Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ride 'em, Muleboy

June 21, 2011

We farted around the cabin this morning a little and then went to Bryce Canyon. We went to the visitor’s center and watched a movie about Bryce Canyon. Usually, the entrance fee to the national park is $25, but since the first day of summer, we got in free! John very generously paid for us to take a 2-hour mule ride into Bryce Canyon. 

Canyon Trail Rides
(435) 679-8665

You could only go on the mule ride if you were 7-years-old or over and weighed 220 pounds or less. Each rider cost $50 to ride. The younger kids who couldn’t go on the ride were pretty upset, especially Charlotte. She screamed for a long time without ceasing because she wanted to ride the horsies so much. April, John, Kirsten, Gage, Lily, and Charlotte went to a couple of the lookouts and hike around a bit while they waited for us.

The rest of us saddled up on mules chosen for us by the cowboys. Collin remarked that he was surprised that there are still real live cowboys in the world today.

Ian’s mule was named Alice. She was 30 years old. Ian felt thirsty the whole time, but the ride was still awesome. His mule was led by our guide, Cole, for the entire ride.

Aidan said he almost died four times while the horse was trying to eat weeds on the edge of the cliff. His mule’s name was Lisa. She was very stubborn. Whenever a fly landed on her back she would shake it off and it was really creepy, he thought she was in shock or something. She stopped to eat about 10 times. Aidan doesn’t think they feed the mules very well because why would they be trying to eat if they had been fed well.

Ollie’s mule was named Sir Henry. He kept saying he wished he had his iPod touch and a bed. He and Aidan kept grabbing pine needles from the trees they passed and throwing them in the air.

Kendall’s mule’s name was Winchester. First she was scared then she liked it. She felt a little calmer and trusted her horse. Kendall didn’t exactly trust her horse and she felt a bit too high. Then she felt a lot better.

Emma claimed to be a born mulewoman. She said she had been horseback riding twice (I have no recollection of her ever riding). Her horse was named Priscilla and she was pretty gentle. She almost fell off a cliff, so that was pretty scary. But after a few minutes it felt like she went horseback riding every day. Priscilla was very disagreeable because she was a teenager. Emma got really scared because they’re trained to go really close to the edge of the cliff so it was pretty freaky, but she felt better after our guide, Cole, assured us that they wouldn’t drag us off the cliff.

Collin’s mule was named Dixie. He loved the views and asked our guide Cole a lot of questions. It made him want to be a cowboy until his bum started hurting.

I loved the mule ride through Bryce Canyon. I took tons of pictures, but didn’t turn my shutter speed up high enough and so some of my pictures turned out blurry. My mule, Keystone, was a big time snacker and constantly took me to the edge of the path to stretch his neck out and grab some weeds and scare the heck out of me. I felt pretty comfortable on my mule and it did follow directions if I showed him who was boss. After about an hour, my bum knee really started to hurt. We also all got a little sunburned in spite of wearing SPF 50. Some of the cool formations we saw were a hollowed out section called the naked lady of Bryce Canyon, the Queens’ Garden, Sinking Ship, Wall of Windows, and hoodoos that looked like ancient cities as far as the eye can see.  We also saw a large area in the canyon that had tons of trees that had been struck by lightening, all in the same spot. It was awesome! I can totally see why my derby wife loves horseback riding.

Cole said that he was giving us a cowboy souvenir, the soreness in our bodies for the next couple of days. One of the other guides called one of the slopes on the switchback where all the mules would stop to pee and poop “Perfume Point.” Our guide made a joke that they had been asked to prop up one of the falling rocks and as we passed by, we saw a tiny stick almost bent in half.

I was really surprised that kids as young as 7-years-old and people who had never been on a horse were allowed to go on a 2-hour ride on really steep switchbacks on a bunch of stubborn mules.

After the mule ride, we went to one of the lookouts, Bryce Point. Most of the people there were foreign. There was one guy who was riding his bike all around Bryce Canyon. He was sweaty.

We stopped for some ice cream at
Prairie Dog Gifts
Ruby's Inn
26 South Main
Bryce Canyon City, UT 84764
1(866) 866-6616 

 and to look around the shops in Brian Head that all had false fronts. I had huckleberry ice cream. There was a really cool statue of an Indian Chief with feather shaped lollipops in his head dress.

For dinner, we had pizza at:
Pizanos Pizzeria
259 South State Highway
143 Brian Head, UT 84719-8001
(435) 677-3341

 The pizza was awesome, but one of the owners was really rude and asked us to do take out instead because they were doing construction. His wife was really nice and made sure we had everything we needed. We ordered 2 large pepperoni pizzas for the kids  and John, and they ate all but two pieces. For the rest of us, we ordered a veggie pizza with olives, artichoke hearts, bell peppers, fresh tomatoes, spinach, and red onions. The crust was really crisp on the bottom and chewy on top, just how I like it.