Around Christmas, one of Jeff's friends told him about a snowshoeing trip he took around Bryce canyon. I hadn't really seen it since I was a little kid, and it sounded like a great way to experience it. I imagined the bright red stone set against the snow and ice being spectacular. After he told me about it, I took advantage of a special Ruby's Inn (a huge resort right at the mouth of the canyon) was having and booked us for last Thursday and Friday night.
It was strange to see so many resorts on our way in closed up for the season, and half of the little shops around Ruby's also closed. This was also the nicest part about coming in winter. We were undisturbed by crowds, and once we got on the trails we mostly had them to ourselves.
This has been a strange winter in Utah. We had a series of storms right when my sisters came to visit from out of town, and then January and February have been mostly dry and warm. Very unusual. For a while I thought we might just be hiking instead of snowshoeing, which was OK with me. Luckily, the week right before we went, down south they got a nice big storm. We were in business.
Or so we thought. Our confirmation email mentioned renting cross country skis, snowshoes, ice skates, etc. from the resort, and I planned to figure stuff out when we got down there. But Jeff called right when we were leaving to make sure, and the front desk swore that not only didn't they rent, they didn't know of anyone nearby who did. We made an extra trip up to Outdoors Unlimited before we left to get snowshoes for the kids. Then at breakfast the next morning, noticed the placemat was advertising a "Nordic Center" for the resort. We wanted info on trails, so we asked at the front desk, and the lady there had no idea it existed. I ran back to the restaurant and brought her a placemat. "Oh yeah, at Ebenezer's" she said, which was a building across the street. We walked over there, and it was locked up tight. Jeff called again, and the next lady still knew nothing. We talked to the gas station guys that rented ATV's, they knew nothing. Jeff called again. Finally he got someone that could help us and this manager was incredulous about the whole thing. Turns out the warm weather threw off everybody, or something. Weird.
He recommended taking the resort's Nordic loop to the Fairyland rim trail.
It was lovely.
Completely had it to ourselves.
We had the kids wear their shoes to get the experience, but Jeff and I just wore spikes.
The views were as amazing as I'd hoped.
The only problem was we decided to do an out and back trip. I told the kids all morning we would go three or four hours, and I pictured in my head us hiking for a while, stopping for a snack, going again for another hour or so, taking a little rest, and just continuing on for the rest of the afternoon. One of us however, was pretty whiny the whole time, and at one point, Jeff just told him to turn around and go back. By the time I figured out what was going on, Jeff and Kai were quickly moving in opposite directions, and I just didn't feel like I could leave Kai to go by himself through the woods. Love and Logic parenting fail? Maybe. I just knew I would worry too much, although Jeff was fine with it (he was the one hiking next to him most of the time, and was the prime target for the whining). I will say I was pretty upset about having my hike cut short by a ten year old, and let him know it. Still, we got in a good hour out and another back, so it was worth doing. In case anyone wonders if we were pushing him too hard? He was moving at a nice fast clip going back, and cheerfully talked about going swimming as soon as we got there.