Sunday, June 29, 2014

Mule Trainer Hero: Retired Ranger Edition

Here is another installment in the Mule Trainer Hero series that I am doing with my son as he rides the two 2-year-olds that we started this year.

I enjoyed the wisdom and stories that my friend, retired Forest Ranger Fredric Ybright, shared with us as we rode together through some of the recovering burn area on Pine Valley Mountain 2 weeks ago.  He is seeing the mountain for the first time since retiring 8 years ago.  Here is a little GoPro, saddle-eye-view footage for you Fred, and for those who want to see the mountain from a mule. This is a relaxing trip through lush grass, new quaky stands, and the remnants of once giant trees on a unique part of this giant Lacolith.
The music is a song recorded by my daughter Kailee.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Mule Trainer Hero: Packer Edition

Leon Gubler and I got to move a little freight last week for a youth group that had a conference up on Pine Valley Mountain. This is another GoPro style saddle-eye-view of the trail for those who grew up dreaming of driving trains.

The main song in the middle is a song written and performed by my daughters called "No Name."

This mule project that we started back in 2006 has paid great dividends for my family.  Watching my 11 year old son lead a 4-up string through a patch of rugged wilderness is a button-popper for a father--and the close relationship we have formed in the pursuit of long-ears, priceless.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Mule Trainer Hero: Water Edition

A place I have written about on a few occasions, Hop Valley is one of the most beautiful places in Southern Utah.  Most of it is private property adjoining Zion National Park.  The landowner and the park have some sort of an understanding that hikers can hike the valley, and the park will give some small degree of latitude for the rancher's occasional stray cow that crosses the line.

For our mules sake, the water exposure in Hop Valley is as good as it gets.  Having a little fun with the GoPro Hero camera makes it possible for you to come along and enjoy the saddle-eye view of this magnificent place:

Sunday, May 11, 2014


Come and ride along with my 11 year old son, Preston, and me as we go out for some integrative-training.   On this trip, we are riding two and a four year-old mules who are full sisters.  Catalonian Mulestangs--both born on my brother's place to a Catalonian Jack, and a born-in-the-wild mustang mare from the Sulpher herd in SouthWest Utah.  Enjoy some POV riding among the rapidly-developing neighborhoods in our back-yard, and the bluffs around them, GoPro style.

Lulabelle, ridden by my son is the third hand-raised mule that he has started by himself.  The first was  Senator who was born at our place.  Preston rode Senator by himself for the first 2 and a half years, starting when he was six years old.  At that point, I had to intervene and help Senator unlearn some bad habits, but the experience got Preston ready to do it right the next time.  Currently, we have two 2-year-olds that he started this spring.

I cannot thank Ty Evans at TSMules enough for the gentle guidance he has offered along the way that helped solidify the things Preston had learned by experience.  If you need a good mule or a good trainer, they just DO NOT come any better!

And me?  I'm the lucky father who gets to share all of this with my mule-skinner boy!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Caanan Mountain Formations

Enjoy a little video journey through a few of the fantastic formations around Zion Nat'l Park.  Caanan Mountain is difficult to access--you have to know the way in, and you have to be willing to cover some technically difficult terrain.  But it is the prettiest of places!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Slo-Mo Mule

With agility unmatched in the world of equines, it is revealing to watch a mule jump in slow motion.

Video and photos compliments of our little outing last weekend…the last for a while for my daughter who leaves for South Korea in a few weeks.  She often complained that all we had out here was "red rocks and cactus."  I used to tell her that she better be careful not to jinx herself--she might end up living in a drab part of the world someday.  I think she is going to miss this...

Soaking up the last of the red rocks for a while.  South Korea won't be so ledgy.

One of the coming two year-olds.  This is a FAV.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Favorite Mule photos from the last few months...

Happy New Year!  Getting vertical Jan 1, 2014

Brothers.  God's gift

Hop Valley

Catalonian Mule above Zion

High Angle

Raising babies on the Haslem Trail

Historical snow and cold

Lost Global Warming

Season's Mule wishing you Merry Christmas 2013

Santa's advance crew

Ancient Graffiti

Beauty collides
Hidden places

Shadows on Canaan Mt
Veterans Day parade

The excellent staff at SouthWest Vision
Wrangler Butts
Friendship goes a long way

Brother from another mother

Greenhorn on Molly

Walking Mule

Mules in the myst

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Happy Independence Day

 America. Why I love her. 

 ...have you seen the Milky Way reflected in a Wyoming, Windriver lake? Or shimmied through a slot canyon in the mighty Escalante? 

 ...have you smelled fresh-cut alfalfa or the sweet scent of Russian Olive hanging in the cool morning air in one of Utah's small towns? Or breathed the damp Magnolia perfume on a steamy Southern night?  

...have you heard the bugle of an elk reverberate among the jagged peaks of the Wasatch Mountain range? Or heard the Missouri thunder crashing through ominous green clouds? 

...have you tasted fire-cooked trout that minutes earlier was swimming in an ice-cold Uintah lake? Or savored the succulent flesh of a Maine Lobster pulled from a roadside lobster-pot? 

 ...have you watched the sunset make the Kolob Fingers blush a shade of crimson that'll bring a lump to your throat? Or gazed upon the morning shadow that Mt Nebo's triune peaks casts over the quaint village of Mona?

"You ask me why?  I have a million reasons..."

 America! God shed his Grace on Thee! May tyrants, dictators, and pencil-necked bureaucrats alike tremble in fear of the boisterous ocean of Liberty that rings from sea to shining sea!

Friday, May 3, 2013

If Only... RIP Gentle Maggie-Mule

If only.

If every man could have a good brother, who rides a good mule...this world wouldn't need many jails or jailers.

If every man could see the milky way reflected in a high mountain lake or feel the the alpine rain slap his oilskin coat...this world wouldn't bow to many kingdoms or kings.

If every man could feel the coiled power beneath his saddle as thunder echoes from Bally peaks...this world wouldn't cater to many courts or court jesters.

If every man could smell the pine scrubbed air that hides deep in the wilderness with his brother, all of the bureaus with all of their 'crats would become as gentle as spring's lamb.

RIP giant Maggie-Mule. Thanks for being the good mule who carried my good brother to so many of those sacred places with me.