Monday, March 02, 2009

It was a cold...we arrived at night so I didn't see anything upon my arrival.Stepping out of my hotel room in the morning and taking a short walk out...I was blown away....you just hold your breath and say...am I really here?

I went to the Grand Canyon in August 2008 with my travel partner zhiling...we flew into Vegas, rented a car, took a one hour drive down to border city(where you see the Hoover Dam) and take another four hour drive to the South Rim. Please take note of the turning you are making because one wrong turn at a road fork will add quite a detour to the journey as the interstate signage are pretty far apart.

Walking along the grand canyon upper north rim is itself really a joy. Walking on the pebbled foot path, the serenity calms you, the cold gives you a slight chill outside, something that leaves the loving glow of the morning sun warming you in the deepest realm of your heart something most beautifully felt.You just want to squint your eyes, stretch your arms and just feel the place. Along your walk there are many souvenir shops. Artistically done and enclosed in wood cabins, these shops are like small museums to the observer or a little place to stock up with precious gifts for friends and family...


There are no fences except a short rock pile that mark the path's edge. A warning signs is all that stand between you and sitting on a limb like this.

And I didn't just sit there to cam whoar. It was genuinely something you have to try. At least a 10 storey fall if I were to slip and with no harness whatsoever you feel a tremble of fear that also strangely make you feel so free and so alive. everytime the wind takes a slight breath I get dizzy all over as fear rush through me....

But nothing was to prepare me for my upcoming mule ride down to plateau point where I was to look down to the Colorado river below. It started with a long brief by the master mule rider. He starts off by saying "This is not a pony ride at Disneyland." He then explains we are riding a mule and not a well bred horse so

1)a good whipping is necessary to ensure he doesn't fall asleep on the job and fall off the mountain bringing you with it..

2)Ensure the mule stays close together or he might suddenly become afraid and jump off.

3)Ensure you pull his head up and keep it that way or he may try to reach out for a leaf and fall off the mountain.

4) If anyone wants to quit please quit now because the trail is narrow and difficult to turn a mule...

And if you think the master mule rider was trying to make it needlessly dramatic, he's not. When it started, the mule ride was one of the biggest adrenaline rush I had in years...greater than when I rode the Kingda Ka, the highest fastest roller coaster in the world in new jersey. Don't believe me...see the video...whereas a roller coaster travel on a fixed rail and is only subject to mechanical failure, a mule can easily make a mistake and slip off the mountain. Where as the KingdaKa is over in 7 seconds a mule ride is three hours. Why is the mule ride so scary? Well...it is walking on a rather narrow path very very close to an edge that drops give or take 20 storeys...maybe more? Don't believe me? Watch the video here.


Crazy? Hahaha. I was freaking trembling for the first 3 minutes. But then you just go hell...I am already on and enjoy the ride...and what a ride it was. Along the journey, we have to drink alot of water and literally be be hosed down to our underwear at checkpoints because of the heat...I was reluctant to be wet as it feels terrible to be in soaked clothing but amazingly, as promised by my guide it went completely dry in fifteen minutes!

Upon reaching our destination...I really enjoyed riding and grew attached to my mule...it was a good mule. There are four ways to see the canyon. On foot, by mule, by boat(along the colorado river) or by helicopter. I chose the mule and think I made a good choice as the mule is the most immersive of the three. It is the same ride that President Franklin Roosevelt took many many years ago and it profoundly changed and affected him so much he proposed a National Service Act that became the basis of establishing many National Parks in the United States.

For me...it was...really beyond words....I think it will profoundly affect you too... so do mark it in your places to go...

4 comments:

HuonHengChai said...

gotta be there someday

rambochai said...

travel again ???!!!

evelyntai said...

jesus christ linus! my palm starts to sweat and my legs turns jello just seeing u sitting precariously on that rock. haiyoo!

FuGZ said...

What a beautiful sight! I've always wanted to drive a fast car with such scenaries. Given proper roads that is.

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Living Life to the full...I hope to live by the principle that success doesn't mean making a tonne of money though I am blessed that i do make a decent sum...but success equates to appreciateing all the God given wonder this world has to offer before my time is up...