Because this was our first trip to Bryce, Lee and I were open to just about anything. Deb and Steve had been there 20 years before with their kids and had a list of things they would like to do to “fill in the gaps.” Unfortunately, many of the tougher trails were closed due to snow, but we discovered that a trail off the beaten track was open.
In order to get to the Mossy cave trail, we needed to leave the park, get back on twelve, and then reenter the park. One of the nicest features of this hike is you don’t have to pay the entrance fee to get to it, and because it is out of the way it was less crowded the day we were there. It is also an easy trail with a round trip distance of 1 mile and a payoff of the cavern and a waterfall at the end.
Despite how easy it was, there is a lot packed into it, but let me just show you.
One of the first things we learned was that the Mormon pioneers had built the Tropic ditch we were walking along to help irrigate their field. The scope of that is mind boggling and really enhanced the experience. Not only was it beautiful it was also historical.
It didn’t take long to get to the trail split and we headed left up into the mossy cave. This is the only place the trail gets a little steep but it was definitely worth it. In the summer, the cave has moss, but we got something better. Ice!!
It was hard to top the ice crystals but we decided we wanted to see the larger waterfall and walked the other way. The nicest part of that was we could get up close with the water and Lee had a really good time. I was getting a little hot though because the canyon was in full sun. That’s been pretty common in our time up here and it’s important to layer up and bring plenty of water, because it might be cold at the start of the hike, but the canyon floors are often VERY hot.
(Here’s a little video of the hike! Looks best in full screen, 1080p!- Lee)
It was a really nice hike and it was early enough in the day that you can do something else. Another day we drove right by it and decided we wanted to try and see Cedar Breaks which was only 74 miles away. Unfortunately we could only get so far because the route was still closed to snow. It’s surprising how quickly the geography can change at these higher elevations and important to never take for granted that roads can be closed. This year in particular was unique because we learned they received 200% of the snowfall they usually get. Thus many road/trail closures.
So what do you do when you can’t get into a National Monument because of snow?? Well Cowboy buffet of course, at the Ruby Inn. Don’t get me wrong the buffet was way over priced, but the food was decent and sometimes it’s fun to do the touristy thing.
Not all days turn out the way you expect them. It’s important to be philosophical when that happens, and remind yourself you are not on vacation. We may only have 4 days to see Bryce BUT unlike our old life, this isn’t a “one and done” visit. We can and should come back later. Being with friends who also take the long view helps with that. Sure it’s disappointing when a day doesn’t go exactly as planned, but rolling with the unexpected is part of successfully living this life.
Next up the most challenging hike we have done to date!
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