Thursday, July 1, 2010

Grand Canyon rim-to-rim backpacking trip ~ Day 2, Mule Duffle Station, Grand Canyon, Arizona

An option backpackers have when hiking into (or out of) the Grand Canyon is to pay for mule service to bring (or take) their supplies. When we first heard about this, we thought, “Nah, it’s cheating.” However, after hiking 14 miles with so much weight on our backs (neither one of us is very big or weighs much ourselves), and as we were sitting in the canteen (Suzanne enjoying her frozen snickers), we had other thoughts. So for $64.04, we paid to have a mule bring some of our stuff out for us, thus lightening our load by about 24 pounds altogether. We were still feeling a bit like we were cheating, until we ran into a ranger (we had extra stove fuel – no need for it, so we wanted to leave it for someone else to use), she assured us that it was hiking smart, especially given the heat. So we felt better – at least it was rationalized by another person! :-)

The way the mule duffle service works is that you are given a grain sack and you can fill it as much as possible, up to 30 pounds. Then you just need to have it ready by 6:30am and placed in the duffle service area – it’ll be at the livery on the south rim by 2:30 that day. (Another pro to hiking north to south.) So when we woke the next morning at 2am (yeah, I know – more on that later too), we were able to have a mule pack out tent, thermarests, sheets, tarp, tent fly, tent stakes, trash (you have to hike out your trash), and all our clothes (except what was on our backs); leaving us with only food, water, first aid kit, toiletries, and some miscellaneous items to carry.
The really cool thing is as we were hiking out, as we waited for the mule train to pass that was bringing up things from Phantom Ranch, we saw our duffle go by!

1 comment:

tami said...

i want to go to there

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