mules & supercells??!!
Well I have planned next year's USA trip.
A mule ride down to Phantom Ranch, Grand Canyon, overnight stay. (this is my reward to myself for some "major" weight loss!)
Then to Denver where I depart for a week's "storm chasing" tour.
Any tips about what to pack / wear for the mule ride, etc. appreciated.
I'll be sure to post my trip report once this adventure is over next June.
Syv, are you a person who rides horses or mules frequently? Mule-back to the bottom of the Canyon is excruciating for those who do not ride often -- it is as physically taxing as hiking -- just a different set of muscles. I do not want to discourage you, as this is something I'd do myself in a heartbeat. But in my frequent hikes to Phantom, for the most part the folks I met that were in the most discomfort were mule-riders, not hikers. I'd suggest a few horse back rides at local stables before you go, to acclimatize certain portions of the anatomy.
Make sure you take along bug repellent and a hat that will shade your head and face. A warming ointment for the muscles (I use Flexall 454). Water is the most important cargo, for sure. Take more than you think you need -- I carry about a gallon when hiking. You won't need much less on mule-back. And don't forget to DRINK it even if you don't FEEL thirsty. Once there, splashing around in Bright Angel Creek will cool you off, so take something you can wear into the water if that appeals to you -- and shoes to wear while doing so (old sneakers?). The Colorado River is NOT for swimming (swift dangerous currents).
June is a hot month in the Canyon's lower reaches -- so you'll need to wear lightweight loose fitting clothing that is comfortable. Temps can reach Celsius 45+ easily that time of year. At night, temps drop more than you expect sometimes, but I doubt a Canadian would suffer much from cold down there in June. A light sweatshirt would be more than you'd need probably. Sturdy boots are also important. Other than that, as I'm not a rider I can't advise you on that aspect of the requirements, but the outfitter will certainly have advice for you in that regard.
Worried about damaging it, I have left my digital camera behind in the past, and purchased single-use cameras just for the trail. Bad idea -- they never do justice for the magnificent scenery. The last couple of hikes, I took my good camera. There's risk, but this is a place where you can get some great photos.
At Phantom, the steak dinner is excellent, especially after a long day getting there. Ask at the desk about day hikes on the bottom as well -- there are a couple that are worth your efforts. I am missing something important most likely, but there's a start!
I posted a few photos of the trails and Phantom Ranch from my last trip down, if you'd like to see them. http://bschaller.photosite.com
Last edited by Robert Schaller; 09-12-2006 at 04:52 PM.
Reason: Added one more thing and a link for photos
aches & groans!
Yep - I've heard that from a friend who's hiked down a couple times too - that the ones bent over in pain were the mule riders.
I do intend to "freshen up" my horseback riding with a few rides in the spring prior to this trip.
Thanks for the tips. I'm looking forward to it.
While fooling around with Grand Canyon stuff, I found another webpage that has extensive photos of the trails -- a virtual tour! If you want to see what you'll see, from top to bottom and back again, take a look at Gene Hanson's website. His photos will give you an even better feel for what it's like in the canyon! Scroll down to the bottom of his home page to find the links.
Two more items for your kit -- a handkerchief for dust control and Advil. Both indispensable. Bob