On May 22, 2017, the Mules crossed over Donner Pass using Old Highway 40. We went down the grade past Donner Lake. Having walked about 15 miles, we came upon Donner Memorial State Park. It was about 4pm. We decided to stop for the day and Donner Memorial State Park was the obvious place to rest for the night.
We entered the park, tied Little Girl to a lamp pole in the parking lot and went to the park’s visitor center. We approached the ranger behind the desk and asked if the Mules could spend the night. The ranger responded, “Absolutely not. Park regulations forbid any equestrian use inside this park.”
The Mules pay taxes. We pay between 9% to 10% sales tax on everything we buy. Everybody knows business doesn’t pay taxes, people do. When the Mules buy a product, they have paid most of the taxes that were levied by the State to get that product inside the store and onto the shelf.
The Mules ask only for the most bare bones use of the park. Simply put – enter the park, walk to the corner behind the maintenance yard, secure the mules to the fence, remove the packs, make the Mules comfortable for the night, put our bed roll on the ground, sleep, rise in the morning, clean up after ourselves and leave as we came living and walking with respect and reverence for the Natural World.
To deny the Mules or any equestrian this most bare bones use – pennies on the dollar cost to the Park system is blatantly illegal.
The Mules will be bringing the creative, magical energy of the nation, the Three Mule Nation, to make this request for an equestrian to use a state park to stop and rest for a night to every park by which we pass on our endless journey through time and space.
Three Mule Nation followers have asked what they could do.
Write your local state representative, the Director of State Parks and the Park Superintendent to get State of California Department of Parks and Recreation Order No. 683-17-015 modified to allow anybody traveling the state by horse or pack animal on foot to stay and rest for the night behind the maintenance yard in all California state parks.
Sleeping and resting is a basic need for all animals and humans to survive. The ranger said that even in these parks listed on order no 683-17-015 that allow horses and pack animals, they are allowed for day use only and cannot spend the night in these parks.
Last night around 11:20pm, Little Girl woke me up as she was exhaling loudly out of her nose, stomping her foot and staring intently at one spot. I grabbed my flashlight, sat up in my sleeping bag and shined my flashlight toward the direction Little Girl was looking. Back shined the reflection of two eyes staring back at us. It was a bear about 40 feet away, which then turned and walked away.
After that, I went back to sleep. An hour later, Little Girl started blowing out of her nose again because the bear came back. This time I got out of my sleeping bag, stood up and raised my arms to make myself look big. The bear walked away and didn’t come back anymore, but it was difficult falling back to sleep.
Tonight, Little Girl and I are resting in a different location.
Kolby saw the Mules when we were walking through Stockton. He saw our 3 Mules sign and started watching our Facebook page. When he saw our request for need of a horseshoer he messaged us that he would be glad to donate his energy to the endless journey of the 3 Mules Nation, living with respect and reverence for the natural world and all it’s inhabitants. Thank you Kolby and to his wife Cassye for coming to Colfax to shoe Little Girl.
Yesterday as the Mules were walking in Sacramento, Lieutenant Freeman stopped to greet us and ask how we were doing. We met Lt. Freeman back in 2013 the first time we brought the energy of the nation, The 3 Mules Nation, into the confines of Sacramento.
The Mules had a good conversation with Lt. Freeman. The Mules talked about our ages old nomadic way of life and the positive effects of it being shown and practiced in Sacramento and all other cities throughout the state. Lt. Freeman agreed.
The 3 Mules Nation says thank you to the citizens of Sacramento, Lt. Freeman, and Sacramento Police Department for our safe and enjoyable passage through Sacramento, the capitol city of California.
On May 1, 2017 the Mules entered the Elk Grove in Sacramento county.
On the outskirts of town near Dillard Road, we came across the remnants of a 22 train car derailment that occurred during the heavy winter rains that flooded the area in February. We haven’t seen a derailment like this in a long time.
We found an quiet spot to rest with lots of green grass and shade to give Little Girl some rest. Here, the birds were singing and the geese were flying overhead releasing their energy of magic and power spurring the Mules into a new day of the same.
After we arrived in Sacramento, we spent the night along an abandoned railroad line. In the morning, I released Little Girl from her picket line so she could graze while I fixed my oatmeal for breakfast. Upon finishing breakfast, I went to get Little Girl about 200 feet away then packed her up. Off we went for another spontaneous unplanned day in the 3 Mule Nation.
Got to a Starbucks, secured Little Girl to a tree, went in, and charged my phone. Thank you Starbucks.
After phone got charged, we proceeded north to Del Paso and turned east. It was getting hot so we decided to stop and rest Little Girl under a tree. We were there for an hour when police showed up in two patrol cars, two officers asking many questions.
The first question we were asked was why were we here. They said somebody called saying there was a horse tied to a tree. Didn’t mention me. I was six feet away. One officer said he had had two horses and he knew that a horses should not be out in the heat. I just dropped my jaw, asked if I was being detained, received no answer, untied Little Girl and left. End of our resting time.
We proceeded along the boulevard for a mile went into a parking lot, got under a small tree and stopped.
Shortly afterwards, a reporter for the Sacramento Bee showed up, said he was curious as to what we were about and asked if he could interview us. We said sure, so he did for about 30 minutes asking questions and taking video. We explained our ages old nomadic way of life and the reason why we continue to live the way we do to preserve and exercise everybody’s right to travel by foot in the public thoroughfare and rest for the night. We saw the article and video that the Sacramento Bee posted online.
We were displeased of what the Bee published, focusing on the trivial and had no mention of our purpose of what we do all day every day. Following the Bee post, reporters from CBS13 and ABC10 have reached out and requested an interview with the Mules. We have not called them back as we found from past experience, local news stations cannot adequately report who The Mules are in the thirty seconds that they have to air a story, and most often the story is edited down to fluff. We find that the only three writers who have every captured the Mules true essence are Rick Paulas for The Kernel/The Daily Dot, Mark Luckach for The Atlantic, and Sarah Christie’s column for Mules and More. These articles are posted here.
Later that night, we found a place to rest for the evening/sleep.
The next day, as we were traveling through the Sacramento megatropolis, temperatures was in the 90s. It was time to obtain Little Girl a drink of water. We stopped at a business, asked if we could get water from the faucet on his building and person said no. He said that if we did try to get any water from the faucet, he would call the police.
This response to our request prompted the Mules to bring forth and into view Mule Proclamation 2645-B passed by the legislature of common sense and decency. This Proclamation states as follows: “Any corporation, business or private party who refuses any person traveling with or without an animal companion water for said personnel survival has committed an act of extreme inhumanity. A penalty of not less than 10 years in a not so nice place plus a $50,000.00 fine which will be placed in a multi-use state trail system fund, which will be assessed against the convicted.
The Mules will be in the Sacramento area showing how we live and the challenges we meet on a day to day basis and gathering people’s thoughts and energy as we walk along. In the past few days, Little Girl and I have enjoyed meeting and talking to many of the Three Mule Nation followers that live in the Sacramento Megatropolis.
The Mules are pleased to say that for every negative encounter the Mules may experience as we walk north, south, east, west, when we choose, how we choose, we have ten times more positive experiences with people that we meet while walking and living responsibly outside all day every day.