As a result of this relief, as I may or may not have mentioned, we've been able to go camping! For our one year anniversary, Mike and I made the drive out to Bryce Canyon: home of the clean mountain air, towering red hoodoos, and imaginary-or-not forest bears. (I can't bear the thought of it! = bad pun).
The weather was perfect (hot in the morning, then rain showers in the afternoon), and we got to hike and explore all day, then come back to our tent site and cook dinner, s'mores, and rice-crispy-treats at night. Our campground, Red Canyon, was only 15 minutes outside of the park and nestled next to some quaint formations. It was an absolutely gorgeous four day mini vacation.
Day 1: I was overjoyed to get settled in, as you can see in this picture, and despite a little sky perspiration, we started to make pita pizzas for a cozy dinner.
Day 2: We made the 15 minute drive into the park, which we were told was actually much less packed than previous weeks. I think we were one of maybe five American families in Bryce that weekend...
Mike commented on how nice all of the Europeans in the park smelled as they passed by in their brand new, state-of-the-art gear and ounces of perfume. Yeah, they might have turned up their noses at us squalid peasant folk in our ruddy jeans and unkempt hair, but this is our country. They can have their socialist health care, bad teeth, nickers, and 'Harry Potter' (but lets face it, where would my generation be without 'Harry Potter'? It's the one good thing to come out of Europe besides America).
Here we made our descent into the canyon. In Bryce, you start at the highest elevation and hike down through trails flanked by towering red rocks. Our favorite route was hiking half of the Navajo Loop trail down to the figure-eight of Peekaboo Loop, then back up the other side of Navajo. We didn't get to explore Queen Victoria til the next day, but it really nice to do the most extensive and most beautiful trails on the first day.
These amazing trees appeared to have been there for centuries; clinging to a sheer rock foundation and worn smooth from the elements.
Just huggin a tree
This tree could have been polished with a fine sandpaper and rubbed with olive oil for all we knew. It felt so smooth!
We hiked a gorgeous path along these rocks
This is Mike's "I made these" pose. He is master of the rocks.
Where are we? I don't know.
The tourists put this massive wall into perspective. It was a behemoth of ancient, drippy rock.
After a brief nap at camp until the rain stopped, we drove across the street and explored a little on foot at dusk.
This is what I will look like as a pregnant lady...and this is what Mike will do to show off my belly.
We met Bob the photographer, who took some great shots of us on the cliff edge, and was just a really genuine man. We made a connection and everywhere we went in the park that day we seemed to cross paths.
This little fella looked right at us and posed in different positions for 10 minutes as he waited for a morsel of our bagel. I admire his spunk. That takes patience.
On the last night of our trip, we were making rice-crispy-treats in camp and telling stories to each other when suddenly, we heard a rustling in the bush. Wheeling my flashlight from East to West, I saw nothing, but as Mike started a story again, he heard the noise too, this time coming from behind us. We waited, each second getting more and more tense and my heart beating louder in my chest. Finally, as I heard a grunt about 3 feet away, we didn't wait for a confirmation that it was the animal of our imaginations. Turning to each other and shining the light, we too yelled and grunted, backing up all the while until, safe in our car, we drove. That night, freaked out of our skin and with a spiritual prompting not to sleep at out campsite, we bedded under the neon sign of a Texico Station just five minutes outside of the park, with only a burlap bag, my sweater, and a couple of ponchos to keep us warm. We were so scared we didn't sleep much anyways that night, but what an adventure it was! We woke early enough to catch the dregs of the sunrise on our last day.