Rendezvous with Lady

The Mules traveled from the south to rendezvous with Lady in Auburn where she is now living and being very well cared for by Jane.

We slept under three apple trees in which Little Girl and Little Ethel enjoyed the fallen fruit each day. The fresh winter squash from Jane’s garden was also delicious.

While we were here, Little Ethel and Little Girl got a new pair of shoes. Thank you Candice, a long time supporter of the 3 Mules journey and her farrier Greg White for shoeing the kids.

Like the geese, the Mules now turn to the south and head for San Diego. And while Lady no longer travels with the Mules physically, she will be with us spiritually as we continue our journey south.

The Mules

Lady watching us leave as we continue our endless journey south.
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Ventana Wilderness – Rancho Salsipuedes

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 Map
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 link to 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.

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Lady’s New Retirement Home

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.

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Mules stopping to visit their long-time companion Lady

On our way south, Little Girl and I stopped to visit Lady, who looks great and is being given the best of care along with her pasture mate Coco.

We waited here for ten days for a $300 6-hour life skills class in Fresno that we were required to attend by the Alameda County District Attorney for our arrest by the California Highway Patrol in Castro Valley.

Now Little Girl and myself will continue on our migratory journey south to the San Diego area.

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The Mules and their year-long medical adventure

Last year in February 2016, the Mules left Santa Barbara and went up and over the Los Padres mountain range when our bladder stone made itself known. From that date until now, we haven’t done much traveling due to the discomfort and pain caused by the stone.

Wind Wolves Preserve, Bakersfield, CA

February to April 2016
It took us 12 days to cross the Los Padres Mountains. We made our way over the mountain, dropped into the San Emigdio Canyon and wound up at the Wind Wolves Preserve where we stayed for a number of weeks as we tried to figure out this growing discomfort. We worked on clearing the overgrown trail and making rock cairns on the trail in upper San Emigdio Canyon to mark the way to Pine Mountain Club. [Watch our video that we created of our Trail Work at Wind Wolves Preserve]

May 2016
We were notified that oral arguments for our case, USA vs John Sears was scheduled before the U.S. Ninth District Court of Appeals on May 2, 2016 in Pasadena. So, we packed up and left Wind Wolves and walked 17 days to Pasadena to appear at our oral arguments in person at the U.S. Ninth District Court of Appeals. We lost our appeal but didn’t lose. The Energy acquired from the just effort put forth by 3 Mules and their pro bono lawyer Dan Kapelovitz will serve to the 3 Mule Nation and all who contribute to it in countless ways which cannot be foreseen. After our appeal, we then turned to migrate back north for the summer.

We traveled back over the Old Ridge Road, Lebec, Frazier Park, Pine Mountain Club, down San Emigdio Canyon to Wind Wolves Preserve where we rested a couple weeks to finish making the rock cairns in the upper canyon to mark the trail leading to Pine Mountain Club.

Delivering the DOE to Reedley City Hall

June 2016
Before it heated up too much in the Central Valley, we needed to continue our migratory journey north where temperatures are cooler. We made our way through Bakersfield, stopped a couple of days, then proceeded through Shafter, McFarland, Delano, Porterville, Exeter, Ivanhoe, Dinuba, Reedley, and Sanger, delivering the Declaration of Emergency (DOE) to their city halls.

July 2016
We stayed a couple weeks in Fresno to wait out an extreme heat wave where once again the Mules were guided by the free flowing energy that envelopes the Mules as they practice this ages old nomadic way of life, which to this day has outlasted every Megatropolis/Empire thats ever been going back hundreds of thousands if not millions of years. During our stay in Fresno, the discomfort and pain intensified and we saw a doctor who diagnosed us with an enlarged prostate and prescribed a treatment to help shrink the prostate.

Sam, owner of Sam’s Organic Tomato Farm, with the kids

When the heat wave finally lifted, we packed up our belongings and moved with the energy. We had a goal to find the ranch where Lady was born and where we purchased her over 30 years ago. We walked through Friant and O’Neil and we were magically guided to Sam’s Organic Tomato Farm outside of Coarsegold. We enjoyed the hospitality we found at Sam’s for two months as we were dealing with this constant discomfort which was preventing continuous days of walking. Making the walk to Oakhurst for groceries and back to Coarsegold would deplete our energy for days.

Melinda, Eric, Bonnie and Porvidio

October 2016
In October, we needed to migrate south to warmer temps before cold hit the foothills of the Sierra. We were again brought to pack up our belongings, walked through Friant, Fresno, Selma, Kingsburg, Goshen, Tulare, Pixley, Delano, McFarland, Shafter, and Bakersfield, resting a couple days at Melinda and Eric’s stable, before winding back up at to Wind Wolves Preserve. From there we toyed with the possibility of continuing south to Pasadena to see the Rose Bowl Parade. We decided to give it a try.

Snow in San Emigdio Canyon

December 2016
We went up through San Emigdio Canyon, got on top then went east to Frasier Park where we spent the night on the Public Thoroughfare (along the side of the highway), the right of anybody to do so when using said public thoroughfare to move from one place to the next when they choose how they choose.

Scott, Gretchen and Tom

Upon getting up that morning, I found Lady remaining down. We decided to tap the energy of the nation, the 3 Mule Nation, to materialize into what we needed. That energy brought forth very quickly people willing to give their energy to Lady the Mule, a true icon from the Natural World demonstrating in her most whimsical of ways the extreme value of that world, the Natural World.

Little Girl and Lady in Granite Station, CA

After a short wait, we met Scott from the Granite Station. He offered to let Lady, Little Girl, myself stay at his ranch in Granite Station. So we did for two months and met Scott’s nice neighbors – Mario and his wife, and Bill across the street. The kids had a great time roaming the ranch, while I was trying to find a urologist in Bakersfield who would treat our prostate condition.

One day, the discomfort finally got to the point that we finally decided that we needed to go to Kern Medical Center Emergency Room, where we were treated by physician assistant Monica Sutter, who provided excellent service and listened as we described the discomfort and pain experienced for the past ten months. She referred us to a Kern Medical primary care doctor and a urologist, who we scheduled follow-up appointments.

Kern Medical Center, Bakersfield, CA

February 2017
Since Granite Station was a two day walk from Bakersfield, we had to get closer to town to be closer to our doctor appointments. The distances that we were able to walk had become quite short due to the severe pain. So, Lady, Little Girl and myself headed to Bakersfield. While in Bakersfield, Lady herself was having difficulty related to age and knew it was finally time for Lady to retire; our friend Sharon has provided Lady a wonderful home and care.

Little Girl with Paula and Larry

March 2017
The energy of 3 Mules Nation brought us to Bakersfield Kern County and guided the Mules through and around Kern County Bakersfield until our year long medical adventure was culminated at Kern Medical Center where our urologist Dr. Vihn Trangdiagnosed us as having a bladder stone and created a treatment plan requiring outpatient surgery on March 16 to remove our golf-ball size bladder stone. While we were under anesthesia, he took a look at the prostate to determine if any further treatment was required, in which he determined that it was normal size and no further treatment required. Immediately after the surgery was over and the bladder stone removed, the discomfort and pain experienced for the past year went away.

The Mules would like to thank the doctors, nurses and all the hard-working folks giving their energy to making Kern Medical Center a good place to receive treatment. The Mules also want to once again thank the those who provide the Mules a place to stay as we were trying to resolve our medical issues. And we want to thank the people of the 3 Mule Nation for the kind words and well wishes that we received.

We are back on our feet and making our migratory journey north for the summer.

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Lady’s new retirement home

Little Girl and Lady

Lady’s days of wandering across the earth carrying a pack load on her back have now come to an end. She will now spend her remaining days in this dimension, which she so admirably served for the past 37 years, in retirement. Though Lady will no longer be serving the 3 Mule Nation as she has, we are sure she will be serving this nation in ways yet unforeseen. Little Girl and myself will forever be aware of her presence.

Lady with Melinda, Eric, Bonnie and Porvidio

As Lady gave her unrelenting energy to the 3 Mules Nation that energy returns to Lady embodied in these great people – Melinda, Eric, Bonnie and Porvidio, who came forth from the mist to serve and care for Lady.

She will now be going to another place where we know she will experience the best of care by Sharon.

3 Mules Nation will be watching Lady and anticipating with excitement to see how Lady’s energy and magic will find yet another way to contribute to the wealth of the nation, the 3 Mules Nation.

~The Mules

Here are some photos that Sharon shared with us of Lady settling down in her new home and being welcomed by her horse and neighbor’s pony.

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Lady has retired – just Little Girl and the Monk now

Little Girl

Lady is too old now to haul a load all day so we left her with some great folks. It’s just Little Girl and the monk now. We’ll have another blog post or several coming soon sharing stories of our 31 years traveling with Lady. 

The photo above is Little Girl standing alone infused and enveloped by the energy of 3 Mules Nation, a nation of people following, watching, giving their hope, faith and energy to that nation. A Nation born from a history of hundreds of thousands of years. Human beings wandering and living with their animal companions with respect and reverence for each other and the planet earth from which their nation and themselves were born. A 3 Mules Nation of people (human beings) unwilling to accept and conform to the new paradigm of gadgetry and glitz (endless discovery) at the cost of that most sacred relationship immersed in the magic and wonder of human beings wandering their home earth. 

~The Mules

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The Mules had a scare on Friday; we are all okay

Snow on ground at over 6000′ elevation

On Thursday morning, we packed up and left San Emigdio Canyon where we had spent the previous day. That night the temperature at 6,085 feet elevation was below freezing (in the low 20s or high teens with wind chill) – much colder than it was below the mouth of the canyon where we had been camped. Our intended destination was San Diego. The El Camino Viejo a Los Ángeles (Old Road to Los Angeles) is the route to get there by foot from Wind Wolves Preserve.

We traveled up the canyon for 2 hours 45 minutes, then reached the highway at Pine Mountain Club and proceeded east. We reached Frazier Park (elevation 4,542 ft) about 4:30pm. We had walked 6 hours that day with temperatures in the high 30s and decided to stop for the night and exercise our God given and legal right as well as anybody else’s whether traveling by horseback, bicycle or merely walking to use public space when in transit from one place to the next for the purpose of rest.

I unpacked the kids, put them on picket lines, made them comfortable, pitched my tent, ate some oatmeal, and went to sleep.

Upon awakening in the morning, I walked up the bank to check the kids and found Lady to be in distress. I maintained a watch for one hour and decided to get her to a vet.

I called the lady who voluntarily serves as the 3Mules.com admin and informed her to the situation. Using the 3 Mules Facebook page, she contacted the many people who follow and offer their help and support to the Mules on their endless journey through the Megatropolis.

The help the Mules needed materialized in a very short time in the form of Scott Rogers, president of Backcountry Horsemen of California – Kern Sierra Unit, Gretchen and her boss Tom, who came with a horse trailer.

We loaded Lady and Little Girl into the trailer and went to Bakersfield Veterinary Large Animal Hospital where she was thoroughly checked and declared to be in excellent condition for her 38 years of age. (Vet thought that the freezing temperatures at high elevation may have caused her stress as her condition improved at 300 feet above sea level.)

Our camp at Scott’s ranch

The Mules are now at Scott Rogers ranch where they will stay a few days then return to Wind Wolves Preserve. The Mules can no longer expect Lady at her 38 years to serve the Mules as she has so admirably done for most of her life. She is nearing retirement. She has earned and deserves it.

The Mules say thank you to all those who have joined this new nation, a nation growing up within a nation, by giving their hope, faith and energy to this nation. Respect and reverence for this earth and all its inhabitants.

The Mules

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