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Where real-world skills meet the unpredictable

May 20, 2013

“… Even the best-trained mules – you can’t predict what they’re going to do,” said Craig London, a longtime packer and Mule Days organizer, explaining that the mule’s unpredictability is one of the things that made Mule Days such an exciting event in the early days. Photo by Mike Gervais

If there were two words to sum up Mule Days events, those words would be “fun” and “skill.”
That’s how Mule Days got started. In the spring of 1969 the High Sierra’s pack industry was off to a late start due to a wet winter that left the backcountry snowed in well past May. To knock the dust off the saddle and get pack teams – both equine and equestrian members – prepped for the summer pack season, local packers decided to have some fun and show off their skills.
To that end, packers Bob Tanner, Herb London and Bob Dillon decided to hold a friendly contest to see whose pack team would hold up to a series of challenges …
The result, London said, was a mix of trial, error and often failure that was more entertaining that anyone had expected.

(Find out more about the genesis of Mule Days events and the unique atmosphere surrounding the festival in the Special Mule Days section of the Tuesday, May 21, 2013 edition of The Inyo register.)

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