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November 13, 2007

I'm Back...In Love With Mules!

So let me say this about riding a mule into/out of the Grand Canyon: PEAK EXPERIENCE! My mule was named Squid and, with the possible except of my dad, I never trusted another living creature more. The ride was overall less scary than I'd anticipated, but there are a few spots where the trail is about two feet wide with no edge on the downhill side of a sheer drop of a couple of thousand feet that are pretty bracing, and Squid handled them like the pro he is. I went to say goodbye to him Monday morning but I couldn't pick him out of the herd: about 50 mules in the corral on their day off. They play just like dogs!

Went down the Bright Angel Trail - about six hours down - and up the Kaibab Trail, about four hours, both on the South Rim. We stayed two nights at the bottom at Phantom Ranch and took day hikes. Saw so many mule deer - so named for their enormous ears - that after awhile, they became almost routine. Saw a variety of birds but unfortunately didn't get to glimpse any bighorn sheep. First night at the ranch, we had a furry visitor in our cabin: a ringtailed cat, also plentiful in the Canyon. He found a bag of almonds under one of the bunks and the galpal in that bunch awoke to an unmistakable munching sound. Alas, he scooted before I could see him.

Of course I took a zillion pictures which I'll try to post in the next couple days.


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