Christmas in the canyons
This year, our Christmas trip took us to the canyons … specifically to Owl Canyon in California, Red Rock Canyon in Nevada, and Bryce Canyon in Utah.
In part this trip was a chance to test out our van and to just get away from it all. We took some time organizing and packing before we left. I was amazed at how much stuff we could fit, and how much room we had. We managed to bring along everything we needed for mountain biking, hiking, and cross-country skiing and the van still felt like it had room. It was also a great test of the solar panel charging system, which worked well.
Part of the reason to get away this year was that I was anticipating a difficult year. Mom’s birthday was December 24th. She would have been 69. I expected that to weigh on me, but somehow it did not. I think the distraction of Bryce Canyon kept me at peace. Bryce was so amazing that it kind of ruined some of the views on the trip home.
Owl Canyon is our new rest stop on the way to and from the east. It is about a 6 hour drive from home, which makes it the perfect distance for our first and last night when we travel in that direction. We had a little issue with water in the van on the way out, so we spent a little extra time in the morning drying things out and hanging out. Scott took a great picture of me eating breakfast at the picnic table. Shortly after this picture I pulled out my laptop and did some work on my dissertation.
On our second day, we had planned on staying at Red Rock Canyon just outside of Las Vegas, but the government shutdown meant that the campground was closed. We ended up finding a BLM site that was still open east of Vegas. Unfortunately it was a site that was frequented by ATVs, so we were awoken at 7:30 am by the buzzing and ATVs in the area. It looked like a great place to pull out our mountain bikes and explore. We did have a nice 45 minute ride, however, 10 minutes in I took a pretty nasty spill – going too fast down a hill and trying to get up the other side. The place where were riding was clearly above my current skill set with the bike (oops). Yesterday, I had an x-ray and it confirmed that I cracked my 6th rib – ouch. It didn’t stop me from continuing to bike and from going on a hike the following day in Bryce Canyon.
Fortunately, the state of Utah paid to have a portion of Bryce Canyon open to the public. This meant that the visitor center and the first two parking lots (Sunrise point and sunset point) were open. It worked out well because it aligned with the hike that we wanted to do. We hiked 4 miles – which given that we started at 8000 feet is quite a feat. My rib wasn’t bugging me too much at that point, although by the end of the hike I was getting unhappy about it all. We were luck, December 24 was the perfect day for the hike. I felt at peace while walking through the canyon and looking up at the spectacular views. Rather than share one picture, I’ll put the gallery in here – these are mostly photos that my husband took – no picture can really capture the awe-inspiring views.
We woke up to a white Christmas. We were both not feeling great – Scott with a cold, me with sore ribs – so mostly we hung out in our hotel room. Eventually we did get up and went for a short walk in the snow. The roads to Bryce were being plowed but were icy. Fortunately the van drove well in the snow and ice, and we as Canadians had a lot of practice driving in those conditions. Our hike turned out to be rather short that day. The blizzard like blowing snow meant that it was both cold and there were not too many views to be had along the rim trail.
Given my sore ribs and Scott’s cold, we decided to head home after our Bryce Canyon visit, rather than spending more time exploring. It was the right decision, as I had a difficult Friday with lots of pain (now I know why). After a couple of days at home and some rest and regular icing, I’m not feeling nearly as bad. I’m also hoping to spend some time working on my dissertation.
I also have decided that I’m not going to do a 2018 respective looking backward blog post. Much of 2018 sucked. Rather, I’m going to write something about 2019. Not a new years resolution post but rather setting some goals for 2019 – looking forward and deciding what things I want to do next year.