On May 22, 2017, the Mules crossed over Donner Pass, elevation 7135′, using Old Highway 40 and over the historic Rainbow Bridge. 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.
What happened last weekend in Lake Shasta (link to Los Angeles Times article) is when people are disconnected from nature and live separated from the Natural World.
Living our ages old, nomadic way of life for over three decades, we the Mules hold Mother Earth with very high value and respect. We leave no trace wherever we stop for the night.
The article states that “Rangers don’t want to ban the students because their visits stimulate the local economy.”
In May 2014, the Mules were sleeping at night and woken up by federal rangers. Monk was arrested and the mules were impounded because we refused to leave in the dark for our safety. The Rangers refused to let us wait until sunrise.
Even though one 68-year old monk and his three animal companions have high respect for Mother Earth all our lives and never have and will never do something as atrocious as these hundreds of adults at Lake Shasta, our ages old, nomadic way of life is not acceptable in the suburban model, so we are jailed, penalized and convicted for our way of life of living outside all day every day.
However, large groups of college students (who are also all adults and not kids) that descend to Lake Shasta each May is acceptable, because they fit the suburban model by stimulating the economy even though they have no respect for the Natural World and Mother Earth. Their penalty for their behavior is suspension from participating in university’s social activities.
The Mules are still waiting to hear from the 9th Circuit United States Court of Appeals in our appeal to clear our conviction.
The Mules demonstrating the down to the bone nomadic way of life. Able to erect shelter in a moments notice, take it down the same. Leaving a place the way it was when they arrived. Using their energy to live in harmony and respect with nature not in confrontation with nature. The Mules demonstrating this most valued and respected way to live on this earth to one and all as they walk down the city street right under your kitchen window to see, feel, experience the absolute necessity to yourself and the future of your children for a strong healthy Natural World.
The Mules are calling forth a thousand Monks walking with their animal companions all over this country for thousand of years or until the Buffalos return breaking over the horizon like water breaking through a dam, restoring the health of the Natural World and all who reside within.
The Vision will grow in scope and size it comes through the door of infinity it knows no limits.
Where we were fined in San Clemente in January of this year. We had to stay here that day due to Little Girl’s abscessed hoof. We picked up and left this place spotless.
The Mules wandering through the Megatropolis peacefully and quietly all day every day serve as a stellar example of how to live and travel responsibly. For the Megratropolis to fine the Mules for doing this is wrong-headed.
Pictured is another stellar example of the Mules stopping to rest. All forms of life on this earth from the microbe to the whale engages in activity and rest through its lifetime.
For the Megatropolis (man-made world) to make up a law with the stroke of a pen that inhibits and prevents any form or way of life from engaging in this life-sustaining process is illegal.
The Megatropolis has enacted a law 647(e) penal code (the illegal lodging law) in the state of California which prevents the Mules from stopping to rest for any given night.
The Megatropolis is seeking without doubt to remove all other ways of living on this earth other than its most favored child – the suburban model.
The beauty, mystery and magic of our day in and day out relationship with our ages old companions, Bears, Wolves, Elk, Salmon and many others is now for the most part over. The Beauty now resides in the self-sustaining act of resistance.
Paramount, CA – November 17, 2015 Pictured is where we stopped yesterday afternoon at 4:30pm in the City of Paramount. After securing the kids to some trees and removing their packs, we prepared dinner. Upon completing our meal, it became dark so we put the kids on picket lines and stayed the night. Getting up in the morning, we fixed breakfast, ate, packed up the kids who were ready and rested for a new day to spread the seeds of magic and mystery that the Mules carry.
The Mules say thank you to the city of Paramount for the kindness and support they showed the Mules for allowing us to stop and rest for the night. The Mules also want to thank the City of Paramount for being a stellar example of how anybody traveling in transit going from one place to the next whether by horse, bicycle, on foot, etc., must be treated.
This independent self reliant means of moving yourself (how you choose, when you choose, where you choose) is the backbone to freedom in this country. A cherished freedom that many have given life and limb to preserve. Thank you to the people of the City of Paramount.
Lakewood, CA – November 18, 2015 This afternoon, the Mules stopped by the City of Lakewood City Hall to deliver the Declaration of Emergency (DOE). When we arrived, the city hall staff came out to greet us and were very welcoming to the Mules. They kindly posed for a group photo. The gentleman holding the DOE said that he would hand deliver our important document, which declares the need for an interstate trail system, to the Mayor of Lakewood. Thank you to the people in the City of Lakewood for your kind heartedness.
San Clemente, CA – January 22, 2015 In contrast, early in January 2015, the Mules were traveling on the ages old trail now called the El Camino Real going through the City of San Clemente and were not treated with the same kindness and respect that we received from the people of Paramount last night and the city of Lakewood today.
On January 22, 2015 at 4am, the Mules were woken up by San Clemente police officer who told us that we could not sleeping in this vacant lot in which he found us. The City of San Clemente has strict no camping ordinances. He asked us when we would be leaving. We said we would leave when it was light and he said okay and left. About 8:30am, we continued our journey south on the El Camino Real when Little Girl started to show a light lameness in her front foot. As we continued, her limp became pronounced. To prevent further injury, we stopped at another vacant lot to inspect her foot, which was quite sensitive. We knew that we needed to seek help with someone with a horse trailer to bring her to an equine vet to get checked. Took the pack off the mules and started making phone calls, leaving messages to people I knew to seek help. None of our contacts were able to arrive that day (January 22) with a trailer.
About 9pm, San Clemente police officer arrived. We explained our circumstances as to why we were there and could not physically move due to Little Girl’s injury. The officer called animal control and we waited for quite a while before animal control showed up. Animal control officer took a very quick look at a distance, had Little Girl walk a few steps on soft dirt, and made a comment that Little Girl did not look lame to her, and then left. At that point the police officer decided to issue the citation based on her opinion.
The next day, friends arrived with a trailer to pick us up to bring us to San Juan Capistrano. We could not meet the vet immediately and rested Little Girl while we waited for our appointment on January 26. On January 26, San Juan Capistrano equine veterinarian Dr. Mark Secor gave Little Girl an exam, including x-rays. Dr. Secor wrote in his examination report: “Exam: mild LF lameness noted at walk, certain steps – tight circle to left more exaggerated, mild high lateral hoof well, mild ups DP’s, les palpates WNL. Moderate sensitivity to hoof testers… Suspect cause of lameness – resolving abscess.
The Monk followed the instructions on the citation, submitted a check by the payment deadline and requested to contest citation via mail (submitting our letter and vet expert diagnosis with payment) instead of having an Administrative Hearing in person which would require mules to walk back to San Clemente. The Mules made several phone calls to request in regards to an appeal while we were nearby and was told that they were backlogged in processing citations. On March 2, we received a certified letter that stated “THIS IS THE SECOND HEARING DATE – IT CANNOT BE RESCHEDULED”. The Mules never received a letter informing us about a date for a first hearing. Also, we sent Dr. Secor’s exam as evidence that Little Girl was lame.
The Mules found it unreasonable for San Clemente to cite us and retain our $100 citation fee as we had a valid reason for why we could not PHYSICALLY leave town by walking due to Little Girl’s lameness in her foot. We were waiting for friends to come with a horse trailer to pick us up, which wasn’t available to arrive until the next day. We submitted written letter of appeal with veterinarian diagnosis confirming Little Girl’s lameness due to abscess in hoof. San Clemente rejected our written request for appeal and required us to appear in person back in San Clemente even though we had indicated that we would not be able to walk back in time due to our distance. As well, after explaining how we live a nomadic life in our initial letter to San Clemente, it is unreasonable for the city to wait more than two months for an administrative hearing date when we called to inquire multiple times while we were within walking distance to appeal.
The Mules are returning to San Clemente, CA In a few days, the Mules will be once again traveling this ages old trail now called the El Camino Real. Through the City of San Clemente once again we will be stopping there to rest for the night.
The Mules will be sending San Clemente Mayor Chris Hamm and San Clemente City Council members a letter informing them of our return to the City of San Clemente and we hope the treatment we received earlier this year will not be repeated. For the Mules to be treated in the public nuisance type categories as drunkards, drug abusers, leaving large amounts of trash behind, engaging in irresponsible type living with no regard or respect for anyone or anything is a complete turnaround from the truth.
We have a Facebook page and our 3Mules.com website where the way we live is well documented. For anybody traveling in this country by horse, by foot or by bicycle going from one place to the next in transit exercising that most cherished right of personal freedom to be treated as we were in the City of San Clemente shows a blatant disregard for those who choose another means of transportation other than the dangerous and destructive automobile.