Gypsy's Travels

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Travels With Abs - Bryce National Park 7/3/2009

We had a very comfortable stay at Ruby's Inn, just outside Bryce, for 2 nights. It was almost a small city in itself, yet without a hint of what was waiting for us at the park. We went by coach to the park, but the Bryce Shuttle also makes the trip from Ruby's Inn.
Since it is not a great distance from Zion to Bryce, I expected the parks to be very similar. What a surprise when we burst upon the glory that is Bryce. The erosion in Bryce differs from that in Zion to form very different terrain.
The rocks are similar in color to Zion, but the formations are quite different. Bryce was our introduction to hoodoos.
We began our morning with a 2 mile hike beginning at the far end of the Rim Trail, progressing to Inspiration Point. It was a wise choice since the trail seemed to be downhill hiking in our chosen direction. Those of us who live at sea level have to struggle just a little at those higher altitudes.
The hike was fairly easy and there were plenty of stops to allow us to exclaim about the view and to benefit from Darrell's learned guidance on flora and fauna.

After lunch, we headed to the corral for an hour of horseback riding. The top wrangler checked us out and decided which horses would be suitable. We walked over to the cowboys who found the horse, then helped each person mount, and gave instructions on handling. Abs rode "Goozeberry," a mule that claimed her heart immediately. The wrangler told me I was to ride "Winnie," so I duly reported my message. No one knew which horse that was and I began to wonder. Back up the chain of command, the word came down that it was "Queenie." Those Utah accents will get you every time. "Queenie' was a tall horse. I felt like a contortionist as I tried to get my foot in the stirrup that hung about waist high.
The trail began as a flat and easy stretch of path leading toward a grove of trees, then the cowboy leader brought the group to a stop.
"We will be climbing the trail. Give your horse his head and he will take you along. He has done this a whole lot more than you have, so trust him." This speech was just a little ominous.
Not only had we been placed on the best horse for us, the horses had been lined up in a particular way. I discovered the horse in front of me lagged behind a lot, so "Queenie," who kept her nose resting on the forward horse's rump, would nip him every once in a while to speed him up.
The flat trail quickly turned to a steep climb with a drop-off alternately on the right and left sides. The horses and mules stayed to the drop-off side because the trail was softer there. I trusted the animal, although I don't know how she could see where her feet were going, but I did not trust the trail not to give way and send us crashing down the hill.
Abs, who claims to be afraid of heights, just talked and looked around at the scenery.
"Weren't you frightened?" I asked her later.
"No," she said. "I just let go of the reins and let the mule have its head like they told us to do. It was FUN!"The ride was fun, and I managed to snap a few photos as I bounced along. I think the animals had been saving everything up for one particular area on the trail, near a switchback. Almost every one of them made a contribution to Horse Latrine Pool (my name for it, not theirs).
We had a nice ride and survived thunder and lightening without mishap or rain. An hour later we were dismounting back in the corral and congratulating each other on our, much improved, horseback riding skills.

We headed back to the Ruby's Inn for dinner, swimming, and an early bedtime.


  1. Cindy Thompson16 July, 2009 21:03

    Beautiful photos. i saw the Bryce ride also on pbs on the horse travel show Equitrekking. they did Antelope island, UT as well. if you're in the area, you may want to consider that one too.

  2. I seem to remember being at both places as a kid, many years ago.

  3. Is she over wanting to be a mule farmer? I saw a mule farm or something like that on the side of the freeway (strange location) here. Maybe we will need to check it out once she gets here.

  4. Great post, I truly appreciate it. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. While riding a horse is fun, we mustn't forget about the potential hazards. Discover several tips to make your next horse ride safer, and by extension, more enjoyable.

    Horse Rides Zion National Park


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