With the time change, Pacific to Mountain time, we will wake at 7:00 am. We drive to the southern end of Bryce Canyon and hike the Bristlecone Loop Trail – 1 mile. We stop for a few more pictures and then drive to Ruby’s Inn, in Bryce Canyon City, where we have been told we can find a memory card for my camera. The only one they have available is an 8GB class 4 card; not the best quality but it will have to do for Caleb as I take his. We get back on Highway 12, an All American Road, and drive to Cannonville to a ranger station.
The ranger gives us a description of the Willis Creek trail. I feel like we are going out into wilderness and will have to look hard for a space in the trees or rocks that marks the trailhead. The directions say drive 2.9 miles down paved road and turn onto dirt road and drive six more. I really should pay more attention to mileage. I miss the turn, we turn around, and are soon on Skutumpah Road. We have to deal with a fork in the road and then we see a flat spot with tire marks. We get out.
Across the street is a path that soon leads to a rocky cliff. I tell the dogs to get back in the car as it seems we are lost and forgot our rock-climbing gear. I pull out at another smooth spot just to take a picture and we watch a pile of dust drive by. I wonder what kind of suspension they have? We follow and another mile is a parking lot with a sign. This is no wilderness. This time across the street there are two paths, one that goes straight into the canyon and another on the left that leads down into it; we take the one on the left.
We pass only a couple of families and some day-hikers. There are plenty of low-water crossings in this narrow slot canyon which helps to keep the shade even cooler. I feel like I could hike for days here, and then we hit the wash fully exposed to the sun. We hike until the end of the watery trail and the return trip offers us another view of these rock walls standing at least 50 feet tall. Erosion is a beautiful and wonderous occurrence.
Fifty miles east on Hwy 12 brings us to Calf Creek Campground where the trailhead for Lower Calf Creek Falls is located. We arrive at 4:00 pm and hike, in sun and shade, the three miles to the 120ft waterfall. We are able to see pictographs on the other side of the canyon. Upon reaching our destination at 5:30 pm there are five other dogs playing in the water and muck. I take my photos, take the dogs while Caleb takes his, and then we walk upstream a bit and toss the dogs in there.
Sparky is ready to play and quickly finds a stick. I figure they will be able to dry in the sun, but the hike back is immersed in shade. I forgot we are down in a canyon and lose the sun’s light more quickly. I expected a slow return with a tired Piggy, but she stays motivated to try to keep up with the other dogs as they pass us on the trail. We will camp at Oak Creek, not necessarily in a designated spot, but we are tired and RVs are parked on all the dirt roads.