‘Wa…Wait, Corey! COREY!’ There’s a 1000 foot drop over the side! STOP!’
I stuttered madly as I pulled back the reins as hard as I could to stop my horse from trotting over the edge.
He ignored me and promptly looked over the edge to look into Bryce Canyon stretched deep.
I leant back warily, hoping that Corey the horse wouldn’t think of flipping me off. We already had a tumultuous relationship and we were only 30 mins into the hike.
I started to sing this:
So where are we?
We were at Bryce Canyon National Park, only a stone’s throw away at 80 miles away from Zion National Park and yet Bryce Canyon was a completely different world altogether.
Let’s pick up where we left off last time.
Sleeping in a Bathroom
A loud fart suddenly jolted me awake. I took in my surroundings and the one thing that made my situation all so clear was a pair of feet shuffling through the bottom of a bathroom cubicle. There was the source of the noise.
I edged myself out of my sleeping bag and looked over at my three fellow trekkers who were also in the same situation I was in, yet asleep and oblivious to the toilet shenanigans.
So I bet you are thinking:
‘Why the hell are you sleeping in the bathroom?’
We were in Zion National Park and we had just escaped one of the coldest nights I would have experienced. Never mind we all had a fantastic outdoor hot tub experience the night before (complete with slide WHEEE!) and a lovely warm meal. We just wanted a warm night as the previous night was also absolutely freezing.
But the huge bathroom was constantly warm, somehow had a mattress in their store cupboard and seemed to be the place with the strongest Wi-Fi. So, four of us trekkers dragged our sleeping bags and slept in the changing room of the bathroom in comfort!
And it was only mere yards away if you fancied a tinkle in the night.
Probably wasn’t hygienic.
So, after a quick breakfast, we were on our way to Bryce Canyon. This is where the dream of being in the wild west could be fulfilled.
Let’s find out more about Bryce Canyon…
A Brief Overview of Bryce Canyon
Only down the road from Zion, Bryce is known for its red, orange and white colours of its rocks called ‘hoodoos’. (yes, I couldn’t stop snickering, either). Formed by frost weathering, Bryce is the highest of all canyons, even higher than Zion, at 8000 to 9000 ft.
Bryce was founded by Mormon pioneers and eventually became named due to a dude called Ebenezer (wait for it) Bryce. The area became a National Park in 1928 and currently is the least visited canyon compared to Zion and Grand Canyons thanks to its remote location.
And I’m pretty sure outlaws hid out here.
The iTrekHere Video
This time, it’s all about the Horseback riding in Bryce Canyon, where myself truly is interviewed about my scary experience.
A First Glimpse of Bryce Canyon
Even only 80 miles away from Zion, you can definitely tell it’s different to Zion. The rocks were another colour suggesting different sedimentary processes. And you know what? It’s true.
And did you know Bryce Canyon is not actually a canyon?
Canyons are formed out of rivers slowly eroding the riverbed that it becomes deeper and deeper. The end result, it’s a canyon. It’s still happening to this day.
But Bryce ‘Canyon’ is completely different. It’s formed out of the freeze and melt process. As Bryce Canyon is highest at 8000ft, this altitude will see snow and freezing temperatures at night. The water trapped in the rocks here are frozen, pushing and breaking apart the surrounding rocks causing a weathering process. Come warmer temperatures, the ice is melted causing the water to percolate into new cracks. Take this after thousands of years, there’s gonna be a lot of breakage!
So, you can imagine all this has happened by simply taking a look at Bryce Canyon.
THAT Horse Ride
Okay, here we are. This is the scariest ride I’ve ever done in my life.
Right, I’ve done skydiving, bungee jumping, got lost in the scariest cave in the world and zip lined over 800m high. But nothin, NOTHING compared to horse trekking down the cliff face of the Bryce Canyon where the drops would be 1000ft down. There weren’t any barriers, there weren’t any gentle slopes or no guides taking the reins. It would be me riding on the horse who I would trust my life in its hooves not to…well…walk off the cliff.
Saddling up, I was introduced to my horse, Corey. It looked at me cheekily and tried to give me a playful bite on my shoulder as I patted its flank. I had done horse riding before but it was 10 years ago!
Jumping up, I sat awkwardly on the horse and I talked to Corey in the hope it would recognise my voice if I needed to direct it away from the ravine. Corey simply ignored me and did a wee. A projectile wee onto a small horse behind me. On it, sat a small kid, who stared horrifyingly back at me before bursting into tears. Her mother stared evilly back at me. Why?! It wasn’t me? I didn’t tell Corey to do that. Already it was causing trouble. What was Corey going to be like with this attitude. I couldn’t exactly ask him ‘Why the long face?’ (wahey!)
Soon, we were on the move. I was given a stick in order to tap Corey on the side to get him to speed faster. Wow, I had to do so many times. Corey begrudgingly walked on at a snail’s pace and the cowboy leader had to shout for Corey to hurry up many times. It wasn’t a behaved horse. It kept wanting to go in a different direction and I had to pull on the reins hard to keep him on track. It gave many harrumphs in response.
This was probably the only time Corey was well behaved.
But his main crime?
Walking on the edge of the effing path where, of course, there’s that 1000ft drop! There was the whole width of the trail to walk on, but no, he had to walk right next to the edge. Heck, even my foot in the stirrup was dangling over the edge.
I could have closed my eyes. But I didn’t. I’m not afraid of heights and I was determined not to start that fear here even as the edges of my vision was starting to swim. But Corey seemed happiest that way. My favourite time with the both of us was when he simply stopped and looked down with his head into the canyon below. Luckily, I was paying attention and had to lean right back tugging on the reins to get it to back up!
But I simply laughed. Of course, I faced danger in the face yet again, but this was the moment when I knew I pushed myself to the limit and stepped over it in this adventure. It was the American thing to do to laugh, pumped full of adrenaline, without a care in the world for your safety.
I couldn’t believe it. Back home in the UK, this would be shut down thanks to the Health and Safety Brigade.
Now, let’s find out what I saw on the Horse Ride down:
An Evening in Bryce Canyon City
Due to absolutely freezing temperatures forecasted for that evening, another night of camping was cancelled and motel rooms were offered instead. This was a good chance to freshen up and see how the Americans lived in a rural city.
Bryce Canyon City was very quirky. One side of the city was taken up of a huge complex called Ruby’s which included a mammoth camping and outdoor store, gift shop, grill restaurants and a gun room.
But my favourite definitely has to be the ‘wild west’ theme of the town (which you saw me in the video) where you could check out the old trading posts and of course, the souvenir shops.
Later on, we all went out for a steak dinner including a dessert of cream pie. Mmmmm. I was so hungry that I promptly forgot to take photos in the end.
I’m not kidding. I was so hungry. I could have eaten a scabby horse.
Oops. Sorry, Corey.