Travel by Mule
The icy flakes hit us in the Caribou National Forest where I was expecting to find the “Welcome to Idaho” sign. Except there was no sign, only sideways blasting snow and 2 mules. They looked at me wondering why the hell we were still headed up the mountain toward the flake spitting clouds.
For 20 summers he’s pushed cattle up and down the Greys River Valley, upstream in the spring, downstream in the fall. This week, he put the mules and me up. He fed us whiskey and camp cooked potatoes but left us with something way warmer than that. Meet Cowboy Dave.
Leading up to Cowboy Dave
10 days ago, the mules and I headed out of Douglas, Wyoming, bound for Alpine. The first 60 miles took… Continue reading
His spurs don’t match and the rowels are gone and his boots are busted but he’s living life on his own terms. Tomorrow, Sunday morning, I’ll introduce you to the rest of the man: Cowboy Dave.
Salvation came from a bar. I was one water container short heading in to the sage brush country of Wyoming with my mules Brick and Cracker. Dale at the Miner’s Grubstake and Bar in Atlantic City gave me an empty one gallon pickle jar. With a twig and some twine, I turned it in to a makeshift water container.
It’s working fine. Even if… Continue reading
The cowboy stopped his truck and said, “you need to watch out. Make sure you don’t sleep with any food in your tent. You’re in grizz country now..”
In western Wyoming, “grizz” means grizzly bear.
An ammo belt was strapped around the back of his head rest. 3 rounds were tucked in to the leather loops. 3 rounds were missing.
I have zero bullets. That night I started hanging… Continue reading
Is fall not cool enough for you yet? Here are some chill photos to cool you down a few degrees. They are from my camp along the Greys River (Wyoming) earlier this week.
The lady’s voice on my voicemail said (and I paraphrase):
“Hi Bernie. This is Debbie at the Central Wyoming Fairgrounds in Casper. We received a bag of dog food in your name. What would you like us to do with it?”
Fantastic! People are so generous out here. There’s only one problem with this well-intended gift.
I don’t own a dog.
To the mystery donor I… Continue reading
Mules Brick and Cracker and I have crossed McDougal gap and arrived in Alpine, Wyoming. The timing is perfect for getting off the mountain. Rain and snow at higher elevations are forecast for the next 4 days.
Right now the mules and I are settling in to Alpine. We’re camped… Continue reading
Most evenings after the mules are staked out for the night and my tent is pitched, I dig out my journal and write down how far we’ve come.
I don’t write in a leather bound journal you might imagine Wild Bill communing with after a busy day shooting buffalo. No, my journal’s just a plastic binder filled with 50 sheets of loose leaf paper.
I think I brought 40 sheets too many.… Continue reading
Cracker has learned 2 of the 3 Desert Mule Travel Rules.
- Drink when you find water
- Eat when you find food
- Don’t eat prickly pears
Cracker’s still working on Rule 3.