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Old 03-31-2011, 08:34 AM   #1
hsmamato2
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GC mule rides?

any one experience these? I've been looking,it appears the only options now are a short unimpressive ride or a long 2 day ride with an overnight,and nothing in between.....is this about right?
IS there a more interesting option to get a good canyon 'view' from something different than the edge
helicopter? is there a short raft type excursion available? I've been looking,and it is a bit confusing.....
side note- we're planning to visit Yosemite area also- is this a better spot to exxperience mules or rafting?
FWIW, we'll be there the last week of Sept.-while there,I'd like to just 'soak in' the feel of the GC,not ride around like crazy looking for things-KWIM?
right now I'm thinking 2 nites at the GC sounds about right- any help appreciated,as usual!
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Old 03-31-2011, 10:07 AM   #2
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Don't know about the mule trips, but I can answer about river rafting -- I've done the Colorado through the GC and have done numerous rivers in California.

The Colorado River trips tend to be long affairs - at least a week. That's because there's very little access to the river due to the canyon. There's essentially nothing between the main put-in at Lee's Ferry and Phantom Ranch (the overnight spot for the mule trips). And then again nothing between Phantom and the Supai reservation. So while I heartily recommend a Colorado River trip to anyone who's interested, it's a major investment in time and money.

So yes, if you're looking at shorter trips, there are a lot of rivers in California that provide great rafting -- Tuolumne, American, Merced, Yuba, Stanislaus, etc. And there are a lot of commercial river outfitters. The two I'm most familiar with are OARS and ARTA, though there are lots of other fine providers if you just google for them.

One of most challenging rivers is the Tuolumne, which starts just downstream of the Hetch Hetchy reservoir in Yosemite. Great trip, lots of whitewater, but perhaps not for a first-timer. The more tame rivers in the area would be the American or the Merced. There are a number of outfitters that do a mild float trip down the Merced, either through or just outside Yosemite, as a day trip.

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Old 04-01-2011, 07:41 AM   #3
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thanks for the info- that makes sense now, why those raft trips at GC are so long..... I think we might try for a raft type trip in Yosemite instead....any particular veiws we should be looking for?
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Old 04-01-2011, 03:49 PM   #4
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A couple of years ago the one day mule trip that went to plateau point was discontinued. It doesn't look like it's coming back but that's the trip you're looking for.
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:48 PM   #5
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I'm no expert on rafting, but from my limited experience, there wasn't a lot of water flow from the Sierras in September the year we visited.

For my money, the best way to soak in the Grand Canyon is a hike along the South Kaibab Trail. Just keep in mind that you are starting at around 7,000 feet . . . that's rarified air to us sea level folks. http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisi...&PageID=337437 Heed their advice!
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Old 04-05-2011, 11:09 PM   #6
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You can hike the South Kaibab trail even a relative short distance to Ooh Ahh Point, Cedar Ridge or Skeleton Point ans you will get great views. Keep in mind that the S. Kaibab trail has little shade coverage. You will get more shade (vegetative and 2 rest houses) on the Bright Angel trail, but it is much busier.

A good rim view is at Shoshone Point which is on the road to Desert View. There are heliocopter and airplane tours given by private companies located at Grand Canyon Airport. I know one is Papillion and I can't remember the other one. They should be easy to find if you google it.

Like a previous poster stated about river trips, there are no take outs between Lee's Ferry and Diamond Creek. Some river guide companies do allow for visitors get off at the half way point, but you would have to hike from Phantom Ranch. The raft has to continue to Diamond Creek.

I've never been to Yosemite, so I can't really help you there. Have a great trip!
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Old 04-06-2011, 11:28 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rangermom View Post
You can hike the South Kaibab trail even a relative short distance to Ooh Ahh Point, Cedar Ridge or Skeleton Point ans you will get great views. Keep in mind that the S. Kaibab trail has little shade coverage. You will get more shade (vegetative and 2 rest houses) on the Bright Angel trail, but it is much busier.

SNIP
My opinion - the stretch of South Kaibab from Oh Ahh Point on out Cedar Ridge provides more of a sense of the vastness of the GC than Bright Angel. Probably because you are out on a ridge (in the sun) rather than hugging the edge of the canyon. Water, sun block and good shoes!

Since you are the expert, are POVs able to park at the trailhead in the off season?
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Old 05-12-2011, 05:08 PM   #8
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I did the short mule trip in september...don't write it off too easily. It was fun.

I have ridden (horses) for years, so was a bit concerned by the mule thing - but they were terrific animals. Also, one reason why they may not be running the one day rides is that , unless you are in the saddle regularly, a couple of hours is plenty for most people physically.

The ride itself was scenic and the best part was we saw a bear about 20 -30 feet off the trail. Being on the back of a big mule is really the best way to run across one of those things.

Friends who opted for a hike to the waterfalls ended up wishing they had come with us.
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Old 05-12-2011, 06:52 PM   #9
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I heard they use mules because they're more sure-footed/less skittish than horses. Is there still a 185-lb weight limit, full-loaded including cameras? DH is 6'4" and there aren't many guys his height who would fit that weight category.
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:00 PM   #10
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that's true - although they do use some quarter horses I'm told. i also took a ride in the state forest adjoining Yosemite on the same trip and rode a quarter horse and it was fine. (actually my mule shied more - but not badly!))

As for weight/height - my 90 kg 6ft plus husband rode - some of the mules are very large- much larger than i expected,and larger than your average quarter horse.

but check the website to be sure.
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Old 05-12-2011, 11:07 PM   #11
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Straight from the horse's mouth (or the mule's mouth?)


Each Overnight Phantom Ranch rider must not weigh more than 200 lbs. (91 kilograms) fully dressed. Each 3 hour Abyss overlook rider must not weigh more than 225 lbs. (102k). Yes, we do weigh everyone. Each rider must be at least 4 feet, 7 inches (55 total inches or 1.38 meters) in height, regardless of previous riding experience. Each rider must be able to speak and understand fluent English. Each rider must be in good physical condition. Riders should not be afraid of heights or large animals. Rider cannot be pregnant.
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Old 06-18-2011, 12:45 PM   #12
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We visited the GC last spring and opted to not do the mule ride because my husband is 6'4" and 225 lbs. Also I hate and I do mean hate guided trips pretty much anywhere. I would rather spend as much or as little time as I want on my trip doing what I want to do.

We hiked down the trail last year and we could stop anywhere we wanted to take pictures or rest or just reflect. I have to say that the mules passed us as we were going up and they smelled BAD. I couldn't imagine smelling like that for the rest of the day...They were cool looking animals though. Lots taller than I thought they would be.
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