Day 54: Bryce Bryce Baby
Friday, Jul 28
Bryce canyon national park
0 mi, 0ft
Today we took a rest day in Bryce canyon national park! For parks like arches where it was hot and crowded, we coordinated to leave very early as a team, but at Bryce which is much more accessible thanks to it's shuttle and much cooler thanks to it's elevation, we didn't need to do that. Everyone left at their own pace today with most sleeping in, some biking in, some shuttling in, and a couple driving into the park. We camped at Ruby's inn which is just a little ways out of the park but on the main shuttle line. It actually got somewhat cold last night (low around 45F) which was refreshing; however, Andrew slept in the emptied van and it was so nice in there that he slept a couple hours later than anyone else (preventing the van from leaving early). With the heat of the day rapidly approaching, I wanted to hike, so I left camp around 9ish after getting tired of waiting.
I stopped briefly in the visitor center--i love national park visitor centers since they're like a one stop shop for weather, trail advice, merch, water refills, etc. Plus I think park rangers are so cool, chatting with them is always fun. Armed with a map, a water bottle, and my day bag. I shuttled a couple more stops into the park. Bryce is not a true canyon since there is no river flowing through it, but it's known for its amphitheater "canyons" containing rock formations called hoodoos. I hiked a couple miles along the rim of the amphitheater stopping at three different viewpoints--it was stunning!
Ruby's Inn has a pretty touristy feel since it's huge (like 4 different lodges, an RV park, campground, general store, information desk, etc.)but Bryce itself was gorgeous and very enjoyable. The touristy-ness also means it was easier to get food, wifi, do laundry, and the cute wild-west themed shops were fun. I even went to a rodeo Thursday night which was awesome.
After my hike, I stopped at the lodge for a water refill and ended up hanging around to read and enjoy the ambiance. The lodge was built in the 20's and is a prime example of the early park's service's natural and rustic style. I particularly like the roof which features green, wavy shingles meant to evoke the idea of swaying pine boughs.
I had an overpriced but yummy pizza for lunch at the lodge before making my way by shuttle out of the park.
The shuttle at Bryce is exceptionally convenient and all the drivers were very professional, helpful, and kind. One that I chatted with was a retired navy veteran. He and his wife moved to Utah to raise their sons and now both drive shuttles around half the year. It's been cool to meet people in all these different places around the country and hear their stories--just like our team, people come from all over!
The rest of the team got a lunch that was described to me as "cost-effective" while I did another super short hike to mossy cave. (You might be noticing by now that I have only one angle for selfies 😝)
The team then ended the day with a couple more hikes of their own while I did laundry. Feeling too tired and too dismayed at the grocery prices to cook, we picked up pizza for dinner. It's days like this that I crave a raw vegetable and some good fruit! After hot, free showers everyone was ready to crash and prepare for our next ride on Saturday.