The colorful paintings and whimsical musings of artist Kristy Tracy
Friday, November 2, 2012
Stubborn. Intelligent. Lumbering. Sure-footed. Strong. Gentle. Jackass. Aristocrat. A mule is an amalgamation of oxymorons. A hybrid cross between a male donkey and a female horse, mules are asexual, meaning they can't reproduce. Which is why you never see them cruising the singles bars on Saturday night. These and a hundred other facts about muledom I have acquired from personal experience since my unforgettable, physically exhausting, completely enjoyable ride in the Grand Canyon last July.
Riding a mule to the bottom of the Canyon requires a special bonding between human and beast, meaning you trust your life to your mule's unique abilities and for 48 hours they do pretty much whatever the hell they want. A mule-rider must be adept at retrieving one's heart from one's throat and placing it back in one's chest after each hairpin turn down and up the 4,380 foot elevation of the Bright Angel/Kaibab Trails. Mules, in my opinion, are the only way to do the Grand Canyon without the optional $1,500 helicopter ride and visit to the Park Service emergency room. Because according to the National Park Service regs, what happens in the Grand Canyon doesn't stay in the Grand Canyon. Regardless of the risks involved on this trip, after it's all said and done you will have the distinction of being a member of a very exclusive club; those who have ridden an amalgamation of oxymorons to the bottom and back of the biggest hole in North America.
And completely enjoyed it.