Friday, September 23, 2005

I Go Away; I Come Back

Happy to be back among the connected, thanks to a new cable modem.  (I was a little concerned that I wouldn't get one.  I had appointments with cable guys to fix my TV as well as the modem, because my reception didn't look so hot on a few stations, and the TV Guy came before the Modem Guy.  The TV Guy discovered a problem with the cable which traced to somewhere outside my condo complex, so scheduled a maintenance call with the Outside Cable Guy.  He said this problem was likely also causing my modem trouble, so he said he would call off Modem Guy.  Conveniently, Modem Guy came anyway and simply swapped out my modem for a new one.  Instant success.)

Now that I'm back, I'll be going away again.  I have to catch a plane real early tomorrow morning.  For Phoenix.  Where I'll be renting a car, and driving up to the Grand Canyon for a vacation with a friend of mine, Kathy.

Kathy just had a big birthday, and wanted to go someplace fun and outdoorsy and a little adventurey to celebrate.  She decided on the whole riding-mules-into-the-Grand-Canyon-(and-back-out-again) thing.  Complete with overnighting at Phantom Ranch inside the canyon.  We've been planning this for months.  We have to get on the early flight tomorrow because we need to make it to the Transportation Desk before it closes tomorrow night, so we can check-in for our mule ride taking place the next day.

I've never been to the Grand Canyon.  The closest I've been was that once, when I was about 12, I was on a jet flying cross-country and the pilot pointed it out when we flew over.  Big big canyon.  I took pictures, from however many thousand feet we were flying.

Whenever I watch The Amazing Race, I always figure that if I was on the show, I'd be the fearless one.  I mean, I'd need my partner to be the strong one (and the one who can eat gross things), but I'd be up for all the bungee jumping, zip-line riding, and jumping out of airplanes.

The more I read about this mule thing, though, the more scary it sounds.  Not having seen the Canyon in person (or, come to think of it, a mule), I had a fairly innocent mental picture of riding down a trail (with lots of switchbacks) on a gentle incline, on some low riding critter with my feet hanging just a foot or so off the ground.

Heh.  Idiot.  Now I'm reading things about riding a big, huge animal ("don't confuse mules with donkeys," says their information, "mules are often bigger than horses") which sometimes likes to "back off the trail" (says one website -- the italics are theirs) along "steep cliffs" and some sort of "suspension bridge" for roughly five hours each way.

Uh-huh.

Oh, and Weather.com is predicting scattered thunderstorms that day.

For some reason, I've signed my Advance Health Care Directive this week.

Seems that I find it real easy to consider myself all fearless when you're talking about a momentary decision.  I mean, when you're talking about bungee jumping or parachuting, it doesn't take much to force yourself to take that one step and then let gravity do its thing.  It takes, if you will, momentary balls.  This mule thing, however, looks to take about ten hours of sustained Not Being Freaked Out.

Eek.

I'll be back in civilization on Wednesday, to report on how it went.

3 comments:

ravenlark2 said...

Sounds scary and yet like the chance of a lifetime all at once. I hope you have fun and find a sensible Mule that wont back off too many trails.

Take care hun!

-Raven

hewasolddog299 said...

I know you've left already, but I just wanted to warn you that 5 hours on muleback to an unconditioned rider is supposedly something akin to a gang rape by the SanFancisco 49ers.

Right.  Back there.

Despite all that, I am sooooo jealous. And I wish you and Karen the best of luck and marvelous weather for the whole trip.

wil

andreakingme said...

Hah! I can hardly wait to read how it went. Be as wordily detailed as you want, Z Girl.