May 18, 2021
It was 34 degrees when we left camp at 6:30 am to drive to the North Rim Lodge, but the sun was rising, so it warmed up quickly. We ate breakfast in the parking lot as we waited for the shuttle bus to carry us to the mule corrals. The drive to the corral was our first excitement, the transmission on the bus gave out and left us stranded about a mile from the corral. Fortunately there was an empty lodge van just behind us. They picked up most of the group and we had to wait for a truck from the corrals to pick us up.
At the corral we were assigned mules and we saddled up for the ride. Eva rode Pumpkin and I rode HighBall. They were both very good mules and we had no problems on the ride.
The ride was about 2 miles and 1800’ descent into Roaring Springs Canyon to the Supai Tunnel. The trail was steep in areas with many switchbacks. The mules were well trained and essentially know their way on the trail. We just had to keep them moving so they didn’t stop and just eat the foliage along the trail.
At the tunnel we dismounted and stretched our legs, took pictures and got a drink of water. The ride up was much easier and more comfortable on both us and the mules. The entire ride took about 3 hours and it was a lot of fun. Eva was a little concerned about riding as her last few attempts were not too successful. She did great and I think we will try it again some day.
We originally wanted to do the afternoon ride because we thought the morning would be too cold. We wore jackets for the first 30-40 minutes, but it warmed up quickly and the temperature was real nice for the entire ride. I think the afternoon ride would be too hot.
After the mule ride we did the short hike to Bright Angel Point, starting near the visitor center. We then drove the Cape Royal scenic drive and walked to the viewpoints at the end of the road.
After returning to the main road we turned north and continued our way home. After a stop in Fredonia for gas, we drove to just south of Mt Carmel Junction and camped alongside the east fork of the Virgin River. The next morning we continued home arriving around 3:30 pm.