Walking 31 Miles Beside the Mules

For reasons only a neurologist or shrink might understand, I woke up this morning and thought, “Hmmm. Today I’m going to walk 31 miles.” That’s how far it is from where I spent the night with the mules, Elsworth, Nebraska, to where I wanted to go, Alliance, Nebraska. Turns out walking is a great way to make new friends.

Corrine offered me some water as I walked up the road. Brick loved Corrine. More on her shortly

Here are some photos of the day.

We spent last night at Morgan’s Cowpoke Haven, originally a store belonging to the massive (500,000 acres) Spade Ranch (Elsworth, Nebraska)
Wade Morgan, owner of Morgan’s Cowpoke Haven
The Sand Hills: how the land looks around here (outside Ellsworth, Nebraska)
Walking is a wonderful way to meet new people. Here are Chris Keenan with Michael and Corrine Masell. (Antioch, Nebraska)
Suddenly it’s a mule party! That’s Corrine with her horse Weston. Sure enjoyed visiting with you guys!
Two horses who may have never seen a mule before.
The Sand Hills is incredibly rich in wildlife from white pelicans to…
…giant grasshoppers. This one almost spanned my palm.
Broody sky: to the north, hail wreaked havoc on hay crops. To the east, it poured on Hyannis, which we’d left a day earlier.
The Sand HIls as I remember them. (Outside Antioch, Nebraska)
The Sand Hills end – or start – here. (6 miles outside Alliance, Nebraska)
Cracker’s pedometer. He knocked out 31 miles in just over 56,000 front steps. Add in his hind legs and he made over 112,000 steps.

Tonight the mules and I are in Alliance camped out behind a Trinidad Benham. They buy and sell beans to bean growers. I only left the Sand Hills a few hours ago. I already miss them: the kind folks my wife Julia (she visited me there) and I met, the landscape, the rodeos and the cowboys.

For a really nice reflection on the Sand Hills life, check out Julia’s letter to a friend at her ConsideringAnimals.com blog.

Tomorrow we’re off toward Hemingford, Nebraska. I’ll let you know how stiff I am from yesterday’s miles…

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