In Love with Bryce

With the weather being fickle, we decided to pay for two nights at a RV Park giving us the flexibility to rearrange our plans on a whim.  When the weather improved, our two-night stop to visit Bryce Canyon Country quickly turned into six nights.  And oh my gosh…. amazing!Bryce Canyon

I assure you, six nights was not enough to savor this breathtaking scenery.  If it hadn’t been for our workamp obligation in Idaho, we would’ve stayed another week.  For some reason, I just couldn’t get enough of those perplexing hoodoos or the layers of texture and colors.  Simply mesmerizing!

Where to camp?
With snow and freezing overnight temps in the forecast, we knew we wanted a site with hook-ups and chose the Red Canyon Village RV Park. It was an ok place to stay and even offers cabins as well as campsites. (restroom shown in the photo below)

Red Canyon RV Park, Panguitch, Utah
Red Canyon RV Park, Panguitch, Utah

The park is located along highway 12 just east of highway 89 and road noise can be expected.  We paid $31 a night for a full hook-up site which included cable TV. The property is owned and managed by the same company that runs the Bryce Canyon Lodge, Forever Resorts.  The location worked fine for us.  It took a Bryce Canyon national parklittle less than thirty minutes to drive to the Bryce Canyon National Park visitor center and about 10 minutes to get to the town of Panguitch, Utah.  Just a couple of minutes away was Red Canyon with some lovely hiking trails that shouldn’t be missed.

Red Canyon is also home to a national forest campground: Red Canyon Campground.  It’s basic dry camping in a wooded setting.  Although some of the sites would accommodate our size RV, we’re not fans of trees and low-lying branches, and thus this campground is not an option we personally would consider.

As we continue along highway 12 toward Bryce Canyon NP, you’ll find the Bryce Canyon Pines RV Park.  We didn’t stop in, but drove by several times.  From a distance the park looked ok nestled in the pines with dirt/gravel roads and sites.  We noticed RV’s of all sizes parked there.

Bryce CanyonRuby’s RV Park seems to be the most popular spot with its close proximity to the hoodoos, but definitely the most expensive.  This RV park is located just outside the national park boundaries which means it offers location, full amenities, and is big rig friendly.

Want to camp even closer to the hoodoos?  Bryce Canyon National Park offers two campgrounds, both with no hook-ups, dry camping only.  The majority of the sites look sloped and mounded.  There were one or two sites at the Northern Campground we liked that we would consider if available.  Sunset and Northern Campgrounds appear to be best for tents, small Class C motorhomes, pop-ups, and small travel trailers.Bryce Canyon

Boondocking – There are a bunch of places off highway 12 east of highway 63 to boondock (boondocking means dry camping on public lands – no campground or facilities).  The land is located within the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument and a free permit is required for any overnight stay.  Along highway 12 from Red Canyon to the town of Torrey, there are six visitor centers to assist you, provide permits, maps, and answer any questions.

There is also a fair amount of national forest land in the area with boondocking options and no permit needed.  Here’s a helpful post on dispersed camping.Bryce Canyon National ParkDuring those times when Al and I do boondock, after about a week we like to refresh and find a RV park with full hook-ups.  From a budgetary point of view the Paradise RV Park might be the perfect place to refresh. This somewhat basic and rustic park offers full hook-ups for $15 a night.  It’s located a few miles north of the town of Panguitch and about 30 miles from the Bryce Canyon Visitor center,  We actually did our laundry there since the Red Canyon RV Park offered one staked washer/dryer on the outside of a building.  Not ideal, especially in 32 degree weather.

Joe's MarketGroceries?
Since we were staying in the Red Canyon area, the town of Panguitch was an easy ten minute drive away.  Joe’s Market in Panguitch, Utah, is a great place to resupply.  We were impressed with the quality of fresh meats, veggies, and eggs that were reasonably priced.  Other items were a tad pricy though.

sour dough breadAcross the street from Joe’s Market is a Chevron Gas Station with a fast food place inside.  We don’t eat deep-fried fast food so I can’t help you there, but with the oven availability, the owners of the gas station bake fresh bread and rolls daily.

Our first stop at the Chevron was late one afternoon.  We filled up with gas and when we stepped inside, we noticed the hand written sign on the window noting fresh-baked sour dough bread.  When we asked about the bread, we were informed they were all sold out, but the gal behind the counter was quick to suggest placing our name on a loaf of sour dough bread for the next morning.   Yes!  It was still warm when we picked it up and perfect for our picnic lunch.  I wouldn’t normally recommend buying bread at a gas station, but this is small town America and it’s similar to enjoying a loaf of bread your mom made.

bakeryAnother place we tried was a bakery on highway 12 just east of highway 63.  The groceries and baked goods seemed a little pricy in my opinion, but we still ended up buying some fresh-baked baguettes for our sandwiches which were delicious.  And of course, hubby had to sample a blueberry turnover which received a two thumbs up as well.

One of our favorite little stops after hiking amongst the hoodoos, was stopping in at the General Store located within the national park just around the corner from the Bryce Canyon Lodge (btw – the restaurant in the lodge had a menu that was tempting, but our sandwiches made with fresh-baked bread won out).  This General Store along with a lovely picnic area is within walking distance to the Sunrise overlook and trailhead to the Queens Stewart'sGarden Trail.  After a somewhat steep hike back out of the canyon, we managed to work up a thirst.

We try to keep our soft drink intact to a minimum, but when we discovered the General Store stocks Stewart’s….. well…. there was no resisting the cream soda and orange cream.

We enjoyed this little splurge so much that when we received an impromptu email from some fellow full-time RVer’s letting us know they were in the area, I knew exactly where to meet up.  We hadn’t seen this couple in nearly two years and certainly had plenty to talk about.

Enjoying a picnic with friends at the general store was perfect.  It was awesome reconnecting, catching up, and sharing some of our favorite Bryce Canyon sites with this delightful couple.

me and Al enjoying our sodas while our friends prefer to stay behind the camera ;-)
me and Al enjoying our sodas while our friends prefer to stay behind the camera 😉

Cheers to friendships, breath-taking scenery, amazing hikes, and cold beverages.  It’s official, I’m in love with Bryce Canyon National Park and am already scheming my next visit.

Bryce loves me back. Can you see the rock heart in the center of the photo?
Bryce loves me back. Can you see the rock heart in the center of the photo?


Mt. Evans

Mt. EvansIt’s Sunday, our last day in Golden, Colorado, before heading west.  I’m not sure when I’ll visit with my daughter again, so I want to do something fun today.  Initially we were going to head back over to Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre for some more hiking and exercising, but since Al and I already got in a 45 minute hike at the park early this morning and daughter and I have already explored the park together, I opt for something different; a scenic drive.

When daughter arrives at the RV, I greet her with, “Let’s drive to the top of the Continent and take the highest paved auto road in North America”.  This is said with great excitement and enthusiasm.  With hesitation and a decided look of concern on daughter’s face, she responds, “Ooh….kaaay”.  All the while looking over my shoulder toward Al with the look of “Help me daddy”. LOL

Mt. Evans
Summit Lake on the way to the Mt. Evans summit

Ashton and I always have a great time on our adventures, and usually encounter some sort of funny situation that makes us laugh until tears stream down our face from laughter.

“So where exactly are we going, mom and why?”  “I want to go see goats….Rocky Mountain Goats to be exact.  It’ll be fun”, I respond.  I once again hear the proverbial drawn out, questioning, “Oh….kaaay”.  We pack a picnic lunch, bid farewell to Al, and hop in my little red truck.Mt. Evans

Mt. Evans
Mt. Evans scenic byway…it’s a long way down or up!

The Mount Evans scenic byway is located 60 miles west of Denver and is the highest paved road in North America.  The journey climbs over 9,000 feet in elevation and temperatures drop from 3-5 degrees for every 1,000 feet.  The weather is typically cold and windy, with an average summer time temperature around 42 degrees Fahrenheit at the summit.  During our visit today it was a balmy 56 degrees and dropping as the clouds started rolling in.

It’s common to have afternoon storms roll through in the Rocky Mountains and quite often accompanied by lightning.  This is one of the main reasons Al and I hike before noon.  Lightening around here is deadly and not to be taken lightly.

As we pull around the last hairpin turn and approach a parking spot at the summit, Ashton blurts out exuberantly, “Goats….I see goats”.  The vehicle is barely in park when she jumps out moving quickly toward these adorable mountain goats with me in quick pursuit, of course.

Rocky Mountain Goat
Rocky Mountain Goat

Rocky Mountain Goat

We spend 15 to 20 minutes hanging out with the mountain goats.  The baby was too cute for words.  They do occasionally cause traffic backups while crossing the road at their leisure.Mt. Evans

Mt. Evans
don’t loose your balance up here!

The summit parking lot sits at an elevation of 14,130 feet.  From the parking lot, we take a rugged quarter mile hike up to 14,264 feet.  Ashton and I notice a number of visitors struggling with the altitude and rocky terrain.  She and I don’t seem to have a problem.  Although I had fun teasing daughter that I was experiencing symptoms of hypoxia.  This wonderful mother can’t pass up an opportunity to share such vast knowledge with her off spring  🙄

We boulder around…… what feels like the top of the world, being careful not to take a wrong step.  The views are stunning.Mt. Evans

Mt. Evans

As we start the  drive back down the mountain, we find a place to pull off and a great spot for our picnic lunch…..lunch with a view.Mt. EvansMt. EvansMt. Evans

Ashton and I are so glad we took this day trip to the top of the continent.  Another memorable mother/daughter adventure filled with plenty of laughter…..scrapbook worthy, for sure.

I won’t lie, the drive at times did turn my knuckles white and daughter more than once politely (or maybe not so politely) asked me to please stop looking around and pay attention to the road.  The road is narrow and consists of lots of hairpin turns, sudden drop offs, and no guardrails.  This is an excursion I would highly recommend……start early and take your time.Mt. Evans

Rocky Mountain Goat

Mt. Evans

It hasn’t sunk in yet!

Wednesday morning I wake up around 5:30 a.m.   I’m feeling rested and jump out of bed.  I start the coffee….gotta have my morning Joe, ya know.  Al slowly wakes around 6:00 and notices I’m sitting in bed next to him drinking coffee in bed.  This is day five after the move; the move out of the house and into the RV.  Every morning since the move, Al and I have slept in until around 7:00 a.m…… getting in almost nine hours of sleep.  Yes, the move was exhausting and our energy has been depleted.  So the early rise this morning was definitely not the norm.

Red RocksBy 6:30 a.m. I’ve fried Al and me a couple of eggs served on English muffins, finished two cups of coffee and a small OJ.  Al’s moving in slow motion and wondering what the heck crawled up my *ss …..his words, not mine.  I want to go hiking at Red Rocks this morning.  As many times as Al and I have driven past Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, we’ve never stopped and have never attended a concert held at the park.  Click here to visit the official website.  I want to get going before it gets crowded or too hot.  I’m excited and antsy.

Red RocksAl thinks I need to slow down and reminds me we’re on RV time.  I don’t think it has sunk in just yet that I don’t have a house to return to… weeds to pull, no home maintenance, utilities, or property taxes to worry about.  We have no place we NEED to return to anytime soon.  We have no schedule!

Wow….I think to myself, “how cool!”….on that note, I hop in my little red truck leaving Al in the dust.  Well, leaving him behind in the RV anyway.  With my trusty map in hand (I’m old school and still don’t use a GPS) I head down the road a mere ten minutes and explore Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre.  It’s barely 7:30 a.m. and there’s already plenty of folks around using the amphitheater as their personal gym.

I spend the next hour and a half exploring the area.  I take some short trails here and there, but mainly focus on the amphitheater area which consists of stairs.  OMG….talk about stairs.  My gluteus maximus is certainly feeling the effects of all those stairs.

Red RocksI take in the gorgeous environment and unique structure while observing the exercising athletes.  From the south parking lot is a ramp leading up to the stadium.  The ramp is steep and I get slightly winded half way up, which was fine by me since I wanted to stop anyway.  There’s a group of guys with special mitts on their hands running up and down the ramp on all fours….. no surprise they are dripping in sweat.  I’d say, this is some serious working out!

Red Rocks
In lieu of stairs, there’s a ramp

This mornings excursion was just the inspiration I needed to get Al and me back on track.  You see, Al and I have been known to be drawn to the dark side…..eating food junk we shouldn’t during times of high stress and I’d say a major move is stressful.  Thus, our diet lately has led to the belt feeling just a tad tighter than we’d like.Red Rocks

There’s a Farmer’s Market here in Golden held once a week and it’s already on our schedule as are a few hikes at Red Rocks to get the motor going.  On that note, I’ll leave you with a few more images of Red Rocks.  Just click on any photo in the galleries to view in a larger format.  Happy trails…….