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  • Sometime in the summer of 1984 our friends, Dave and Terry, were working for the hotel chain that handled the National Parks. They invited us to their home at the Grand Canyon and even sent a video of the "mule ride" to entice us. Since when did either one of us need enticement? We said, sure and off we went.

    We had a great visit and they arranged for our mule trip down to Hidden Valley Ranch at the bottom of the Canyon. We couldn't get in the dining hall for breakfast. Too crowded, so we wound up where they start the ride. We all got acquainted with our mules and it was great fun watching the "tenderfeet" mount their mules with much help from the guides. Vera and I were soon mounted and we started the descent to a visible plain below, where we would stop for lunch.

    After lunch the trail got steeper and steeper with many switchbacks. The mules would walk right up to the ledge to see where they were before they turned to the trail, which scared the bejeeses out of us all. It was slow going down with all the switchbacks and the roaring river below which got louder as we descended.

    We finally got to the bottom and, crossing the bridge over the river, we arrived at the ranch. Having taken her medication, Vera was severely dehydrated and could hardly get off the mule. Fortunately, the gal that ran the ranch sent over oranges and snacks and Vera bounced right back. We spent a pleasant evening with dinner and a short walk along the trail next to the roaring river.

    Next morning, refreshed, we once again mounted our mules for the trip back up on a different trail. Seems mules can't walk steep trails going down, hence the switchbacks, but can scramble up steeper trails. It took a full day to get to the bottom, but we were back on the rim in half that time.

    Picture of Vera on the descent that I took on the switchback above.
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