Attempted Murder by a Smurf
When I went to work at the mule barn at the Grand Canyon, I was given a short little buckskin mule named Smurfy to ride. Ron must have thought we would make a good pair, as we were both short and fat.Harry Hadley had broke her. We trained the mules by using them as guide mules.
If you trained a mule, you got to name them, and Harry thought Smurfy was as cute as a little Smurf. Smurfy was considered quite gentle. She was with Harry because she either liked or respected him. Probably both, because a mule won’t like you, unless they respect you.
Smurfy held neither of these emotions toward me. Mules are plotters and have great patience. She knew if she waited long enough, she would have a chance to kill me. Her first attempt happened at Little Panarama on the Kaibab Trail. It juts out to a point and then drops several hundred feet, straight down to the Colorado. I was still training and it was my first attempt at leading a group out of Phantom. I was doing a ‘push pull’ with Wood Booger Johnny. He was bringing up the rear with ten dudes between us. When we headed up the trail, we stopped at various points to rest the mules. At these rests we give little talks about the canyon, or tell stories to keep people alert and interested.
I had just finished my little speech and got a drink of water. When I hung my water jug back on the saddle horn, Smurfy was either extremely teed off at something I said, or had decided that now was the perfect time to dispose of me. She did a couple of crow hops and then, bolted, farted and ran. I was caught off guard and don’t admit to being a rider of bucking stock. I congratulated myself on staying on her, but very soon, my celebratory mood soon turned to ‘Oh, (insert bad word here)!’ Pick any, because I probably said it under my breath. Smurfy was headed at a very high rate of speed, straight to the edge of Little Panarama.
It seemed that she wanted to kill me, and didn’t mind dying, trying. That is unusual for a mule. Self preservation being one of their strongest traits. Evidently, meanness was a little stronger in the Smurf that day. I bailed off with trepidation, but swiftly, none the less. My idea that she was out to kill us both seem to be confirmed when she came to a dead stop after I hit the ejection button.I got back on, but let Wood Booger lead. We passed some hikers up the trail that seemed to enjoy the Wild West Show and asked if I had done it on purpose for entertainment.
When I got back to the mule barn that afternoon, the tale of my adventure was told. My husband, who really was not quite confident in my abilities to wrangle dudes and ride a mule at the same time, got Wood Booger aside. He asked him why in the world had I baled off evil little Smurfy. Wood Booger answered in his slow southern drawer, ‘Well, at the time, it was the right thing to do’.
Come on down to dirt road…nothing here bucks, but we got stuff as pretty as the Grand Canyon.
Be blessed…Trailer Park