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Mule Trip - Grand Canyon - What was your experience?

Mule Trip - Grand Canyon - What was your experience?

Old Jul 20th, 2004, 02:37 PM
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Mule Trip - Grand Canyon - What was your experience?

I reservations for mid Oct for the one day trip mule trip. After reading the web site, I need reassurance since they make it sound scary. We are in our late 50s and in pretty good shape. Please let me know your experieces - good, bad, whatever.
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Old Jul 20th, 2004, 02:45 PM
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OMG! Make sure your stirrups are set correctly. Mine were too high and I was "putting on brakes" for hours and my legs have never hurt so much!!! They were adjusted at lunch.

Having said that...it was a great trip! I saw pics in National Geographic when I was a little girl and dreamed of it for years. I took my niece and nephew years ago and they still love to talk about it (entertained the table last Easter with their stories).

Yes, the trail is narrow. Yes, the mules stop with their butts against the wall with heads hanging over the edge (THAT was the picture in NG that entranced me so much!). Yes, on switchbacks they make turns and it looks like a hoof or two is over thin air and they won't find a place to put it on the ground.

But, the safety record is outstanding. It's a wonderful experience.

When we went they were very strict about what you could take and wear. We had to wear khaki type pants and long sleeved white shirt. We had to buy their hats and boca (? water) bottle. They did not allow "carry ons". At lunch, they hose you down COMPLETELY and within 20 minutes all the water has evaporated! So, it's hot. In the summer. Big surprise.

Have to be in pretty good shape? You are just riding a mule up and down the canyon for a day. If you are a good sport and aren't terrified of heights you'll have a blast.
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Old Jul 20th, 2004, 02:49 PM
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There are weight limits and height requirements. I've thought of booking the trip just to get my husband down to 200 pounds!
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Old Jul 20th, 2004, 02:59 PM
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The safety record of these mule trips is 100% after over 75 years of people riding -- no serious injuries to any rider.

The law states that when any business fails to give proper warnings about hazards in what it is providing, that failure increases the liability of the business. Thus the emphasis on the potential hazards; it's a liability thing.

Which is not to say there will be NO problems. Unless you dress properly and use LOTS of sunscreen, the sun will burn you to a crisp. You WILL get incredibly thirsty due to the heat. Unless you are used to riding stock, muscles that you have never used in your life will get terribly sore.

But the conclusion I have firmly arrived at, after six trips to the Canyon, is that only by traveling down the trails do you get a sense of the true majesty of the place.
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Old Jul 20th, 2004, 03:26 PM
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I can only say I trust the mule's footing more than my own! Drink water!!! And then drink more! Dehydration is the biggest risk....unless you're really really really afraid of heights, then don't torture yourself! Fun!!!!
Old Jul 20th, 2004, 03:51 PM
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Oh,you gotta do it! I just returned from Grand Canyon and we did the over night ride to Phantom Ranch. I have not stopped thinking about that experience. There were people from 13 to 60 something in our group. There were some scary spots along the way,like when you turned the corner on the ledge but, the mule knows what he's doing. I didn't really have to cue the mule that much except to keep up. They give you a whip to slap against his hind-end if he walks too slow. They are big on keeping the mules close to each other. They are so organized and the guide is excellent on helping you . I was a bit scared at first but, soon got used it. Everyone in our group loved it. I just read in the Parade that Bill O'Reilly (Fox News) did it this year. I know they have a weight limit (200lbs) since, he's 6'5 , I would imagine he's over that. Anyway, if you could swing the over night at Phantom , I would try for that over the one day. You'll love it.
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Old Jul 21st, 2004, 04:11 AM
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Thanks for all the comments and encouragement! And, missypie, I think you may be on to some diet motivation!
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Old Jul 21st, 2004, 06:22 AM
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This urban cowboy got saddle sores from the one day trip - we had a great time, though. I would not drink a lot of coffee before setting off in the morning since there is no place to "go" until you get to the bottom.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2004, 07:04 AM
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Riding the mules down the canyon is a religious experience. You pray all the way. But somehow the mule makes it down and up, with you in the saddle. It is an experience with which you will thrill your grandchildren, more than your trip to any other place. Go, girl, go.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 07:15 AM
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We debated booking a mule trip, but my husband is about 225 and it was unlikely he would lose weight for the trip. So we didn't make a reservation. When we got there & saw the canyon I said "thank God we didn't book a mule trip". I definitely would have backed out as the drop-offs were extremely frightening. I really don't know how you people do it! I don't have that much of a fear of heights, but there is no way I would find that enjoyable. Turns out all of the trips were cancelled while we were there due to rain washing out the trails...that was mid-July.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 07:35 AM
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My father (61 at the time) and I did the overnight mule trip 6 years ago. It was a fantastic experience, although you will be sore, as we were, if you are not a regular rider. Going down the trail was actually more grueling on the body than coming back up. The hot shower at Phantom Ranch never felt so good. We went in early October so the temps were much more moderate than summer temps. Not sure if I would go during summer...way too hot. Niether of us found the trip scary and you are offered the opportunity to backout (with full refund) just prior to starting down the trail....no one did.

Mules are not very intelligent animals, but more than smart enough to know they should stay on the trail. And their footing is quite good. The only time I was even mildly alarmed was when my mule (last in line) decided it had to stop and relieve itself. The other mules kept right on going and my mule had to run to catch up when it finished its business.

I highly recommend the trip to anyone. Nothing to be afraid of.
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