I love the early mornings in the Grand Canyon. The air is crisp and cool as the sun begins to rise. Looking from the overlook you can see the bright orange and purple colors across the canyon. There is still a bit a snow on the ground in the surrounding campsite. There are a few tents that the snow surrounds like a warm blanket.
After admiring the beauty of the sunrise for a few more minutes I take the path back to the campground. There is a variety of wildlife awake at this hour scurrying around in the surrounding trees. A rabbit darts in front of me and watches as I jump at the sudden movement.
Everyone is up and ready to take on the day as I return to the campsite. The cooking bacon and eggs have a wonderful aroma that fills the site. Food seems to taste better when eaten in nature. Our senses are more in tune to the simple pleasures of life.
After breakfast it is time for the mule ride down the canyon. There is a winding trail that is steep and narrow that the mules maneuver each day. It promises to be an exciting adventure.
Our ride begins with everyone on their mules following the directions of the mule skinner. He leads us down the canyon with the mules following him. Mules are interesting animals. They are like horses and are very precise on the trail and surefooted.
Looking across the canyon as we ride down is the most beautiful view. You can see miles of canyon with red, orange, and blue hues across the rocks. The birds are majestic as they fly across the clear blue sky. It is an ecosystem of freedom for the wildlife that inhabit this canyon.
It is difficult for me to look down to the bottom of the canyon. I am afraid of heights and it is a long way to the bottom. Still overcoming a fear is part of the reason for this adventure. Taking a deep breath I glance down to the bottom of the canyon.
There is much beauty at the bottom of the canyon. There is a slow-moving river bed that is surrounded by a large bank with trees and rocks. This is where we will stop for a break before returning to the top of the canyon. The ecosystem of the canyon is serene and tranquil.
I am briefly startled as my mule has decided to pee and shifts his weight a bit. Nervous that the mule may drop me down the canyon I freeze. The mule is unfazed and steadily continues down the canyon.
We reach the bottom of the canyon and find a spot on the edge of the river bed. The water is cold and feels refreshing in the midmorning heat. The bottom of the canyon is significantly warmer than the place where we began this adventure.
After about half an hour we resume our ride back up the canyon. Going up the canyon has an entirely different view than coming down. The colors of the canyon appear to be deeper in the sun. It is as if God has sent artists to paint wonderful colors on the canyon.
I listen for the sounds of the canyon as we continue the trek up. There is the sound of birds singing in the brush. Small animals are scurrying through the brush creating a rustling noise. The mules snort as they climb the canyon. It is a peaceful experience.
Finally we reach the end of our journey and it is time to leave the mules. This particular adventure has a certificate that accompanies it. It is given to everyone that completes the adventure.
We reach the campsite and decide to rest until time to cook dinner. My legs and backside ache from riding the mule. The aches and pains are worth the wonderful adventure of riding the mules.
I make a final hike for the day to the rim of the canyon. The sun is beginning to set presenting a new set of colors. The canyon is now the backdrop to the rich orange and pink colors in the sky. The night air is crisp and cool with a hint of rain in the air.
Returning to the camp dinner is ready and the fire is warm. We eat and tell the stories of today’s adventure. Someone pulls out a guitar and begins creating a tune to tell the story of the mule ride. It is a grand tale.
As I drift off to sleep in the tent my dreams float to the place of gratitude. It is wonderful to be alive and my soul is nourished.
Copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce