>  Family Travel Stories   >  Mule Trekking in Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon

Trust a Mule? With your life and yours kids’ lives? Why should you?! I did—and here’s why…

It was during a mule ride down into Bryce Canyon National Park that I truly learned how to trust an animal and understood how I could rely on an animal’s knowledge to get me where I needed to be. But that’s not the biggest gift that I got!

Family mule trekking in Bryce canyon

As soon as everyone got on a mule and we started down the path, my fascination with the mule’s behavior began. The mules followed each other down the steep dirt path with ease—no prodding needed. The path, much to my dismay, was declining rapidly. I didn’t look down because I was determined to give this experience to my kids. The mules seemed to be on auto pilot. They knew the order in which to line up, the points where to turn, and which flowers tasted better than others.

My daughters panicked as they looked down and saw how much we were going to descend. It was incredible. “There is no reason to panic,” I said. “Just trust the mule,” I heard myself say through gritted teeth, yet I felt my own panic rising. What had I gotten us into? How would I get through this trip?

“Trust the mule.” I said this over and over to my kids. It became my mantra, to myself and to them. This trust had to be accomplished quickly, because the hike into the canyon is 600 feet deep—and the drop starts immediately.

Nerves tingling, I repeated my mantra, over and over to myself, “Trust the animals, trust them.”

Mule trekking in Bryce canyon

Just as I began to trust my mule, Bongee, she came to an abrupt halt, on a very steep edge. I looked down and held my body back, terror filling me. She had stopped to eat? Was she crazy?! I only hoped that the other mules didn’t stop to snack too. What would possess this mule to stop and reach out for this snack? Did this flower hold some kind of magical power that would help us get down, and the up again, safely.

I pulled the harness up and yelled out, “No, snacks. Let’s move it.” The next thing I knew, my kids burst into laughter and suddenly my nerves calmed down and the ride seemed much easier. Humor is a great healer of all things, and I highly suggest you take it on all of your trips!

Finally! Trust formed, and I relaxed enough to look up, to really “SEE” where we were. An absolute marvel of nature’s mastery! And I thought, “This is why. This is the reason for the ride.”

And the BEAUTY! The Nature Cathedral in Bryce National Park, made of white, orange, red and pink arches and pillars, holds a unique beauty; a sacredness. Trees were scattered about, some scorched by lightning, in stark contrast to some that stood green offering us welcome shade. We had made it! We were in Bryce Canyon!

Bongee made seeing all of this possible. She knew I trusted her and thought the world of her as she climbed up the trail on the way back. She worked hard. She deserved my trust, as did all the mules. My heart felt lighter, and I felt the satisfaction of having completed an amazing journey with my beautiful daughters. We all felt a deep satisfaction. These are the memories that bind and build strong foundations.

We were fortunate to see more than one of Nature’s Cathedrals; to connect individually and together as a family, on a spiritual level; to learn to trust ourselves, our animals, and their spirits trusting ours. The gift of being in harmony with All of Nature, All of God’s creatures—Priceless.

post a comment


7 Ways to Channel Your Inner Backpacker:

A 30-Day Calendar Guide

Receive easy tips to flex your adventure muscles and build skills for transformative travel.

You are now subscribed!