When we arrived in Bryce Canyon, we noticed a few things.
1.) It was about a million degrees colder than Moab.
2.) Everything said “Ruby’s” on it. The whole town is basically owned by one person.
3.) Camping at Ruby’s means you get access to the amenities at neighboring Ruby’s Best Western. Score! That means a pool and a hot tub.
We checked into our campsite just outside of the Bryce Canyon gates. We set up camp, wandered through the grocery and gift shop (yes, owned by Ruby’s), rode the free train from Ruby’s to scope out the ‘town’, and then took advantage of the hot tub and warmed ourselves up before it was time for bed.
The hot tub involved meeting some very interesting people… included Ruby’s great-granddaughter’s husband. I couldn’t hold back and was like, “Oh my god, I want to meet Ruby!” First off, Ruby is not a woman. Second, Ruby is no longer living. I was greatly disappointed that I couldn’t meet Ruby, but seeing how the entire town is Rubified, we felt honored to meet a relative. Ruby settled this land way back in the day and basically started tourism in Bryce Canyon. All of the businesses are still run by the family of Ruby, and this gentleman is in charge of marketing.
Then comes an interesting older couple. I have no idea how the conversation evolved but after some other people left the hot tub, Stella and I came to find out that this couple are nudists. They went skinny-dipping in a creek in Moab. When other people were in the hot tub, they were talking about their grown children, and once the others left, suddenly I’m hearing about people older than my parents going skinny dipping! They were from Florida and traveling the US in an RV. They had only known each other for a few months. They met online! She had dated close to 50 people she met online, while he had only dated three. He had been to nudist camps and told her this up front; being the free spirit that she is, she was okay with it. Stella and I were completely fascinated. They acted like they had known each other for years. The following day was her birthday so we told them we’d rendezvous again in the hot tub the next evening.
Then we camped. And we froze. Like seriously…. froze.
The ground was so cold beneath us (no we did not have a camping pad and we couldn’t use our air mattress because we had the wrong pump) and poor Stella’s sleeping bag kept coming unzipped. We woke up after little sleep and decided to hang out in the car until it was warm enough to hike. I read the Ruby newspaper to find out more about his life and history, while Stella made really funny videos (and took these oh so lovely photos of us bundled up in our sleeping bags).
We combined the Queen’s Garden Trail and the Navajo Loop Trail, for a roughly 3 mile hike that took us through the open areas of the amphitheater of Bryce Canyon as well as through a slot canyon called Wall Street. We took the free park shuttle into the park. It stops at all the hiking points in the first half of the park, including the lodge and the Visitor’s Center, and cuts down on the number of cars (and pollution) in the park. The weather was chilly and I had to borrow an extra layer from Stella, since I misjudged how warm I thought it would get. The sun came out though for the majority of the hike, and the clouds only started to roll in once we exited the Wall Street slot canyon. Here are some photos from this hike: