Saturday, October 4, 2014

Bryce Canyon National Park and a lesson learned…

We left the border of Utah and Nevada as we made our way into Utah. This 159 mile drive went by fast as the scenery along the drive was simply fabulous. As we neared the town of Panguitch, Utah we pulled into our next home for a week at the Paradise RV Park. I didn’t have high expectations for this park but it wowed me with its landscaping and views of the mountains to the east. Full hookups with 50 amp and only 105.00 for the week with tax included… can’t be beat anywhere near Bryce National Park!

On our first journey to Bryce National Park, about 25 miles away, we passed by a pasture with a small herd of Pronghorn (maybe the same ones Judy saw) so we stopped to admire them and of course snap a photo or two. Further down the road we passed Red Canyon on scenic byway 12 giving us a glimpse of what we are about to see.

We stopped at the visitor center to talk with a ranger and he verified the hikes I picked to do while we are here for a week. We planned to take a 3.5 mile hike this day but as we started on the trail I saw the sign to the 8.3 mile hike I wanted to do as well. So at the last minute we decided to take the 8.3 mile fairyland loop hike. We started off by hiking about 2.5 miles along the rim trail from sunrise point to fairyland point.

Then the descent began as we head down into Bryce Canyon. We dropped about 900 feet and at the end we knew we would have to climb back out of the canyon to regain that 900 feet, not something to look forward to… Now back to the Bryce Canyon… can you say stunning! other worldly! too cool for words! That is what we saw as we hiked along this trail as I hope the images in today’s blog will attest.

As we reached the bottom I assumed we would be on mostly flat ground as we hiked. Well that was not to be and we climbed up and down for the next four miles. These ascents up the hills in the canyon were steep and very tiring to climb making this already strenuous hike even more strenuous.

As we finally began our ascent up and out of Bryce Canyon we were both feeling a bit weary but knew what we had to do. The first half mile going up was tough but not too bad as we took several breaks to catch our breath. But the last half mile was tough, especially for me. It seems I may have been getting a bit dehydrated or had altitude issues and as a result I could only walk up the slope about 75 to 100 feet and had to stop as I could not catch my breath. It took us an hour to climb the last mile out of the canyon and no one was happier than me when we got back to the car.

Bryce Vanyon Natl Park 083

On the way back to our RV we stopped in Panguitch and bought two giant Gatorades. After reading on the internet while we were driving home we determined that I must have been in the early stages of dehydration as my symptoms were very similar. Could we have avoided this issue? Yes we could have as we weren’t carrying enough water for the longer hike we took. We should have stuck to our original plan and not taken the longer hike. We had plenty of food for it but not really enough water. I wasn’t too worried as I never had any dehydration issues before and I have backpacked many a mile in deserts in my youth. Well being older apparently took its toll on me this day but after downing a giant Gatorade I felt much better.  I was back to my old self about an hour and half later. take note… carry plenty of water and drink it frequently along the way in this canyon country because the steep and relentless climbs back out at the end of the day will always be there…


  1. Bryce and the Red Canyon area are some of my most favorite scenic places in this country.

  2. We, too, were surprised by how hilly it is down in the canyon. Hiking down into Bryce is not for the faint of heart. It truly is a beautiful place. Thanks for the memories and wonderful photos:)

  3. Great photos and someday we hope to make that trek.
    You are right about as we age we need more hydration than when we were younger.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  4. One thing for sure is to take enough water to hydrate yourself, it kinda sneaks up on you especially after you reach 40.

  5. Bryce is soooo gorgeous. Zion will not be the same next week. To which "old self" are you referring? What was the temp?

    1. Old self was John's old self that could hike without worry and the temp was mid to high 60's

  6. Water, water, water - very important. That hike is rated strenuous, glad you made it back up without any major problems.

  7. Glad you made it out ok! Those hikes are tough and the air is much drier there, adding to the need for more water than usual. Enjoy that nice $105 a week rate! Would love to find more of those...

  8. I'm guessing the dehydration was made worse by the altitude. We had a similar incident a few years ago in Rocky Mountain National Park on a hike. The altitude really did me in. I was fine on flat surfaces, but as soon as there was an incline, I had trouble breathing. Glad it wasn't worse. Take it easy and enjoy the views. Bryce is amazing!!

  9. We have had that same problem. When you are not that hot - you forget to drink enough. I also think the altitude makes it worse.

  10. Bryce is my favorite. We went 4 times this year. It is amazingly beautiful. We had plenty of water when we hiked but that trip back up can really do you in.

  11. Not sure we'll make it to Bryce this time but your photos make us want to go back. Too bad you aren't stopping at Cap Reef. We have a good group of hikers here.

  12. One of our favourites, great hikes and formations.