The Mules posted if anybody had a stall Jack that they weren’t using and willing to donate it to the Mules. We want to thank all those who gave a positive response offering the Mules a stall jack. However, the folks at Wind Wolves Preserve offered to repair our old anvil we’ve used for so many years. Thank you Jesus, Alejandro, Alberto, and Landon for repairing our old anvil. A very nice job.
How do mules sleep?
They lay their muzzles on the ground with their ears up for short periods of time. That’s how mules sleep.
During the past month, while we were at Wind Wolves Preserve, we worked (volunteered) about four hours a day clearing the overgrowth on the trail in upper San Emigdio Canyon. We cleared this trail last year, but the brush had overgrown and covered it up again.
After Christmas on the morning of the 26th, we left our camp where we were staying at Wind Wolves and proceeded up the canyon where we passed an old mine (photo above), which I’m sure we passed a few times before, but have never noticed those previous times.
As we went along to the top of the canyon, we passed this big beautiful tree, which had a nice fresh scent. We got to the highway and on the road and proceeded east to Lake of the Woods.
We arrived at Frazier park around 2:30pm. We went to the library to charge our phone, but it was closed.
After that, we met Michelle and her daughter Jessica as we were walking down the road. They got out of their car, introduced themselves and said they followed us on Facebook. They brought Little Girl a big bag of carrots. Every time we go through Frazier Park we always meet very nice people.
As it was getting dark, we spent the night along I-5, awoke in the morning and proceeded to where we are now at the start of Old Ridge Road, which will take us along the ridge, which parallels I-5 going south into Castaic and on into Los Angeles.
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.
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]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.~Robert Louis Stevenson
In April 2016, I was coming back from Los Angeles with the Mules, coming down San Emigdio Canyon at Wind Wolves Preserve in Bakersfield. I had hung my cartridge belt on the saddle horn. My cartridge belt carried my cell phone, camera, various devices and wallet. When I stopped to rest for the night and was unpacking the kids, I discovered that it was missing. It had come loose and fallen off.
I remembered where and when I stopped to take off my cartridge belt and hung it around the saddle horn, but I had no idea at which point it fell off. Did it get caught up in a tree branch or bush along the trail and fall off? For the next week, I walked back and forth along a 3-mile wide open stretch searching in San Emigdio Canyon along the creek trail and swept the tall grasses in the pasture to no avail and couldn’t find it. I notified the administrative office at Wind Wolves Preserve in case any hiker turned it in. I thought that I would never see it again.
Almost eleven months later, this past Monday evening, I received the following message from Eli Smith: “John, I was hiking at Wind Wolves Preserve and found something that belongs to you. Why don’t you message me and we can coordinate getting it back to you!”
This evening, Eli and his friends drove from Los Angeles to Bakersfield and very graciously returned everything to me. The Mules want to thank Eli for his honesty and taking the time to search for me and reconnect me with my belongings.
We appreciate all the good people we encounter in our ages old nomadic way of life. Each day we are reminded that we’re here: the outside, the web of life, the beautiful earth, a place like no other. We have come to this place, a place of golden sparkling light, a place for anybody and everybody. Give your faith, hope and energy to this place at which time you connect to it and receive the magic and endless possibility of infinity. As you walk in this place with these mules you spread the awareness that this beautiful earth, like no other, can only be protected by the way we live one day at a time.
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.)
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 other day as we were heading back to Wind Wolves after getting groceries and supplies in Bakersfield, the Wild West was materializing before our eyes with a large amount of sheep tracks and droppings left everywhere.
Curious about where these sheep came from and where they were going, we did a Google search on “Bakersfield sheep” and an interesting Los Angeles Times article returned called “End of a Tradition: Young Basque Shepherds No Longer Flock to Calif.” The article discusses the Basque immigrants who have been coming to California for over 100 years to herd sheep as few Americans want these jobs.
What caught our eye in this article the description of Aleman and his nomadic life as a shepherd in California.
“For 21 years Aleman has lived the lonely, nomadic life of a California shepherd. After the winter lambing, Aleman spends April and May in the Mojave Desert watching his flock during spring grazing. He spends his summers on the mile-high meadows of the Owens Valley on the slopes of the Sierra. In the fall, he returns to the Kern County foothills.”
“At one time, Aleman and the other shepherds lived in tents and followed their flocks’ peregrinations by foot over the century-old California Sheep Trail. It was one of the longest animal drives in the nation–400 miles over the Tehachapis to Mojave, up past Lone Pine and Bishop to the high mountain summer meadows of the Sierra and then back to Kern County.”
“We adapted to the loneliness of shepherding better than a lot of people because most of us are from very small villages with few neighbors. We grew up with the isolation.”
Maybe sometime in the future, the Mules will find and explore this 400-mile trail. Have any of our readers ever traveled the California Sheep Trail? If so, tell us about it.
We awoke this morning, it was cold. I grabbed some oatmeal, put into a cup, headed for the morning sun just breaking over the top of the ridge, sat down on my bucket and pure enjoyment began. Eating our breakfast out in the open air in this beautiful canyon at Wind Wolves Preserve.
This is our wealth, the endless magic of time and circumstance bestowed upon those who give their hope, faith and energy to earth and all its inhabitants. The wealth of the Megatropolis (manmade World), gadgetry, glitz and endless discovery to the Mules is no wealth at all. It’s the bait on the hook to lure the human race down the endless dark hole to be forever isolated from itself, creation, and God.
The Mules have been given a vision by this ages old place in which we belong. We carry the energy and magic of this vision as we wander in stark contrast to the Megatropolis and its blueprint by which we are told we must conform and live. A blueprint of total and complete control of all energy – be it human, animal, sun, wind, etc. that has wrought so much destruction and continues to do so on us (The Mules) and this natural world and all life which it harbors.
Today, we will be clearing the trail which goes up the San Emigdio Canyon. Our bodies will be feeling the pain and discomfort brought on by the maladies of old age. But we will be carrying the vision that was given to us. It will be in our mind’s eye as we work, walk and live. A vision of millions of Buffalos breaking over the horizon.
First we will feel their intensifying energy then we will hear it then see. The energy of this vision will first flow over then break through like water behind a dam. It will flow over the surface of the earth until every nook and cranny is completely immersed at which time a great calm will be felt by one and all. The knowing that the Buffalos have returned to heel the Natural World and all its inhabitants with the power and magic of the energy they harbor.
The Mules will carry this vision harboring the energy of all the people we’ve met, all the kindness and support we’ve received, all the steps we’ve taken on our endless journey to the courthouse in Pasadena, California on May 2, 2016.
The intensifying energy and magic of this vision will enter the courthouse and flow through and around every square inch of that courthouse and work its ages old magic on all those harbored in that courthouse. No matter what the judges decide – guilty or not guilty, upside down, backwards, or sideways. The magic and energy of the Mules will not be denied.
The Mules will continue to wander and roam through the Megatropolis in stark contrast to its destructive blueprint of control and containment of all energy on earth. The wealth of the Mules is harbored in the struggle to be free to live and flow with the energy of the Natural World. This vision will never relent. It will only intensify. No matter what happens or occurs as long as we hold this vision in our mind’s eye, our wealth continues to grow.
The Mules will be leaving the Wind Wolves Conservancy in a few days and be on our way to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Pasadena and bring our ages old nomadic way of life to the steps of the court. We will be carrying the energy of thousands of steps made by ourselves and the many others who have practiced this most revered and cherished way to live and be on this place called Earth. We will carry the energy of the thousands of people who we have met on our journey and given their support and kindness to see that this endless journey never ends.
The Mules are working, living every day feet on the ground example of this most valued gift bestowed to the human race to move freely how you choose, when you choose across this beautiful earth. The Mules will never give it away and neither should you.
Give your hope and faith to this endless journey through time and space and experience true wealth – the things money can never buy. The freedom to move on this earth and experience the mystery and magic of doing so can only be kept by using it all day every day.
The Mules do this most necessary job and reap the awards bestowed upon us by the hope and faith we give to this place of one human being moving freely with reverence and respect for earth and all her inhabitants.