First off, thanks you guys for making me feel better about the Amazon stuff. I LOVE AMAZON, with or without Prime, and I'm glad to know I'm not alone. :)
Only two more Zion posts. Hey, lookie there, it's only taken me forever. Wednesday morning, we stopped at Cafe Soleil for breakfast and headed north in the dark dawn to Bryce Canyon.
As we were leaving the park, we saw a small herd of deer. I was so intrigued by the deer inside the park. They had HUGE ears and little smidgens of tails. I had never seen that kind before. Come to find out, they were called mule deer, which makes sense. This herd we saw on the side of the road was the white-tailed deer that I'm used to seeing.
No deer were harmed that day. Everybody stopped while everybody else made up their minds which side of the road they wanted to be on.
We made it to Bryce pretty early...it's only about an hour and a half from Zion. But, it's a completely different canyon. I mean, of course it's a different canyon, but it looks nothing like Zion. It looks like a fairytale land or something from one of the original Star Trek episodes. It's fascinating and beautiful and very orange.
We had about three hours to do a hike and decided to combine two hikes to see as much of the canyon on foot as we could before our horse ride. We started down a series of switchbacks into a small slot canyon called Wall Street.
Looking back up. In Zion, you're always hiking from the canyon floor up and then back down. In Bryce, you start at the rim of the canyon and hike down and then back up.
My Hercules. I'm super gullible and he goes, "Oh my gosh, it's moving!" And I'm like, "WHAT?! ARE YOU SERIOUS?!"
The canyon gave way to a fairly lush valley.
There were a lot of trees like this. No disease or fire. They were struck by lightning. The iron in the rock attracts it. The park is basically closed during major storms because apparently, the lightning storms are insane.
We came to an area where people had built their own little rock statues.
So, David added one for us.
The far left hoodoo is the Queen.
Hoodoos are the unique rock formations caused by wind and water erosion in the sandstone. It's different from that of Zion or the Grand Canyon. The word "hoodoo" is a Native American word (I forget which tribe) that means "standing man." The Indians that lived around the canyon believed that if you walked into the canyon, you would be turned into a pillar of stone and added to the canyon's "garden." That is why there are no Indian artifacts inside Bryce Canyon.
Out of the hoodoo section, it turns into rolling hills of large pebbles.
We finished the hike earlier than I thought we would, so we headed up to the Bryce Lodge (which was beautiful...I'd love to stay there sometime), shopped in the gift store, and ate lunch in the dining room. The lunch was fantastic! Not everyone who dined near us agreed. There was this group beside us, the ringleader was a lady with hair as black as a raven's heart. When you first walk into the dining room, there was a HUGE sign that said "Taco Bar Special." The whole table ordered "the salad bar." The waiter said to help themselves whenever they were ready and they all went up as a group and all came back within 2 minutes as a group.
"Well, I never. That was the most pitiful salad bar I've ever seen. I heard this place was good, but it's not."
"I agree. That iceberg lettuce was just about shredded beyond recognition. And all they had were tomatoes, some big chips, cheese, and meat. That's disgraceful."
"I'm calling the waiter over. I'm going to have to order something off the menu. I can't eat that. I don't know...I guess it's just that I'm used to fancy lettuces like romaine or radicchio or arugula."
IT'S A TACO BAR!!
Anyways. After OUR very delicious lunch, we walked a short ways to the horse corral. YAY! Horsies!! I was paired with the sweetest horse there ever was...her name was Sammy.
I'm so happy!
These pictures are mind-blowingly out of order. David took half with the phone and I took the other half with the regular camera. There were 12 people on our ride...10 tourists and 2 cowboys. The cowboys were Cory and Casey. I'm not a huge "trail ride" fan. I like open range riding like in Colorado, but #1. this was not your usual trail ride and #2. I'd much rather be on a trail in a canyon. It was similar to the trails in Zion. Very narrow, lots of switchbacks, right on the edge. And the horses loooooooved to walk on the outermost edges of the trail. It was a little nerve-wracking at times. I mean, those horses know what they're doing...but still. Once you got into the valley, it was less stressful.
We had JUST eaten lunch and I drank a ton of water and even though I went potty right before we saddled up, about an hour in, after mucho bouncing, I had to go. Casey's holding my horse while I trotted into the woods behind a bush.
See the guy way up ahead of Casey...that's how close the horses would be to the edge. And this was one of the more slopey parts. I didn't take pictures during the steep parts, just in case I needed both hands to save myself from being crushed by an equine.
Halfway through, we took a pit stop, let the horses drink some water, and mounted up again.
The Wall of Windows
The Chess Set
David's horse's name was Juaquino. He was not a happy camper. He was just mean mean mean....always trying to bite Sammy's rear. They got him from Mexico along with a few others and said they had to fight for their food there at the ranch. So sad. That's why he was so grouchy. But he was so pretty.
If ever a horse's ears are back like this, leave him alone. You know the poison ivy rhyme..."leaves of three, let them be." There's one for horses, too. "Ears laid back, he will kick you in the face."
Hehe...Juaquino was so mad. DON'T TOUCH ME!
This was the Bryce Amphitheater. Across the way is the Silent City.
Leaving the hoodoos and getting back into the rolling hills.
This is the Bristlecone Pine...the oldest trees. They're not very big, but they are oooooold. They can live longer than any other organism on Earth. The oldest tree is a Bristlecone, duh, and is 4,900 years old in California. These trees only grow in a few states, including Utah, obviously. There are some related species around the world.
The little odd-shaped window was supposed to be the Bryce Naked Lady, but I never saw it.
That was a fabulous trip to Bryce. We had such a good time! My knees and fanny were kicking me in the, well, fanny for doing that to them, but it was worth it. We headed on back home and made it back in time to pick up our gear for the next day's Narrows excursion.
Many bugs lost their lives that week for the sake of our vacation.