryce Canyon and it actually was a bit cool when we started, but heated up quickly.

The canyon, itself is unusual. The hoodoo formations looked like they were made of very crumbly orange rock. The rock is easy break up into smaller pieces and it seemed that the trails that we’d be hiking on were just piles of that rock.  This actually made it a bit difficult to hike.

When we started out, we saw (and smelled) a group of horse trail riders heading off into the canyon.

We picked a trail called “Queen’s Garden” that went into the canyon. We were a bit limited as far as choosing trails that would meet the needs of the family–nothing could really be too long.

The trail was steep at times and we had to hold on tight to ~A~. He slipped several times hiking down the trail.

There were several places that they had made doorways in the rock that the trail went through.

When we got to the bottom of the canyon, we found the “queen”. There were more trees and some interesting formations.

The older boys wanted to go longer, but ~A~ was done. So Christine and the boys headed on to do another loop, while ~A~ and I headed back up the way we came. Hiking back up was a little harder and so I told ~A~ stories as we hiked to keep his mind off of the steepness of the trail, but I ended up having to carry him the last half mile of the trail–the steepest part.

We caught back up with Christine and the boys and visited several other overlooks. Each new view of the canyon was new and surprising, but everyone was getting tired, so we headed to our lunch hike.

The plan for lunch is that we’d go on a short hike called “Mossy Cave”. I pictured it as shaded and cool with cool stream nearby. It wasn’t like that at all.

The hike was longer than expected and in the direct sun. There was nowhere to sit near the Mossy cave and it was mostly blocked from getting near it–you could just look to see the cave.

We backtracked our way down the trail and ~K~ found a semi-shaded spot under some pine trees and we ate lunch there.

Afterwards, we waded in the nearby creek. The water was icy cold–probably melted snow from the mountains.

Hot and tired after lunch, we packed it in and headed back to the hotel.

Traveling to Bryce Canyon

We drove from Moab to Bryce Canyon City today. The trip wasn’t too bad–only about 5 hours or so.

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We found a picnic area to eat near a river (it just had picnic tables and pit pots, but nothing else).

When we got back in the car after lunch, it turned out that we had made a wrong turn and were heading in the wrong direction. Luckily we were only a few miles away from getting back on track.

We drove through Red Rock canyon, which was full of bright red rock.

Finally we got to Bryce Canyon.

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We checked in our hotel and got settled in. The room was bigger than most that we’ve been in.

After taking a nap, we drove to the Bryce Canyon visitor’s center and looked around, watched the movie about the park and got some information from the rangers. Then we stopped off at one of the lookout points. The view was spectacular. There were these rock pillars in rows all around the canyon (called hoodoos) and it was a spectacular view.

We tried to go to the hotel restaurant for supper, but when we got seated and looked at the prices– we felt like we were being robbed, and there really wasn’t much interesting on the menu. So we went next door to the diner and had food there. It was passable, but not great.

Christine put ~A~ to bed and the boys and I went to an astronomy program at the park. After the talk, they had 7 telescopes set up to view different planets. It was fun, but we didn’t get home until almost 11 and were very tired.

A Run in Moab

Christine and I got up this morning at 5:30 to run. We ran down main street until we got to the bike path to the north of town, about 1 mile. From there, we ran across the bridge that spanned the Colorado river.

That put us 2.5 miles out, and so we had to run back to the hotel from there.

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We got to see the sun on the canyon walls on the return trip, which was nice.

Running on Main street–not so nice, but glad to go a little father than a 3 miler.