Many of you know that I had been wanting to ride a mule down the Grand Canyon since I was a kid. You usually have to make reservations about a year in advance. And there is a weight limit. The mules are amazing, conditioned animals who are awesome at the task of hauling you down and back out of the canyon, but they need to protect them by keeping the load the bear within certain limits. So I needed to lose a lot of weight. I worked on it for a year an a half. I was so excited when the guy weighed me and said, "you're good". I said, " Can I shake your hand?" I was so excited and I had to high five Cindy. I had lost 123 lbs to be able to go. He said that was a record as far as he had heard.
Once we were issued our mule rider slickers, we had to take pics with them on.
We found the stone corral where we were supposed to meet in the morning.
The head guy, telling us the rules and what to expect. If you back out before you get on the trail, he will get you your money back. Once you are on the trail, you are out of luck. You become a hiker.
I have Delilah. My first view through Delilah's ears.
We stop regularly. We always stop with the mules lined up facing out. I always had complete confidence in Delilah, but it was nerve wracking for some people always being on a cliff edge.
Alicia was amazing. She knew just how to help me up and down, without making me feel like an idiot. I was very grateful to her.
I had to delete a lot of blurry pictures. A moving mule is not a very steady way to take a good picture.
One of our lined up stops. There were nine riders and two wranglers in our group. Everyone was very nice.
Lunch stop. When we first got off, my right knee wouldn't work. We had been riding 2 hours already. Thank goodness Cindy was there to be my human cane, and support me. I was a little nervous about that.
Coming out of Indian Gardens, there were some cottonwoods along the stream with some pretty fall colors.
You pass a couple of water falls from the stream and then there is the Colorado River. It's wider than I thought down there. But we are still on a pretty high cliff in the inner canyon. And it suddenly feels as hot as Phoenix.
Finally made it to Phantom Ranch and another stone corral. It's been 5 and half hours of riding. Thank goodness I packed a folding cane in my stuff. I need it to walk. And my backside hurts.
Ours had two sets of bunk beds and two hard chairs. The chairs hurt the back side too much to sit on them and the top bunks were so low, you had to lie down on the bed. So lie down it was.
Dinner. The people at our table were on the mule ride with us. Across from me was Lela and Ploa, her mom. What a trooper her mom was to do this!
Lily, one of our wranglers, was on her last trip. She was going home to her husband and four year old in Wickenburg afterwards.
Filling water bottles. There isn't any water on the Kaibab trail. The mules can go three days without drinking. They are amazing.
Me, ready, but nervous as I had literally worn off some of the skin on my backside. But they said going up would be easier.
Me, telling Delilah how grateful I was for all her hard work the day before and what she was going to do this day.
Lots of stops on the way up to let the mules rest as we go. They take good care of them, but it's hard work.
This was cool to see. Phantom Ranch is completely supplied by a pack mule train, which goes in and out every day. Everything that is used, eaten, there, gets hauled in. And the trash, mail, everything gets hauled out. It was so old west looking.
The rests were good opportunities to lean forward and relieve pressure, take your feet out of the stirrups and do ankle circles.