Bryce Canyon-Tower Bridge Hike

Joe and Jim at Sunrise Point before starting the hike

Joe and Jim at Sunrise Point before starting the hike

Joe, Jim and I ventured out on a hike today to Tower Bridge.  Tower Bridge looks very similar to the Tower Bridge in London.  One of the main differences is the Tower Bridge in Bryce Canyon was formed millions of years ago and is called a Hoodoo.

Hoodoos are tall skinny spires of rock that protrude from the bottom of arid basins and “broken” lands. Hoodoos are most commonly found in the High Plateaus region of the Colorado Plateau and in the Badlands regions of the Northern Great Plains. While hoodoos are scattered throughout these areas, nowhere in the world are they as abundant as in the northern section of Bryce Canyon National Park. In common usage, the difference between Hoodoos and pinnacles or spires is that hoodoos have a variable thickness often described as having a “totem pole-shaped body.” A spire, on the other hand, has a smoother profile or uniform thickness that tapers from the ground upward.  For more information visit:  Continue reading

Bryce Campsite

Here’s a couple of pictures of our site at Ruby’s Inn at Bryce Canyon.  This is the second year we’ve stayed at this campground. It is very convenient–less than a mile from the main gate, and has ultra-clean facilities.  Here’s a couple of pictures of our nicely wooded camp sites.

Aphrodite and Jims RIg rPod at Bryce

Above left is a picture of Aphrodite along with Jim’s rental rig. Thor in the foreground.  On the right is a picture of Mike & Mary’s rpod in the EXACT same site we were in last year!  Beautifully wooded and all three sites are adjacent.


Arrival at Ruby’s Inn Campground, Bryce Canyon National Park

We drove through snow, rain, wind and sleet today on our way to Bryce Canyon.  IMG_1304If you look right beyond the mirror you can catch a glimpse of one of the mountain tops that was covered in snow for this most recent spring storm.  The mountain ranges from Colorado to Bryce Canyon were quite beautiful with snow covered peaks.  We rolled into Ruby’s Inn Campground late day and finished cleaning and flushing the water lines from winter storage.

Mike, Mary and Jim were already here and had their camps set up.  There is not much happening outside today due to the weather.  They had snow, sleet, rain, snow and then repeat again.  The weather is supposed to improve tomorrow. The evening sky is quite pretty and there is a stunning glow of pink as I sit here in Aphrodite and look out our back window.

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We are settled in for the night.  Our plan tomorrow is for Jim, Joe and I to do a hike and meet up with Mike and Mary at the Bryce Canyon Lodge for lunch.  The weather looks like it is going to improve so tomorrow night we plan to cook outside and having a fire.  Keep your fingers crossed for our weather.  Until tomorrow, have a joyful day.

2015 On the Road Again

We rolled out of Grand Junction with Aphrodite after a little problem.  The first time you open the garage after the winter you keep your fingers crossed, as there are just so many moving parts in one of these trailers.  So our morning started with the discovery of no battery life.  Being the rookies we still are and needing to get the trailer lined up to Thor we proceeded to hand crack the trailer up and up and up.  After many cranks we were hitched up and did discover that as soon as the trailer is plugged into Thor you have power and the electronic jack worked.  I must say that brought a big smile to both our faces.  It is so funny how the little things make such a difference when they work as designed.  The batteries are great now after 6 hours of driving today.  We will deal with this upon our return.

Our first trip of 2015 and it is a family camping trip.  I have 3 brothers and 2 sister in laws and here is how our adventure lays out.

Mike (my oldest brother) and Mary (Michiganders)-drove out to Colorado with their R-Pod trailer last week and we had a wonderful weekend in Colorado, a typical spring weekend.  Sun, snow, sun, snow.  They pulled out Monday for Moab and met up with my youngest brother (from Las Vegas).

Jim (brother 3) rented an RV and met them in Moab on Monday.

John (second oldest) and Cheryl (also Michiganders) flew to Phoenix and picked up their RV. They have an RV at home but didn’t have the time to drive 3 days out so chose to go this path of renting.

Here is our plan:

Tonight we are in Bryce Canyon with Mike, Mary and Jim.  We are here until Sunday and then we caravan to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  I have never seen the GC so super excited would be an understatement.

We look forward to sharing this family vacation with you.  We have not vacationed together since a trip to Walt Disney World which took place many, many years ago.  It has been a year in planning.  I can’t think of a greater adventure than doing a trip with family.

Our adventure has begun and I looking forward to laughing, sharing and together time with an amazing family.  Follow us as we explore this great country and share time together.

Mt Whitney-Summit Night and the day after

The last 2 miles down from Lone Pine Lake were brutal. We were just ready to be done.  We had mentally transitioned to planning for the next few hours. We needed to break down camp because we had booked motel rooms for the night in Lone Pine at the Dow Villa Motel. A warm shower and sleeping in a bed were sounding pretty darn good. We developed our plan to pass the time, stop at the Whitney Portal store for patches and shirts, break down camp, drive to town, shower, eat, sleep.

We went into the Portal store and picked up a few souvenirs. Drove back to camp and in a very efficient manner broke down camp, loaded the car, and on to Lone Pine we drove.

Lone Pine is an interesting place. It is the site where many of the old westerns were filmed, so there is a great deal of memorabilia all over town, including a western film museum. The downtown stretches about 7 blocks and it is a clean Americana town. All the businesses are locally owned on the main street, with no chains visible. It just is the kind of town that feels good when you walk down the street.

We arrived at the Dow Villa Motel which sits right in the heart of town. You drive in and it immediately feels like the kind of place we both remember staying at as kids when we were on driving trips with our parents. A true motel with the kidney shaped pool in the center of the parking lot. The inside of the lobby is filled with pictures of John Wayne, Roy Rogers and other notable western era stars. The historic hotel was built in 1920s and the motel was added in 1959.  


The Dow Villa Motel

After a quick refresh, next on the list was dinner. Our friend Joe had been through Lone Pine on the way to Mammoth and knew exactly where we were going for dinner–Mount Whitney Restaurant. However, as we walked to dinner we stopped at the Mount Whitney Hostel and store. The store was filled with hiking stuff, Mt. Whitney t-shirts, books….. What caught our eye was a book on Mt Whitney, author–Doug Thompson (Portal Store Operator). Doug has summited over 100 times and he has written “the book” on the Whitney Zone. Of course we picked up the book because Doug had been a key part to our overall experience. He provided us with great knowledge, lore, and will forever be part of our adventure. We plan on reading the book and sharing it with others.

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Mt. Whitney Restaurant

Dinner was outstanding. How could it be anything but!  We all ordered burgers and fries, and Joe (our friend) and Ginny had sundaes for dessert. It just seemed like the perfect celebration to complete our adventure. Needless to say we crashed by 8:30.   The next morning, feeling refreshed and not too sore, we walked through town, had a nice breakfast and started our drive back to Joe and Mary’s.

Reflecting on the experience we want to acknowledge a few things.

  • We are grateful to Joe for securing the permits, having all the camping equipment and sharing it with us.   This was a lifetime adventure and we always will have Joe to thank for the day.  
  • We also will always have a sadness that we didn’t summit together. We so appreciate the selflessness Joe demonstrated by putting his own needs aside and giving us the permission to fulfill our dream. He is truly a special human being, a dear friend and the kind of person we know is a gift to have in our lives. We will never forget these few days.
  • Mary started the whole idea last winter while we were hiking up to ski the Highlands Bowl. We missed Mary on this trip, but she was with us every step of the way. She kept our bodies nourished, which was no small task. She did this all with joy. She, like Joe, is amazing. A true giver, happy to support.

We are lucky to have both Joe and Mary as part of our lives. We always look forward to sharing time together and we know there will be adventures in our future for the four of us. For now we can only say –THANK YOU to two incredible human beings. Our life is richer because of them.


Ginny, Joe, and Joe

As we close this post Joe and I are remarkably proud of our accomplishment.  We feel pretty darn good physically and this was a wonderful reminder of how being in nature gives us both great joy. We met some people during this journey who had hiked the John Muir Trail, which has gotten us thinking about what might be next for us…

Until our next adventure, thank you for joining us on this journey.

Joe and Ginny on the trail the day before the summit

Joe and Ginny on the trail the day before the summit