Vancouver-Mexico Road Trip: Camping with a Barky Dog in Bryce Canyon

I couldn’t wait to show Scout the stunning orange hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park, where we planned to camp for two nights.

I was less excited to deal with Archie at a national park with nothing separating him and the terrier-provoking sounds of the great outdoors but a thin layer of tent fabric.

Archie is a fantastic dog—whip smart, feisty, loving, hilarious. We adore him and his zany antics.

But Jack Russell Terriers are focused and aggressive hunters, which means Archie requires special handling (think nitroglycerine or a loaded gun) around chaseable or bark-inducing things like say squirrels. Or birds. Or elk. Or coyotes. Or other dogs. Or things rustling in the underbrush. Or sounds coming from the camp bathroom. Or people talking outside the tent at night…

Also Archie tends to freak out and get hysterically barky around large dogs, women with frizzy hair (seriously), and small children.

Pretend you’re a squirrel…

I fully expected him to erupt at some barely-audible noise at 4am and piss off the other campers, but my good boy stayed quiet all night and—since I’m his nocturnal wrangler—I enjoyed a good night’s sleep.

Scout gamely roasting apple slices over the campfire because I was too cheap to pay $3.5o for marshmallows at the camp store until the following day, when I realized how depressing that was and relented.

The next day Mark and I decided to split up and take separate canyon hikes. We’d much rather have gone together, but dogs aren’t allowed on the trails at Bryce, so we had to take turns hanging with Archie back at camp. Actually it worked out really well, because we gave each other rides to the trailhead, thereby avoiding the crowded park shuttle.

Scout and I hiked the Navajo Loop/Queen’s Garden Trail, a stunner route that only took a couple of hours. It’s scenic and popular, so I worried that it might be crowded. It was, but fortunately most of the other hikers were European (Germans, French and Spaniards mainly), which meant they had quiet trail voices. No problem.

 

Navajo Loop/Queen’s Garden Trail and victim

When we were done, look what I saw in the parking lot at the visitor center. It’s another traveling family! From France! The tagline on the hood says “A family around the world.” I looked up their website and discovered they are a family of five taking five years to travel the world in their camper. How awesome is that?!?

A world-traveling family from France!!! Fantastique!!!

I wish we could have squeezed in a few extra days at Bryce, but we need to get ourselves down to Mexico and start working, so off we went the next day.

Next stop: Grand Canyon

 

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