Hailey, Idaho: Final Destination in the Snow
A mule voyage that spanned 10 states and included floods, ticks, highway melting heat and nose hair freezing cold ended in snow. Mules Brick and Cracker and I have arrived at our final destination outside Hailey, Idaho.
In to the Final 10 Miles
188 days after setting out from our North Carolina home, the mules and I tackled the final 10 miles to where my brother in-law Nick Parker and his wife Carolyn live outside Hailey, Idaho.
From the rodeo arena, where we spent the night,we made our way to the Hailey Coffee Company where the owner Santos brewed me a cup of coffee. As I drained the last gulp, the first snow flakes fell.
In to the Snow
From Hailey, the mules and I still needed to ride 3 hours toward Triumph, where Nick and Carolyn live. What started as a snow dusting at the coffee shop turned in to a mule swallowing wallop of the white stuff. Luckily, temps hovered below freezing so the snow was talcum powdery grade. The kind of snow that piles up quickly then sits there politely without melting and soaking you to your last dry shirt.
At the risk of ruining my trust camera, I snapped and filmed my way gaily across the landscape. I thought you’d enjoy this “saddle eye view” of how things looked like as the mules and I traveled those final miles.
Processing it all
So what’s next?
The mules come first. They’re hanging out in Nick and Carolyn’s back yard enjoying super-sized rations of carrots, oats and the freedom of movement. They’ve spent most of their nights for the last half year tethered by 50-foot straps. No longer. Their enclosure is stoutly fenced so they can roam around freely.
As for me, I’m just processing that my ramble is over. I’m re-adjusting to novelties like plumbing, showers and life with mirrors. I can tell I’ve been sleeping in a tent a long time. Last night I slept in a bed. This morning, I woke up and noticed the ceiling overhead was dry. There was no frost up there over my head like there’s been the last month.
I just stared at the white sheet rock taking it all in.
In the coming days and weeks, I’ll be posting plenty of updates on things I didn’t get to tell you about on the road. Folks we met. How the saddle held up. Oh, and what it’s like to travel over 2,000 miles with hoof boots instead of steel shoes.
And of course I still need to find a ride home from Idaho to North Carolina for the mules.
But right now, the mules and I are basking in the afterglow of our marvelous arrival.
I hope things are well with you. I sure have enjoyed bringing your these posts and look forward to sharing more with you.
And to everyone that made this happen – most especially my wife Julia – a hearty THANK YOU!
Bernie / Hailey, ID
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