Over the Fence: I Heart Brighty


    Have you ever read Marguerite Henry’s wonderful 1953 children’s book, Brighty of the Grand Canyon? If you haven’t, I highly recommend it – it’s one of my all-time favorite children’s books.


    I was just looking at some pictures from my family’s adventures out west not too long ago. On our trip, we drove through the incredible Kaibab National Forest in Arizona and, after going up and up and up (then up some more), we arrived at the Grand Canyon’s breezy North Rim, where they routinely have 13 feet of snow on the ground during winter. While the fantastic heights delighted my boys and terrified me, I was surprise to find an old equine friend up there. I had completely forgotten that my old pal Brighty lived on the North Rim.




    Brighty was given the name Bright Angel after the creek that flowed into the canyon from his home on the North Rim (where he lived from 1892 to 1922). He carried spring water up the steep trail from the creek for visitors during the summers and gave rides to children. But really he was a wild burro who roamed the canyon. According to the National Park Service brochure, many of the facts about Brighty in Henry’s book are true: he was the first to cross the bridge at the bottom of the canyon, and he did meet Theodore Roosevelt. Brighty may just be the best burro ever. But, aren’t they all?

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    1. I remember reading about Brighty….at first I was disappointed that he was not a pony, but once reading about him, I wanted my own donkey.


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