Meeting the Mules

By Kimberly Sherwood, San Clemente, CA

A few days after extending an offer to 3 Mules to drive them around the south corridor that has been closed to al except cyclists, or to give Little Girl shelter or feed during the storm, I had not heard anything from John. I wondered how they were faring and what success they had dealing with Cal Trans. John had requested a solution from them as they have not kept an open route for all to use, which is apparently required by state law.

I was in touch with Amanda Hicks and Bri Alvarez, who also wanted to offer assistance, and through messages I finally caught up to Amanda and was able to check in with John. First off, for all those concerned that Little Girl is suffering, she isn’t. She was resting under a tree while her owner picked up supplies. She nickered as he came back. Her weight is good, her hooves look good, she has a nice winter coat and looks healthy. Her packs are padded and balanced. She is absolutely not abused. 

John told me that he had obtained an escort who is allowed to walk him through Camp Pendleton so he can traverse the “closed to pedestrians and equestrians area”. It is wonderful to know that he can continue on his own terms. God bless the man who is escorting him. I asked John to call me if his escort falls through, as I can probably help him find another one, or offer him a ride. 

During our short conversation I learned that having a support base helps keep him safe in his journey. We spoke of the great lessons learned living outdoors with his equine companion. How it would be a great learning experience for Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and other groups to earn merit badges by making a trip through nature in this style. John used to hike and camp in BLM and park land, but now goes through more populated areas as well, showing that it is possible to create space everywhere to connect with nature and animals, and to live in greater harmony with others. I mentioned that he is inadvertently helping people like me. Equestrians who are rapidly losing trails and wilderness areas along with pastureland. 

He said he has learned that the key to success in finding a solution is putting forth energy. That if enough energy is put out by enough people in a positive way the solution will come. He is incredibly knowledgeable and forward thinking. Speaking to him allowed me to envision a lot in just a few short minutes. 

Godspeed John and Little Girl. I am sending positive energy your way and look forward to your return as it would be a great pleasure to join you for a few miles of your journey with a mustang. I believe in what you are doing. Thank you for sharing your life with the rest of us. 

My girls are wondering if after they grow up I am going to wander the state with mules or mustangs now. What I am wondering is what it would be like to create a place that teaches people to do pack trips and connect with nature and animals. Kind of like an exploration camp with equines.


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4 thoughts on “Meeting the Mules”

  1. I saw John and the mules today in San Juan Capistrano. They sure looked tired. I told him about our wonderful dedicated trail (he wasn’t far from it) if he didn’t want to walk on the sidewalk of a busy street. He said the mules were used to it. He was very wary and didn’t really want to talk. Can’t say as I blame him. He’s had some rough experiences. I’d read about his journey long ago and am honored that I happened to see him here. I wish him all the good fortune the universe can bestow. He’s a good man with a good vision!

  2. Hi! I was so happy to meet John Sears and Little Girl in the parking lot of Grocery Outlet in Allied Gardens today. Man and animal have lived in partnership for thousands of years; in our culture we have lost much of that connection, but it calls to us. Keep on!

  3. I think its great what you are doing. I saw a post that you were at the dollar store in the Diane shopping center today and read a few posts that I didn’t like…like “call the humane society” for a man and his mule? Keep on walking trouble free. You have every right to!

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