We Ride Sport and Trail Magazine October 2018 - Page 15

was wonderful, the air conditioner was running when we arrived, so it was nice and cool. As dinner isn’t served until 5:00 p.m., you have several options to occupy your time. Play in the creek, go for a walk, take a nap, play board games in the Canteen, or enjoy a beverage (lemonade, tea, beer and wine can be purchased), along with snacks and souvenirs, including postcards of the Grand Canyon. If I had thought to bring addresses, it would have been fun to send postcards to friends as all of the mail is carried in and out by the Mules.

After a long day you are ready for a good meal, the meal served was much better than good. Everything was laid out on the table, family-style. At the end of each table was a stack of perfectly grilled and seasoned steaks, pan-roasted potatoes, fresh corn on the cob, salad, warm rolls, fresh steamed broccoli and iced tea. Several of us enjoyed cold beer and wine that are available for purchase.

The Mule Skinner Certificate

At 7 a.m. we all mounted and headed out, leaving with Phantom Ranch an appreciation for all of the amenities we had been provided, all packed in to the Canteen on the mules. Just after we crossed the Kaibab Bridge and passed through the tunnel, we looked above to see the two pack-string of mules bringing in the day’s supply, including everything from the food and beverages we enjoyed to the souvenirs, cleaning supplies, etc. They had two saddle mules at the end of the string. The wranglers explained that often hikers will request to ride a mule out of the Canyon. While it is a viable option, it is much more affordable to reserve a mule and ride both ways. It costs more for the one-way, last-minute trip than we did for the entire experience.

We rode the South Kaibab Trail out of the Canyon. While shorter, just 7.3 miles, it is much steeper yet provides more unforgettable, panoramic views. The elevation climbs from 2,440’ to 7,200’. As you approach the rim, you will feel like a celebrity with so many people taking videos and pictures of the Mule Riders. At the top of the Rim, it is a short ride to the stables, where we all received our “Master Mule Skinner Certificate” from the wranglers. We said goodbye to the new friends we had made over the past two days and thanked our wranglers. am so thankful for this opportunity and the friends that joined me, I will recall this trip for the rest of my life.

Mule Rides at Grand Canyon >

Phantom Ranch >

Bright Angel Lodge & Cabins >

A mile in, we met up with the tighter switchbacks, allowing riders the first opportunity to see mule riders both above and below them.

At the top of the Rim, it is a short ride to the stables, where we all received our “Master Mule Skinner Certificate” from the wranglers.