“Do you have any experience riding?”
“It’s been a few years…..”
To clarify, it had been quite a bit more than a few years since I’d ridden a horse, let alone a mule. I think my cowboy hat gave out a false sense that I knew what I was doing.
“Let’s pair you up with Susy Q, she’s a good mule.”
A quick refresher lesson on how to use the reins, etc…to ride Susy Q were given, and we were off, going down the North Kaibob trail of the Grand Canyon.
Sure footed and steady, Susy Q was the greatest four legged companion I could have asked for. We took the hairpins turns with grace, and I never felt nervous as she stepped precariously close to the edge.
I felt free.
A couple of hours later, we reach the Supai tunnel, dismount from our mules and take a break to stretch and let the mules rest.
Thunder booms in the canyon, and dark clouds are moving quickly across the skyline.
We look up and prepare to get soaked as we start the return journey.
Good favor is upon us though, as we only get a a few sprinkles that dissipate almost as soon as they fall.
We pause for a moment to reflect upon the beauty at Coconino point. Susy Q is now my trusty steed, and I do not want to leave her.
“Good girl, Susy Q.”
I pat the nape of her neck one last time before I swing my leg up and over the saddle. I look into her eyes and make that connection between man and beast, then the skies open up with a furious banter, and the rains fall in buckets.