Day 83 - Bryce Canyon National Park - Utah (USA)

Trip Start Mar 29, 2013
Trip End Aug 17, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Utah
Thursday, June 20, 2013

Not a good night of rest. The temperature dipped to about zero degrees over night. We have all the things sussed to keep the van, and the children, cool in the extreme heat but hadn't explored how to warm it up! Its crazy as its lovely and hot in the day. Oh the trials of the RV continue. We'll be experts by the time we take it back. Sleep tanks for the parents are on empty.

We go to pack up Dylan's carry rucksack for the day to find that it's no longer in the van. Stolen or left somewhere but whichever one we are without it and totally gutted.

Thankfully we have a super day planned to lift our spirits, and droopy eyelids. We have picked a three mile walk at Bryce which is a combination of two loop walks - the Queen's Garden Trail, and the Navajo Trail. This walk claims to be the best 3 mile walk in the world. Quite a claim, and we have no idea how you judge that, but we know it won't be too shabby. The Queen's Garden Trail is marked as moderate to easy, and the Navejo as moderate to strenuous. Add a baby and toddler to the mix and we hope it doesn't make it impossible. We don't want to pass up this walk though, so we set off.

We park the RV at Sunrise Point have a quick breakfast and go. We start our descent from the viewpoint along a bumpy dusty track heading down into the hoodoos. They are even more amazing from close up. They are bright orange set against a deep blue sky, quite a sight. We have fun looking through slots, ducking through arches, and taking loads of photos. There is a good shot at every turn. We wonder if we've taken more photos at Bryce than anywhere else. The track makes a gentle descent over sloping erosional fins. Dylan is really good at spotting what he thinks the rocks are shaped like - we have a carrot, a man, and a castle, and he is pretty accurate. Another example of why travelling with a toddler helps you to see things differently.

We meet lots of lovely people on the walk who are fascinated by the children and us doing this walk. We get asked the usual about if we are Australian. One gentleman videos Dylan as he rattles off answers to his wife's questions. One couple are not so pleasant, and are really rude about the fact that Taya doesn't have a hat on. It literally blew off two seconds before we saw them, and is attached on a clip to the baby Bjorn. Oh how we wish we managed a proper response. Not a day goes by without someone making a comment about sun cream, hats, water or something else we should be doing. Amazes us that people think it's their place to comment. In 83 days of hot sunshine Taya has had rosy cheeks one evening. Other than that, each and everyone of us has been properly protected from the sun every minute of everyday, and that's no small task with little people. We'd never dream of asking someone if they had sun cream on their baby because they are very fair! As if we hadn't noticed. Crazy people were lucky to avoid the wrath of a tired mummy today.

The scenery is totally captivating and other worldly. We gasp and wow at every view and try to take in the enormous stone structures rising around us. As we reach the floor of the canyon the sights include beautiful pine trees which are dwarfed by the hoodoos.

We have bought Dylan another new water bottle, mainly because he drinks so much that on longer walks we are not able to carry enough for him in a single bottle, but also because Taya much prefers his straw cup to her sippy cup, so she now has his hand me down. He loves his big red camelbak bite valve bottle, which is huge.

Today's walk is obviously inspiring for toddlers too, and he walks and runs a lot of the flatter sections. Of the three miles we think he probably walked about half. The rest of the time he is perched up on Rich's shoulders or dancing around at Rich's feet saying that he needs a carry. The floor and rocks are all dusty and Dylan sits and falls on his bottom a few times leaving a grubby looking boy, and daddy, by the end.

We reach the section described as difficult which is called Wall Street. Gosh! You just couldn't miss this despite the uphill trek. The hoodoos close in around you. In places the 100ft walls block out the sunlight to make you feel like you are in a cave. The ascent climbs up 159 metres from the canyon floor via 30 switchbacks/ zig zags. It's steep, but incredible, and perfectly doable, despite some of the looks we get from other 'hikers'.

We reach the top at Sunset Point, then walk along the rim trail back to the start at Sunrise Point. Truly amazing walk, the best we have ever done.

Lunch in the RV and a sleep for Dylan. Taya refuses to nap for the first time ever, which prevents a family nap time. You'll be tired later little one. We drive to a supermarket we spotted to stock up. Emma is in and out in 5 minutes empty handed, there is literally no fresh produce at all. Back to the campsite shop for a much better shop. Emma lets Dylan sit on her lap whilst she drives the RV in the car park and he helps. The look of concentration on his face is priceless. Then a "no mummy you let go", not this lesson little D!

Taya pulls up to standing from sitting for the first time today.

Another sunny dinner time outside, and a very speedy bedtime for an exhausted Taya. Fairly quickly followed by Dylan. The adults are looking forward to some s'mores and an early night.

Bryce is definitely the top of the charts in terms of US National Parks for us, so far. It will take a lot of beating. Just a completely awesome spectacle. The Parks are difficult to compare, since despite being relatively close together, they have been completely different.

Tomorrow we start our journey north towards The Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park. It's about a ten hour drive (without stops) so we are breaking it in half with two nights in Salt Lake City to make it a little more palatable.
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Grandad Ian on

I believe our American cousins call this 'orrsum', and it truly is.

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