Took the two day Grand Canyon mule trip down to Phatom Ranch for overnight and return the next day. Before going into any of the trip details, I have got to say that there is no camera I know of that can capture the depth and magnificence of what your eyes will behold. Every few yards travelled revealed a new scene. I took a lot of pictures but spent most of the time taking the whole experience in. It was great fun, I am so glad I did this and will always remember it (memory willing- well, at least I still got pictures).
Divided the 10 of us into groups of 5 made for nice tight groups. Matched up with our outstanding and experienced mules, a good safety talk then the trip down following the Bright Angel Trail. Steep narrow trails led by expert and knowledgeable "wranglers" (Hoop and Traci). The trip is not without risk but over 100 years of mule rides and no casualties. Pay attention to the brochure about what's involved. It is very accurate. Five and a half hours down with two brief out of saddle breaks. A little stiff when dismounting but you get your legs back quickly by walking and I wasn't "sore". Arrived at Phantom Ranch early afternoon and had a lot of time to explore (or nap). Very friendly people at the Phantom Ranch. Had a great steak dinner in the dining room and a great night's sleep in very cozy cabins with AC in the day and heat at night. Outstanding breakfast in the early AM for the ride back up. The return ride took the South Kaibab Trail. This trail was a little shorter but the trip took the same time to return because it is going up. We stopped often to take in the scenery without having to turn around. We dismounted twice for breaks. The wranglers also gave a bit of history of the trails and names of features and points as well as the natives who occupied these areas.
Four points of advice (they'll tell you this anyway):
DRINK YOUR WATER
LISTEN TO THE WRANGLER AND DO WHAT HE (SHE) SAYS
TRUST YOUR MULE (they know what they're doing too) but keep their head up so they don't stop and eat and fall behind. I like to trot as much as the next guy but there are places on the trail it is just not a good idea.
LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE - Enjoy the ride and the scenery.(Take lots of pictures but don't get trapped behind the camera.)
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