This is the perfect time to travel, enjoy some fresh air, and take in the beauty of nature. Grand Canyon National Park in northern Arizona is one of the most well known national parks in the United States. It’s definitely worth a day or two to visit and see it for yourself.
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The Grand Canyon is different from every stop and every angle. The south rim is where you will find Bright Angel Lodge and trailhead. If you are only there for a short visit, it’s fun to walk a short way down the trail to see the canyon from a different perspective.
When you visit, make sure you are prepared. The temperature is vastly different at the top versus the bottom. During the summer it is extremely hot. If you plan on doing any hiking, make sure you have appropriate shoes as well as water.
Grand Canyon Mule Ride
That is me at the very far right of this picture along with Chester, my donkey for the trip, and my family: my dad, husband, brother, sister-in-law, father-in-law, and brother-in-law that all went on this fun adventure together.
The mule ride is a 2-day adventure down to the bottom of the canyon and then back up the next day. You can also do half-day adventures, but those are along the rim or part-way down and back up. If you are going to do it, I highly recommend the full ride.
A huge kudos to Chester for getting me down and back up safely. Chester was a sleepy-head and I think he was half asleep the entire time. He kept me safe even though he liked to hug the canyon side of the trail. Thanks, Chester, those were some big scary drop-offs. Keep in mind, this is not exactly a nature stroll, but more of an adventure.
Oh, you won’t see any pictures of all these drop-offs or narrow trails from me because my grip was so tight on the mule, there was no way the camera was coming out to capture any of those moments.
Grand Canyon South Rim – Bright Angel Trail
We started at at the top of Bright Angel Trail. Half way down you stop to give the mules a break, grab some water, hose down, and take a potty break. Hose down means they literally take a hose and drench you. You need this because it’s HOT.
I didn’t think I would be able to get back on the mule after getting off. Ouch. My legs were so sore already at that point. I could barely walk.
At the bottom of the Grand Canyon is Phantom Ranch. As soon as we put our mules up for the evening, we jumped into the cold creek. It was like icing the sore legs. I will admit, I didn’t stay in long as there were little minnows chewing on the toes. The guys didn’t mind.
Before dinner and sunset, after a nice shower in the bathhouse and getting cleaned up, we hiked around the bottom of the Grand Canyon. It was actually nice and loosened up the stiff legs. We stayed overnight in the cabins. They had bunk beds and 4 to a cabin. There are also tent camping sites for hikers that you can rent.
We were served a steak dinner and then had an evening lesson from the Park Ranger about all the critters that lived at the Grand Canyon. We got to witness a bat swiping a locust or cicadas, depending on what you call them, out of the tree above us at sunset. It sounded like 100 of them, but it was just one.
South Kaibab – Trail coming back up
The next morning we got back on the mules which wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Going back up the Grand Canyon was much easier and quicker than going down. The two trails, Bright Angel and South Kaibab are very different from each other. South Kaibab was more brown, sandy, and rocky compared to all the greenery on Bright Angel.
There were names for all of the scary narrow trails that had huge drops, except for the scariest of them all coming back out of the Grand Canyon on the South Kaibab trail. We named it ourselves. You can take a guess. I can’t say it here though.
Just picture a tiny 180-degree u-turn that literally is so narrow that you can’t see the ground underneath you and your feet are hanging over the canyon wall with no sight of the ground down below. The good thing is it’s quick enough so by the time the words roll off the tongue you are on the other side of it.
The mules share the trail with the hikers and the mules have priority. If you are a hiker, please move to the inside of the trail. There are some brave people out there! The edge of a rock with a 500 foot straight down drop is not my idea of adventure. Sitting on top of a mule on a narrow trail was adventure enough for me.
I survived to tell this story. It truly was incredible. Would I do it a second time? Nope. Once was enough to capture the experience, memories, and adventure for me, but I would absolutely do it again if it were my first time. It is the best way to see the Grand Canyon, have an adventure, and a vacation all-in-one. You could hike it, but it’s just not the same experience. If you want to do your own mule ride, visit the website for mule rides for more information.
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Have a magical vacation,
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