Bryce Canyon

I really wanted to get up at the crack of dawn and get to Bryce Canyon for sunrise, and I was just too pooped to be mad at myself that I didn’t get out of bed.  I’m placing self care over getting the shot…and I can buy a postcard with the perfect shot if I really want to!  We did get up at a decent hour, and our campground host was gracious enough to grant us a late checkout so we could go explore the park without worry of time constraints.

You drive through Dixie National Forest on your way into Bryce Canyon, but we didn’t stop to hit them up for a Junior Ranger badge due to time constraints.  We weren’t planning to do much hiking at Bryce Canyon.  I thought we’d hit the visitor center, do the scenic drive and was excited to check out the hoodoos!

I didn’t know that they’d be having a Geology Festival, which was a happy circumstance!  They had a blast learning about tectonic plates with cookies, making their own button, archeology plastering with play-doh, Lily had her face painted, and they excavated fossils and got replicas to keep!  Even Andy and I got in on the fun, getting tattoos and learning about the different parks in Utah.

They also went “caving”, complete with a helmet with a lamp and earned their Junior Ranger badge from Grand Canyon Parashant Monument.  We aren’t able to visit there (it’s more rustic than we can manage with the camper), so it was super to learn about it!  And, they had a really funny Sasquatch message about National Parks…”Leave No Trace: Bigfoot’s Been Doing It For Years!”

All day, I had the Labyrinth in my head…David Bowie singing, “The power of voodoo – Who do? You do! Remind me of the babe”!  Mountain driving (cliffs and major elevation changes) is not my favorite, especially in a storm but it was more of a show than a downpour so we made it through most of the park.  The rock formations were truly magnificent, and I’m glad we took the time to see them.

We did, however spend more time than planned.  After stopping off at one of the shops on our way out in hunt for pressed pennies, it was nearly dinner time!  We got back to camp, heated up leftovers and packed up.  We didn’t have much of a plan for campgrounds, as we thought we’d do the North Rim (and the campgrounds are booked) so we are winging it as to where we will stay tonight!

Andy wasn’t feeling well, so I was doing the driving today.  We headed out toward the Grand Canyon to see how much ground we could cover, knowing it was already evening and about a 5 hour drive.  Our path took us past the Vermillion Cliffs.  It was truly breathtaking…such an open expanse, and nearing the end of the day, the sun made the color in the cliffs so intense!  After getting through the white knuckle mountain area, it flattened out to a straight road along the plain that seemed to go on forever.  The cliffs were off to the side, and the sun was peeking out behind the camper behind me.  The scene is frozen in my mind, and at that moment I didn’t have much of another thought in my mind!

Soon, however…it started getting dark.  We were heading to Horseshoe Bend and sunset was happening whether we made it there or not.  We arrived in time to hike down at dusk.  I was a bit bummed to miss the photo op, but glad we were able to see it.  It was also a full moon, but it had risen into the sky before we could climb the hill back to see it crest the horizon!  Andy was still a bit peaked, and we had to continue on to find a place to park for the night.

We drove toward Cameron, Arizona and figured that might be a good base camp for a few days.  I’m not a fan of driving through the mountains pulling a camper at night, but we survived.  The road leveled out a bit and seemed to go on forever with no signs of civilization.  We had no signal to look ahead for campsites.  We stopped off at a gas station along the way to top off, and it was a bit sketchy.  The stop rattled both Andy and I and had me praying to get us to our destination safely!

We finally pulled into Cameron Trading Post and checked in with the night security.  The RV grounds was a gravel area with concrete islands for hookup, and it took us a bit of finagling to get leveled and hooked up where we could put the slide out and park the Suburban next to us.  There were no amenities, we had no cell signal or WiFi, so we agreed that we’d sleep in, rest up and find another place in Flagstaff in the morning.  I was grateful to be done driving and have a place to call it a night!

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