UPDATE 9/19/2020: In 2015 the Mules were traveling through Ventana Wilderness in Monterey County where we had the pleasure of staying at Rancho Salsipuedes owned by Timothy Bottoms. We enjoyed our stay at the Rancho and learning of its unique history, which is documented in our original blog post below.
Rancho Salsipuedes is a rare place. About 12 miles inland in Big Sur, it is one of the LAST standing California Homesteads that is not owned by the government or by a corporation. It has been in the hands of The Bottoms family since 1975. It has been untouched by overdevelopment, remaining in all of its glory. It has been looked after with true, pure, authentic love for the natural world.
Dolan Fire Perimeter, Monterey County, September 2020
We have come to find out about the Dolan wildfire that started August 18, 2020 and one month later continues to burn with only 46% perimeter containment. This wildfire ravaged thru and over the Rancho Salsipuedes, which we are very sorry to hear about.
In 2015, We left our palomino mule, Who Dee Doo, at Rancho Salsipuedes and glad to see in the photo below that he made it through the fire okay.
The Bottom’s family friend, Caitlin Ackerman, has organized a GoFundMe fundraiser to help the remaining horses and rebuild Rancho Salsipuedes. Please click on this linkto read more about this special place and donate if you can. Warning, there are graphic images of the animals domestic and wildlife that didn’t survive.
Here is our original blog post that we wrote October 20, 2015:
October 20, 2015 – Rancho Salsipuedes:
Three Mules and one monk were walking south through Fort Hunter Liggett on a road bordering the Los Padres National Forest when a gentleman by the name of Timothy Bottoms stopped his Jeep, got out, introduced himself and asked if the kids needed water or hay for he had brought some. The monk responded, “No. We are okay. Thank you.”
He then invited us to his ranch to take a break. We said yes that would be nice. So we walked to his ranch, which is surrounded by the Ventana Wilderness, and took a break.
Tim asked if we needed anything in the way of supplies, gear, etc. The monk responded with a yes. Our pack boxes were over 25 years old and worn to the bone. Tim said he would be glad to help so he did by supplying us with four new pack boxes.
Who Dee Do
Who Dee Do, our third mule will be staying at Tim’s ranch. He never became easy for me to shoe. He had to be sedated and that was not a practical scheme for us walking through the Megatropolis.
Who Dee Do will be living with Tim’s horses and mules, a great place for Who Dee Do to live.
The Mules say thank you to Timothy Bottoms for his kindness and support he has shown the mules, the identifiers of this ages old nomadic way of life living with respect and reverence for this beautiful place called Earth, the home of human beings. ~The Mules
About Rancho Salsipuedes: “Nestled in the verdant, peaceful valley, stands the thick adobe walls of the Mission San Antonio de Padua’s Portreros Mulos built by the caretaker friar and several neophytes…it established ranch support for the mission mules.
After secularization in 1834, the property came under the private ownership of Vicente Avile, who purchased the drought stricken Rancho for the stately sum of $13, all he had in his pocket. The Rancho remained in the family estate for over one hundred years.
The Avila Ranch, a 160-acre homestead, became known as Salsipuedes (“get out if you can”), which was later sold to Timothy Bottoms in 1975 as a family refuge.”
On the ranch is an old stone cabin and oven built sometime in late 1800s/early 1900s.
The trails surrounding the property are very difficult to travel and impassable with overgrown brush and fallen trees. During the time we were waiting for our pack boxes to arrive, we spent our time clearing these trails.
On Sunday, March 8, 2020, 40-year-old Lady moved from her retirement home in the Central Valley to her new home in northern California. The Mules thank Sharon for taking such good care of Lady for the past 3 years.
As these photos show, Lady could never have had a better caring friend.
Thank you, Sharon. Jane, another member of the 3 Mules Nation, came to pick up Lady and bring Lady to her new home. We know that Jane will give Lady another great home.
Thank you Candice for once again giving your energy of service to the 3 Mules Nation by finding Lady a new home with Jane. Other animals live on the ranch to keep Lady company.
When the Mules got into Bakersfield, we went to Tractor Supply looking for Pure Neats foot oil. As we returned to the mules, a lady named Lori was waiting with the mules. She introduced herself and her husband Chuck. She told us that she has been watching the 3 Mules page for many a year. Lori also told us how she contacted CHP and the District Attorney expressing her disgust anger as to the Mules illegal arrest and confinement.
The Mules thanked Lori for the energy of her effort on our behalf as well as the many others of the 3 Mules Nation who did likewise. For if the collective energy of the 3 Mules Nation had not been used, the Mules would right now be using the hacksaw blade we found in our pillow to saw through the bars and take our rightful place on the public thoroughfare showing all who pass our way, there is nothing more precious on this earth than true human freedom.
Lori told us she lived close by and we were welcome to stay the night. It was gettin close to that time so we gratefully accepted her offer. Her kids set up a make shift corral where the mules spent three comfortable nights. Thank you Lori and her nice family for the hospitality they showed the Mules.
As the picture shows it is very easy to accommodate an equestrian traveler as a guest in many suburban communities. These gated housing developments that are springing up everywhere are planned and engineered in such a way as to exclude most outside activity other than getting out of an automobile, walking 40 feet to the front door and going inside, which is the real purpose of an engineered gated community to keep you inside, isolated, dependent and addicted to the internet of things.
In an ever increasing number of cities and towns, city councils are being unduly influenced and pressured to pass ordinances, codes that make any free spontaneous activity in your neighborhood virtually impossible. The 3 mule journey and its nomadic ages old lifestyle pushes back all day every day, one step at a time, against this damning Megatropolis and its goal of disconnection, isolation from the Web of Life, the Natural World.
Jerrod Mayfield of Mayfield Equine Services has shoed the Mules in the Bakersfield area many times. Once again, Jerrod gave his energy and skill to the 3 Mules endless journey.
A journey showing respect and reverence for earth our home and all its inhabitants. A journey using the energy of this ages old sacred relationship between human being and horse showing all those who the 3 Mules pass the extreme value of a spiritual connection to the natural world and the web of life which nourishes us all.
On February 5, I posted on the 3Mules Facebook page that my favorite sandals were finally worn to the bone and that my Teva‘s are the best and longest lasting sandal of all sandals that I’ve worn in the past 25 years. The next day, Tevacommented on our Facebook post:
“Hello John and Mules! We have seen quite a few of your followers reach out to us about your journeys, and we are honored that our Teva’s have been your shoe of choice for the last 25 Years. Thank you for sharing your amazing stories through your blog, website and Facebook as these are the stories that people not only want to hear but should hear. Who could not use some amazing down to earth travel stories through nature the way it was intended? Teva loves those that live for moments of discovery and awe.
It brings us joy when people find newness and wonder in each new experience — from every day to epic and we feel like you embody this perfectly. We really enjoyed taking the time to read about your travels and the amazing company of mules that you take care of. It would be our privilege to be a part of the three mules nation. In such we would love to help you out with some new Teva’s so that you can continue your travels from San Diego to Sacramento and everywhere in between. Please reach out to us in private messages so we can discuss in further detail all the information. We look forward to hearing from you.”
I responded back to Teva in a private message and they answered back with a link to select which model sandal we wanted and other info needed.
Yesterday, our new Teva Terra Fi 5 Universal sandals in Wavy Trail Black arrived. These sandals fit perfectly. Thank you Teva for sending us another pair of great comfortable sandals and the many people who wrote Teva asking if they would send the Mules another pair.
Report to the 3 Mules Nation on our new friend and addition to our endless journey – Little Ethel
The Mules went to Texas using the bus to get to Amarillo and look at two mules which we had found on an internet site that appeared to meet our requirements to join us on our journey, but they were not what we had expected. [See Amarillo, Texas post.]
We spent about a week in Amarillo scouring the internet, living outside and using a bike as transport. We were receiving many leads of mules for sale from the many people who were following the 3 Mules Facebook page and website 3Mules.com. However, most good leads were more than a hundred miles away and my scheme of using a bicycle to go from one lead to the next no longer seemed too practical.
The Mules decided to return to California. A lady named Barbara e-mailed us that she would like to pay our bus fare back to California. We accepted and thanked her for her support and generosity. So the pink carryall bag and myself traveled back to California by bus.
Our pink carry all bag at bus depot
The day before we were set to return to California, Annie, whose place where Little Girl was staying while the Monk was in Texas, found an internet site in Arizona advertising a 10 year old sorrel molly mule, 15 hands, 2 inches height, over a thousand pounds and halter broke only for $600 and named Little Ethel (isn’t that interesting?). Annie messaged me if I would be interested in Little Ethel. For $600, the monk replied, “Absolutely.”
Ad post for Little Ethel
Annie contacted the owner using her skill and experience, assessed the authenticity of the advertisement and circumstance. She then messaged the Mules her opinion. We messaged her back, yes please, purchase that mule named Little Ethel. Annie arranged with an Arizona vet to have the mule checked out and get Coggins test done. [A “Coggins” is a blood test that detects antibodies to the disease Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA). This is a virus that can cause affected horses and mules to have fevers, anemia (low red blood cell count), edema (stocking up), or weight loss/muscle wasting. EIA is a relative of the virus that causes HIV in humans. Horses that become infected will carry the disease for life.]
Coggins Test Results for Little Ethel
A couple of days prior to arriving in Texas, Wendy from the Three Mules Nation, who we met a several years ago while in Orange and stayed in her backyard for a night, messaged the Mules that her husband Michael and herself would be passing through Amarillo on the 19th of May on their way back to California and would have an empty space in their horse trailer should we have found a mule and need transport for it back to California.
Annie contacted Wendy and made arrangements for Little Ethel to be picked up in Dewey, Arizona and brought to Annie’s place in California where Little Girl is staying.
After Wendy arrived in Dewey, Arizona, she took and sent us these two photos of Little Ethel.
Little Girl, Annie and Little Ethel
Little Ethel turned out to be everything her previous owner said she was and more. The three of us, Little Girl, Little Ethel and myself will be heading northward on our journey.
Little Girl training Little Ethel
The Mules say thank you to all those of the 3 Mules Nation for giving their energy and support which has materialized into Little Ethel, a new mule and friend ready to serve this Nation of like-minded people who know the extreme value of living, walking in harmony and balance with our home, the Earth.
Note: While our trip to Texas appeared to be a failure, in the end, due to the energy of the Nation, the 3 Mules Nation, harbored and waiting to materialize from the collective effort of all those of that Nation, a new friend Little Ethel was made to serve us all.
Little Girl with pink carry-all and Little Ethel grazing in the desert.
On Sunday, March 24, 2019, farrier Dustin Brown of Dusty Dreams Horse Shoeing came out to us in Poway to shoe Little Girl and did a fine job. The Mules say thank you to Dustin and his family Steve, Carolyn, Jennifer for their kind and generous support to the Mules on this endless journey of one human being traveling with his/her equine companion in any one of all four directions, symbolizing the freedom and sacred ages old relationship between Humanity and Horse as can only be experienced on this unique place we all call home, the Earth.
May it never end and it won’t as long as those who understand the sacredness of this relationship and meet their responsibility to protect and preserve for the generations to come. ~The Mules
On a warm summer day many thousands of years ago, the mules were crossing a wide open valley and they had stopped to graze and rest a bit. Then all of a sudden, the sky became a brilliant blue like the mules had never before seen. All the plants, grasses, rocks, and trees suddenly became multi-dimensional and intense.
The mules stood in awe at what they were experiencing. Then the Mules realized they were in the presence of God. The mules looked to the left and the right and they saw all their fellow companions that they shared this beautiful creation – God’s Earth with grizzly, elk, lion, badger, skunk, salmon, eagle coming in and around them.
The mules and the animal kingdom stood and waited for what was to come. Then God spoke. God said, “Mules, you’ve been here on Earth long enough. I offer you the gates to heaven.”
All the spectating members of the animal kingdom became extremely saddened because they did not want to lose the energy and company of their longtime companions. The mules then spoke back to God. “No we do not seek the gates to heaven for we love the Earth so much we can never conceive not being here.”
The bright blue intense sky lost its unusual luster and the intensity felt by the mules diminished. God’s presence had left abruptly. Many days had come to pass and the mules once again were grazing another long beautiful valley contemplating the majesty of this place where they found themselves forever wanting to be.
Then all of a sudden as before, the sky became a brilliant lustrous blue and an embracing force of intensity surrounded the mules and all the animal kingdom which had come once again to witness this encounter between God and the mules. A long period of a mystifying calm ensued.
Then God spoke. “Mules, I’ve created this place in which you can reside, prosper and enjoy this Natural World and its web of Life which I have created. You the mules will be required to live with love, respect and reverence all day every day one step at a time for my creation. Showing all those who pass through this earthly dimension the extreme importance to themselves and their future to maintain the integrity and well-being of life on this earth, a place you the mules have chosen to stay.”
God then said to the mules, “Deal or No Deal?”
The mules replied without hesitation, “Deal.”
So this is how the mules many thousands of years ago became to be and reside in this place, a place for anybody and everybody who wishes to stay on Earth and give all their energy to God’s creation by the sacred Act of walking all day everyday one step at a time