Wednesday, November 28, 2007

11/28/07 Grand Canyon Mule Ride

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Dave and I fell into a different pace with Mel and Sarah gone. He began studying math for his High School Exit Exam and I worked on my writing. We both started taking Mayim on very, very long walks. Dave took over the role of making dinner and I did the dishes. We watched science shows in the evenings.

We talked. We talked some more. Since I don’t know much about vampires, werewolves and shinmas, I needed a lot of background to get caught up. We talked more. It was interesting to have a conversation with him – it was like talking to an adult. I was surprised at how much he has matured and the kinds of the things that are on his mind.

On one of the walks, I found a way to get down a way to get down to the river at the edge of the Thousand Trails preserve. Since we weren’t in the park anymore, I’d let Mayim off her leash. As we walked along, I looked back and Mayim was rubbing her face on the ground. Bad sign, she’s been known to roll around in goose droppings or deer poop. Then she started rolling on her back. So I walked back to see what disgusting thing she’d been rolling in and I realize in horror that she is covered with giant stickers larger than big jelly beans.

She has giant stickers on both sides of her muzzle, in the pads of her feet, in her tail and on her back. These are the most awful stickers, the spines feel like needles and they are completely embedded in her fur. I didn’t realize how bad the stickers were, so I took the ones out of her muzzle closest to her eyes first. The poor dear, she was standing with those stickers between her toes, while I worked on the stickers on her face. My fingers were burning from sticker pricks, but I knew I couldn’t stop. We were too far away for me to carry her back to the RV so I could use gloves. I would have given anything for a pair of scissors because I was ripping her fur out with each sticker.

I finally got her back to the RV, gave her an all-over grooming, and used scissors to cut them out of her tail. At the end, I was brushing her beautiful heart-shaped ears, and I found one in her ear. Mayim has suggested we stay on the paths for a while.

The feeling of longing about the Grand Canyon didn’t go away. I decided to be impetuous and call the mule ride desk. They could get us in on Wednesday! I booked for the two of us, got lucky and got a room with a twin bed and a double bed at the Bright Angel Lodge for a great price, and scheduled Mayim at the Grand Canyon’s kennel.

Dave and I packed up for an overnight trip to the Grand Canyon so that we could make the early meet up time for the seven-hour mule trip. It took longer to get to the Park than we’d planned, so we called ahead to the kennel. The staff assured us not to worry about it, that we could check her in at the hotel. Ummmm. No. The hotel front desk staff was clueless.

Fortunately, we went to the kennel ourselves, called the emergency number on the door and got her checked in by a Grand Canyon Fire Fighter. A handsome fire fighter, imagine my delight! He was more than glad to talk about fire fighting in the Canyon, his opinions about the Southern California fires, and the importance of controlled burns until Dave suggested that since Mayim was checked in, we could leave now. Thanks, Dave.

We went to dinner at the Arizona Steak House. Dave was extremely happy – steak with chocolate cake for dessert!

Our room at Bright Angel Lodge was perfect except the walls were extremely thin. We could hear the guy in the next room singing! Yikes! We were glad that they didn’t have tv’s in the room so all our neighbors went to bed early. Dave’s CPAP breathing machine mask broke and he and I were both worried about him snoring the night away, but he was a good roommate.

We set three alarms so we would sure to be up on time. No problem, we packed all our stuff, had a giant breakfast and went to meet our mules with our special water-filled boda bags and yellow rain slickers.

At the head of the Bright Angel Trail in the Stone Corral, the supervisor of the mules spent 30 minutes describing the ride, the pain that we would experience in our knees and other parts of our anatomy and how he would refund our money if we backed out now. He assured us that this was not the easy way to see the canyon, hiking was much easier and riding the shuttle bus was easiest of all.

There were only five of us on the one day trip – everyone else was going on the two day trip – and I watched the couple in front of us blanch from the description of the aches and pains. I thought they were goners for sure; I was positive they would get a refund, but they didn’t.

Our mules Bubba and Cory were very strong and capable. The trip was amazing and I’m thrilled with the pictures of the Grand Canyon as we went out to Plateau Point overlooking the Colorado River 1,300 feet below. Dave had a great time too. It was a lifetime dream fulfilled for me.



At lunch time we found out that the couple was on their honeymoon! The husband had refused to go hiking on his honeymoon, so his new wife scheduled the mules. The two were not horseback riders, were hesitant to be firm with their mules and the mules knew it. I didn’t see them ever put their weight in the stirrups to make the ride a little easier on their rears. They were miserable at the end of the ride.

Watching those two get off their mules first made Dave and I a little hesitant to get off at the end of the ride. I won’t say we hopped off our mules and were fine, but we were better than we’d hoped. We picked up Mayim and drove home the two and half hours to the RV. We didn’t really want to, but you must shower after a 7-hour mule ride, and we collapsed on our beds. We were both still stiff with sensitive tail bones the next day, but the following day we were mostly fine.

On Friday we’d been inside due to a heavy rain storm. It started raining this morning and rained through the next morning -- the storm dropped 3" in our area and many roads were closed due to flash floods. I stayed in the RV and Dave went to the clubhouse. Since Mayim couldn’t get a long walk, I played a rousing game of fetch with her in the RV. In the evening, I heard a fan running that I didn't know what or where it was -- every few minutes the noise would pulse and turn on and off. I couldn’t figure out what it was.

I tried turning off the heat, I turned off the electricity to the RV at the outside pedestal, I tried starting the engine on the RV to see if that made a difference. I could still hear the noise. I called Mel who suggested I turn off the batteries that run the RV and he mentioned that the batteries operated the emergency lighting and the stairs so I’d need the flashlight. So with my cell phone in one hand and the flashlight in the other, I went outside the RV to see if I could hear it from the outside.

Who would think, when the batteries are off, the stairs come in. So I fell three feet out of the RV. For a short few minutes I thought I broke all my toes on my right foot, but my pride was the only thing hurt. But still I couldn’t figure it out, so I went next door and asked the husband to come over to help me track down the fan noise.

When he came over, I demonstrated turning off the house batteries and had him stand in the dark where I could hear the noise best. He said that the noise was coming from the duffle bag Dave was packing to go back to Orange County. We opened it up and his travel toiletry bag was making the noise. It was his toothbrush! Mayim must have stepped on the bag when we were playing and turned on his chargeable toothbrush! Now my pride was more than wounded. Not only did the guy next door know I was an idiot, I had to call Mel back and tell him.

1 comment:

TraciB said...

This is a great blog and what sounds to be a wonderful lifestyle! We are fellow "unschoolers" who will be at Kalahari with you. I have 3 sons Hunter 13, Jayden 7, and Kannon 3. My oldest is looking so very forward to meeting up with some kids his age, or even older. Sure hope we run into you guys... you sound very fun! Come over and visit my blog to get to know us a bit better. See yah soon!