For nearly 30 years, a small, unassuming little burro lived free deep within the Grand Canyon.
He was called Brighty, named after the creek he called home. He spent years, roaming between the depths of the canyon, and the heights of the rim. Many a human tried to tame him, and harness him for their service over the years; but Brighty was set on maintaining his freedom.
Brighty came to the Canyon around the year 1892. He initially gained his freedom, as is so often the case, as the result of the Canyon's many perils. He was found, wandering aimlessly along the banks of the Bright Angel Creek, deep within the chasm. It was through this association that he was bestowed the name "Bright Angel". Eventually that name was shortened to "Brighty", and it stuck.
Ever the migrator bird, Brighty would remain within the warm depths of the gorge while snow blanketed the Canyon Rim. It was as if that white snow was keeping him fenced within the canyon walls. But the moment the seasons began to change, and the temperature in the canyon became oppressively warm, Brighty would high-tail it up the canyon walls. He would follow his namesake creek up, to find the cool mountain air of the North Rim.
Once the cool breezes of the North Rim had called him back, Brighty could often be found visiting a nearby cabin, known as Willy's Camp. All summer long he would gladly offer his services to the Camp's kids... and only the kids. Day after day, he would willingly pack tin containers, filled with water from the nearby spring, keeping the camp and its inhabitants supplied with crisp, clean water.
Though kids could coax Brighty into giving them rides, the moment any of the older boys mounted him, and demanded more than work than he felt was fair, Brighty would kick up his heels and introduce those boys to the hard ground.
It was much the same for the adults that asked too much of him, too. Given the opportunity, Brighty would shake off his shackles and make a break for freedom. Even when a bell was fastened around his beck, the dogged burro managed to learn how to move without disturbing the clapper!
Sometimes he would lead his captors on a merry chase... running around in circles, presenting his head and neck as a target for their lassoes... only to duck his head at the last moment. The chase would continue, Brighty evading capture as long as he could manage; ducking through the brush, until the his weary would-be captors finally managed to snare him. At that point he would come along amiably, ears pricked as if to say, "Well boys... ya got me. But I gave you a good run, didn't I?"
Regardless of his free spirit, Brighty didn't always shirk from the work adults asked him to do. In the winter of 1921, when the government set about building a suspension bridge across the great Colorado River, Brighty was seen observing the workers as the expanse of the bridge took shape.