Before Bryce …

We were on a bit of a tight schedule to get to Bryce Canyon in time for our duties to start on April 15th. I had gone back East for a visit with family over Easter and didn’t get home to Texas until the 8th. That only left us three days to get the trailer cleaned and packed. Usually that isn’t a problem, but we got “warned” about having the trailer on the street in front of our townhouse, so we had to take it back to storage and do some of the loading there.

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We took our usual route out of Texas – through Amarillo and then on to Albuquerque. We turned north out of Gallop, NM and the road was pretty remote after that. We had to take a break along the side of the road. (FYI: I took the above picture with my phone, although I cropped it afterwards.)

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Our last stop before Bryce Canyon was near the Glen Canyon Dam in Page, AZ. They even had a WalMart in Page but we opted to camp at a nice, private (former KOA) campground. (Brian and Will have worn off on us quite a bit but not enough to get Alan to readily agree to the WalMart camping.)

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The only other thing that we did in Page (besides searching, unsuccessfully, for a place to buy wine) was to hike out to see Horseshoe Bend in the Colorado River. It was the worst time to be taking pictures – late afternoon. I couldn’t get any shot of the whole horseshoe without a lot of glare. It was cool to see, though.

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Glen Canyon dam is the end of Lake Powell. We were passing it on our way out of town so we stopped at the visitor center and signed up for the tour. It was nice – we got a lot of time on the dam and took the elevator down to the Power Plant. Our cute little chickie tour guide even did a decent job explaining how electricity is generated.

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That is it for our travels, at least for now. We will be at Bryce until July 15th and then we are considering a stop at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon before heading back to Texas.

Finally!

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Finally, our first day off with some decent weather! I was definitely feeling the effects from lack of exercise. I had gotten to sew for something like 6 straight days but I was still feeling grumpy. The sewing was good but I needed to get out and get moving.

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There is a trail (not the one in the above photo) that runs from Fairyland Point to Bryce Point all along the rim of the “canyon”. Have a mentioned that Bryce Canyon isn’t really a canyon? The hoodoos are formed by erosion but not by a stream or river. Naturally acidic water has been dissolving the edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. More on the geology later.

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We hiked about 11-12 miles. It was great but we are still acclimating to 8,000+ feet of elevation.

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I was thinking that it was really hard to get a sense of scale here so I took the following picture with the hikers on the rim trail. You can can make them towards the middle on the right–hand side of the photo.

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I’ve already taken way too many pictures. I’m going to do some sorting and put some of them up in another post.

Bryce Canyon in the Snow

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Our “boss” Kevin opened Sunset Campground on the 15th but things were pretty quiet while the weather was cold. There is another couple here that we share camphost responsibilities with and they covered the first three days. We got trained and outfitted with hats, jackets, shirts and pants (at least Alan got pants – they didn’t have anything close to my size!)

Other than the training and tracking down the woman that would give us our employee car pass, we didn’t have much to do (or could do) while there was five inches of snow on the ground and freezing temperatures. We got out to the rim twice (it is only about a half-mile walk from our campsite) – once when it was still snowing and then, finally, when the sun was shining!

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It was unbelievably beautiful. I wish that we had been geared up to go down the trail but we have yet to buy any crampons. We’ve talked about it but it never really seemed worth it – before now. We still wouldn’t have been able to hike the trail in the next picture – Navajo Loop. It is one of our favorites but it washes out every winter and it hasn’t been rebuilt yet. You can just make out the switchbacks under the snow.

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After the snow was pretty much gone, we took over camphost duties while our co-hosts headed out for some repairs. It was mostly good, although I will admit that I wasn’t expecting to spend so much of my time “hassling” campers about the rules! Of course, we are just giving friendly reminders but there have been campers not paying, parking off-road, putting up tents in the vegetation, and collecting firewood – all of this and we’ve only been on-duty five days and the campground is only partly full!

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I’m hoping that the annoying parts of the camphost job will be worth it to get to enjoy this view (without the snow) all summer!

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Bryce Canyon National Park

We have made it safely to our summer destination – Bryce Canyon National Park, Sunset Campground, Camp Host Site 2! It is a beautiful campground and there is a nice loop with sites just for the camp hosts and a couple of other Park employees.

The weather was pretty nice the day we arrived and we were able to get our site fully set-up – that means mat, cooler, table cloth, and chairs. We got everything out of the truck that we had hauled from home – our bikes, my yoga board (to give me a flat surface outside), etc. That was all great until the next day when our site was looking like this:

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It was beautiful, but a little cold! Our rig held up just fine, though – toasty warm and cozy.

Since this is what most of the campsites looked like, there wasn’t a lot for the camp hosts to do:

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We took a walk over to the rim to see what the Canyon looked like in the snow. The sun wasn’t out but it was magical.

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We had some company in the campground during the storm. They didn’t seem to mind the cold weather.

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We even hung around the rim long enough to get into a snowball fight.

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More pictures of the rim in the snow to come …