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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The Mule Train vs. The Bullet Train

Little Girl, Lady and Who Dee Doo

In California, there is a high speed bullet train being built at a cost of $64 billion dollars. The Megatropolis plans the first prototype to run from San Francisco to Los Angeles. It will split the state right down the middle much like the San Andreas Fault with no less potential disastrous consequences.

It will require a massive surveillance apparatus to guard and protect from terrorists at a cost of billions of more dollars. People living anywhere nearby will be considered a possible terrorist threat by the surveillance state. Their children will be tested in school for possible terrorist tendencies. This will all be done under the guise and pretense of providing a fast, quick way to get from point A to B in complete comfort and ease.

Pull back the smoke screen of glitz, gadgetry and endless discovery and the Mules see the Megatropolis using this bullet train (machine) to seize and bring under its control more space to satisfy its insatiable appetite for contained and controlled energy (be it human, animal, wind, sun, etc.) on earth.

The bullet train is yet another scheme brought forth by the Megatropolis to drag the Human Race down a dark hole to be disconnected from ourselves, each other and our home, the Earth. To be forever wandering and lost in the manmade world of gadgetry, glitz and endless discovery. You bump into somebody, they ask you who you are, where you are from, and you won’t have a clue.

The Mules have an alternate proposal to the Megatropolis’s bullet train:
A multi-use trail system going in all four directions,
– Hooking all communities to all communities
– Connecting people with reverence and respect for each other and their surroundings
– Moving at a pace that is in harmony with the natural flowing energy that flows around and through us
– Learning to use that energy to heal our bodies and nurture our souls
– Teaching the children the magic and joy of being real human beings connected to the Natural World
– Bringing people together to solve the problems that face them with cooperation and respect

The Public Thoroughfare, a multi-use trail system, is the place for the fist step in the right direction.

The Mules

Note: If you agree with this, please make a copy and send where you think it will do the most good.

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2015 Year in Review

On January 16, 2016, we received a post on our Facebook page that stated: “Quite fascinating but I’m wondering…all your walking and all your messages… does it really make a difference?”

We replied, “We were told to come to the megatropolis to bring this ages old way of life to its center and keep it here and to do this rather than stand watch and do nothing. To do nothing will be harmful to our movement. Through time and space we have no regrets.”

However, we know that pictures can speak a thousand words so we have compiled these collages to show what one human being with his animal companions have accomplished in 2015.

THE KIDS: In January 2015, we started out with two mules, Lady, 37, who has been with us for 32 years, and Little Girl, 27, who has been with us for 24 years. While traveling through Norco in March, a lady offered us her mule who was blind in one eye. We renamed him Who-Dee-Doo as he came to us out of the Who-Dee-Doo. He was a really friendly, easy going mule and liked people, but he refused to be shoed. In September and October, we stayed at a ranch in the Ventana Wilderness and helped clear miles of overgrown trails. In return, we were gifted nice new custom pack boxes with 3MULE.COM lettering on the side to replace the cracked and worn Ralide West pack boxes that we had used for over 20 years. As we were leaving the ranch, we decided that was best for Who Dee Doo to remain here as it would be a good home for him with other horses to keep him company. Lady, Little Girl and I continued our travels to Wind Wolves Preserve in Bakersfield where 11-year old, gentle and well-trained Babe joined our team and has already seen more different places these past couple months than some people in their lifetime.

MULE TRACKER: The Mules started 2015 by attending the New Year’s Day Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena and made our way down to Carlsbad before heading back north through the Central Valley up as far north as Chico/Mendocino National Forest/Covelo before heading back down south to Imperial Beach and turning around in time to arrive back to Pasadena for the 2016 New Year’s Day Rose Parade.

THE PEOPLE: 2015 was brought about by the accumulating energy of all the people we meet as we walk from place to place, all the people who offer their kind and generous support, all the people who take the trouble to stop and tell us they follow the 3 Mules page, all the people who understand and value this place of one human being walking with his or her animal companions using that basic freedom that we all cherish moving freely as we choose with the free flowing currents of natural energy that flow over and around this beautiful earth, our home.

CITY HALLS: The Mules delivered the Declaration of Emergency to 100 city halls in 25 counties in the state of California in 2015.

RESPONSE FROM OFFICIALS: In 2015, after delivering the DOE, the Mules began receiving more responses from officials for the first time as we never received responses back in 2014. We received a certificate of recognition from the mayor of Norco, as well as response to our DOE from the cities of San Francisco, Corona and the Golden Gate Bridge District, and other towns. We appreciate the acknowledgement received from these towns for our message.

MULES IN THE NEWS: As we walked through California in 2015, we were interviewed by local reporters in various towns and cities. As well, the Mules gained an international following after we were interviewed by Germany’s Deutche Welle WorldLink radio and University of Sydney’s Bull Magazine. In June 2015, the 3 Mules were featured on the cover of the June edition of Mules and More Magazine and have been featured in a recurring monthly column since then. Currently, we have followers in 45 countries around the world.

STUDENTS: In January 2015, the Mules received these treasured drawings from Finn and Pearl as we passed through San Clemente. In March, we spoke to students at Anacapa School, Santa Barbara, and in September to students at Alisal High School, Salinas. We appreciate being able to share our life and the importance of protecting this earth with our future leaders.

POLICE ENCOUNTERS: We are stopped frequently and questioned by law enforcement. Oftentimes, we are woken up in the middle of the night by police. Freedom has been reduced with laws and municipal codes created that prevent freedom of travel by foot on public roads and that disallow sleeping outdoors in public space to rest for the night. We must protect our right to use public space that is shrinking and disappearing rapidly. The public space is our freedom. Public space must be used and enhanced for us not to lose it. We started a blotter in 2015 but have not kept up with the number of times we’ve been questioned and/or awoken in the middle of the night.

COURT CASES: Read more about in the Court Cases section.

PUBLIC LIBRARIES: The Mules appreciate the availability of public libraries with friendly staff. We didn’t get photos of all the libraries. Most libraries are located next to or near the city hall, which makes it a convenient place to stop. Public libraries gives a place to charge our devices, use the computer and internet, research information, and print our documents and letters.

ROADSIDE MEMORIALS These are just a few of the many roadside memorials that we passed during our travels in 2015. The Mules stop and always sadly reflect of the lives unnecessarily lost at the countless roadside memorials we pass as we walk all day, every day. These crosses on the sides of the roads were there before the Mules and will continue to appear until the High Speed Motorist (HSM) is reigned in to obey the law. Getting rid of the Mules will not stop the carnage by the HSM. Carnage will continue. This Roadside Memorial album will be a visual reminder for drivers to obey the law and to pay attention when driving.

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The Mules and the Megatropolis

Watch the Mules and the Megatropolis in this ages old struggle going on between them. The Mules have walked over, around, under and through every Megatropolis (empire) that has ever been. To the interested and observant eye, this ages old struggle will provide many answers to many questions. It will show new pathways that heretofore have never been seen or imagined. Create a vision in your mind in the depth of your soul a strong healthy Natural World consequently a strong healthy, happy human race. Live that vision, give your energy to that vision and experience the magic of stuff happening.

The Mules

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NOMADISM. This ages old way of life revered and valued throughout the ages (human beings wandering this place we call earth, reveling in the mystery and magic created from doing so. The Mules enveloped in that energy and exuding that energy one step at a time all day every day. The energy of this place will never relent and shall never wain – weaving and moving through every tree, blade of grass and all life on earth – forever here. ~The Mules

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Gonzales, California

The Mules stayed in the city of Gonzales last night. Got up this morning and fixed breakfast. While packing up the Mules, a number of residents came by and welcomed us to their town. We then delivered the DOE and MCL to the Gonzales City Hall.

Thank you to the town of Gonzales for making the Mules’ walk through your town a pleasant one.

The Mules

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Las Lomas, California

Little Girl in front of Watsonville City Hall

After delivering the DOE to Watsonville City Hall and spending a couple hours at the public library to charge our electronics, we left downtown Watsonville around 4:30 pm yesterday. We got to Highway G12 going south towards Salinas grazing along the road when Lucy and Santiago stopped and asked us, “Where are you going?”

We responded, “Everywhere.”

“But where?”

“San Diego.”

They wanted to know where we were going to spend the night. We didn’t know. Lucy said that we could stay at their ranch in Las Lomas, and we accepted their invitation.

Thank you Lucy and Santiago for your kindness and support that you’ve shown this place of one human being walking/riding with his or her animal companions through the endless magic and mystery of time and space.

The Mules

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Santa Cruz, California

The 3 Mules want to thank the members of the Santa Cruz County Horseman’s Association’s members for your kindness in providing a place for us to stay for three nights at your showgrounds, which allowed us to catch up on our most necessary tasks of horseshoeing, fixing gear, refueling and resting for our long journey south. Special thanks to Mary Sullivan-White for all you did for us these past few days and for taking and sending us these photos in this album. Words cannot express our gratitude to the Santa Cruz County Horsemen. As well, thank you to farrier Erik Dahlstrom for your services and Debra Kuettel of General Feed for providing supplies.

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Woodside, California

Redwood City City Hall

On Sunday morning, the Mules delivered the Declaration of Emergency to Redwood City City Hall. I then pondered as to what direction we should go.  Continue south on El Camino Real or go west to Santa Cruz where I’ve never been before with the mules?   We received quite a few Facebook messages that horses are part of the local culture of the town of Woodside where residents keep horses, and the town government maintains a network of horse trails. So, the Mules decided to visit Woodside.

When we were in San Francisco walking along Fisherman’s Wharf, the Mules met Jamis, who said that if we should ever decide to go through Woodside to stop by his restaurant Buck’s and we would be welcome.

Woodside City Hall

As things went, the Mules decided to go through Woodside where we also delivered the DOE and MCL to Woodside City Hall. While climbing up Woodside Road, Tanya, who we met the night before in San Carlos, had brought the kids some hay. We told her that we were going to Buck’s restaurant and she said that she’ll leave it there.

The Mules with Jamis, owner of Buck’s restaurant in Woodside, California

Upon getting to Buck’s, I tied the kids to the hitching posts set-up in the shade next to the restaurant, removed their packs, gave them the hay, sat on my bucket, and waited for that promised meal. The manager George came out and asked us what we would like. A bowl of soup and bread came to our minds. We were brought Red potato soup and sourdough bread, which was great.

Lady with Buck’s manager George and Jim

Jamis’s friend Jim came by and asked us where we were going to spend the night. We didn’t know. He said we could stay at the Horse Park at Woodside, so we have been. Jim brought us hay and good drinking water.

Thank you to all the nice people of Woodside and beyond for supporting this ages old place of one human being riding/walking with his or her animal companions, moving through the mystery and magic of time and space on its endless journey upon this beautiful place we call Earth.

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