Anyone who follows me on Instagram already knows this, but I finally made a dream come true! I rode a mule named John John at the Grand Canyon! I wanted to ride to the bottom of the canyon, but there was no way I could afford it. So expensive!! So I just did the three hour ride along the rim of the canyon. The views were incredible and the experience was amazing!
The time in the saddle was probably only an hour and a half, so not bad for beginners if you know anyone who wants to try it that doesn't ride normally. The rest of the time was spent on the bus going to the stable, listening to the safety spiel and waiting on everyone to get mounted up. While waiting I noticed this adorable mule....
He or she actually reminds me of a horse named Molasses that I rode on a guided tour when I was a kid with my family on vacation in 1996. So cute!!
First thing I have to mention is people told me it would be cold there. I thought that meant I would just need a jacket and it would be no big deal. I was wrong!!!!! It was in the fifties but because of the wind it was FREEZING!!!! I thought I was going to die and actually considered not doing the ride. I'm glad I did though because once we got in the forest the wind died down a bit.
When they lined us all up and started picking out mules they asked if I'd ever ridden before.... I told them I'd been riding for thirty years and they immediately said, "You get John John!" I was a bit apprehensive when they said that, but they explained he just has a mind of his own and needs more steering than the other mules. I was totally fine with that. He actually behaved better than some of the other mules and one girl who had never ridden asked me why that was. I told her the truth... it's because I know how to ride and I expect him to behave, so he did.
Here is the picture I posted on Instagram. It's not the most flattering picture (I took my glove off to take my phone out of my pocket and forgot to put it back on.... we were also required to wear hats...), but I still love it. All of the mules wear muzzles to stop them from trying to eat on the trail so the forestry people would stop complaining about damage to the foliage. It also helps with steering for beginner riders.
We rode across a highway and then through some trees. While in the trees I spotted an elk cow!!! This is the first elk I've ever seen in person even though I've been through areas that supposedly have them. She was gorgeous. My picture isn't very good because we weren't allowed to stop for photo ops and I was under the impression we couldn't use our cell phones, so I was using the DSLR. I was a bit irritated when I found out later we can use our cell phones as long as they are on cables around our necks... and they sold them in the gift shop. Oh well!
I tried to get a shot of the view between John John's ears, but with the 50mm lens on the camera I couldn't get the angle right. Again, wish I'd known about the cell phones. The views were incredible!!! We were literally less than six feet from the edge of the cliff at times.
I sort of got the view between his ears on this picture.
You can click to enlarge the pictures.
I finally got his ears up when some hikers came up beside us.
I also saw two mule deer bucks (first time seeing mule deer too) and one was an 8 point! He was huge!
I didn't even realize until we got back and dismounted that John John had paint markings because I never saw him from the rear. He's the one on the left obviously. So cute. He was such a sweetheart. They said when they retire the mules people can adopt them..... I SO wish I could adopt him when he retires.
This trip to the Grand Canyon was part of an epic road trip my husband and I went on about a month ago. I've been too busy to go through pictures until now and it's going to take me AGES because I took over 1000 photos. I'll be posting more pictures of the views at the Grand Canyon on my other blog (LINK
) when I have time. They are incredible, so try to check in when you can. That's all for now!