Flash forward 26 years…
I decided to take my girls to Bryce Canyon for a little overnight camping trip yesterday. It was a little spur-of-the-moment decision. We packed the car with an overnight bag, our small tent, sleeping bags, pillows, and a small cooler full of food that I didn’t want to spoil at home in the refrigerator, and we were off!
I wasn’t sure if we would be able to get a camping spot. With it being a National Park, all of the campsites available for reservation were taken long ago. But they do have about 20 walk-up sites available, so we took a chance. We got to the park at about 1:00 PM and fortunately we were able to snag a site! The camp host told me that I was so lucky that I should go buy a lottery ticket. (It was a Wednesday, which helped, I’m sure.) So I guess, in future, I should make sure we get there earlier in the day!
We pitched our tent to make sure no one else would try to steal our spot, strapped on our water packs, put on our hiking shoes, and hopped on the shuttle to go check things out!
Now… Road tripping with kids isn’t always easy; then to add in hiking?? I’ve found that I have to be pretty careful when choosing what hikes to attempt. My older daughter would take on any Bear Grylls-level experience right now, but my younger daughter could get half a mile into a zero-grade elevation hike and act like she’s going to die at any moment. So we first decided to tackle a small hike between two lookout points. It was a hike along the Rim Trail between Sunset Point and Sunrise Point. It was only about .7 miles, a very agreeable distance for everyone. On a regular walk, it would only take me a small handful of minutes to walk that far. But when you are with your kids and everyone want to stop every twenty feet to take a picture, watch a squirrel, or stand in the shade for a moment, it takes far longer… By the time we got to Sunrise Point, it had been probably close to forty minutes.
Sunrise Point was where we started our second hike. My plan was to take the Navajo Loop, then connect with Queen’s Trail for a total of about 2.9 miles. I knew we could do it. However, Katelyn wasn’t about to agree with me. She was very hesitant. Though I knew that she had the ability to hike that distance, I also knew if I tried to force her along, it would end up being a negative experience for all of us.
My intent in road tripping with my girls is to create positive, happy and memorable moments…
So we opted instead to take the Navajo Loop all the way around, which is a 1.3 mile hike. Here are a few pics:
Now, I’m certainly not someone you would look at and instantly assume that I must work out all the time. I am an active person, but I could certainly stand to “lose a few” in order to make hiking a little easier on myself. That being said, I will say that the hike was FANTASTIC until the last few switchbacks getting back out of the canyon. It was HARD, but so worth it! We saw people of all shapes and sizes, all ages, and many nationalities on this hike. It was a really neat experience.
After this hike, we were ready to head back to our campsite and rest! We took the shuttle bus back to our campground and realized that fires were allowed!! (Utah has had some major fire restrictions this summer, so we didn’t think we were going to be able to have a camp fire.) So, we hopped in the car and ran to the general store to snag a bundle of firewood and a lighter. We also grabbed some marshmallows, of course!
The rest of the night was spent playing Uno, eating, roasting marshmallows over the campfire and getting ready for a [good?] night’s sleep on the HARD ground. I won’t lie… In each of the hundreds of moments I woke up during the night uncomfortable, I wished I had remembered my little air mattress. Lesson learned!
We’re home now, and I’m going to go take a nap! I’m exhausted, but very pleased with how things all turned out.
Our conclusion? Bryce Canyon was awesome. We only spent a day there, and we all had a blast.