Today is LABOR DAY so let’s celebrate with working MULES!


Hubby found this video of Forestry Service Mules from California (my home state).

I thought the production values were very nice – this clip came from the BBC who had a reporter out here during the wildfires.

What struck Hubby about the video was how much the Wrangler loved the mules.  The wrangler speaks about how the mules love their work and how hard they work – every day – to bring supplies and tools to the firefighters (where cars and helicopters cannot navigate).

He also speaks of how Mule Packing is a dwindling service since there are no ‘young guys’ learning the craft.  Sadly, there are only 8 packers (mule wranglers) left in California.

Since the future of the Forestry Service mules is unknown, this video is a true and rare pleasure to view.

As an aside, all of the mules are very handsome and in great shape.  Theymall look alike, too!  I swear, duplicates of each other!  A very handsome and well trained lot!

Click here to watch the video, or click on the images below.

This is the wrangler who spoke so lovingly about the fire-fighting mules. Click image to watch the video.


I took this still from the video… you can see the smoke around the pack string as they bring supplies to the fire fighters who are in difficult to negotiate areas. Click image to watch the video.


I produced this video for my television series, HORSE AND MAN, several years ago.  I’m proud to say that our crew was the first and only crew admitted onto the trails with a camera.  So, I hope you enjoy those shots!  ;)

Being there was a delight!  Ron Clayton, the head wrangler at the time, knew every mule by name.  They were all in excellent health and each had their own particular gear.  The barn was spotless – which is a huge ordeal with 100 mules – and all the mules roamed free in there.  It was incredible to watch…

Each mule knew where they stood to eat and they all ran exactly to their own buckets.  Those mules were very, very bright.

One mule, Rosie – you will see her in the video, was very light footed and hot – none of the wranglers would ride her except the one … and he rode her beautifully.  You should watch just to see that mule move!

Our entire two day visit was delightful.  We were given insight to what most folks never see.  And, we also were able to mill around with these incredible beings – both the wranglers and the mules!

Oh, and check out the cowboy attire.  They wore their best stuff for our shoot.


Click here to watch the video.

This is Ron Clayton, the head wrangler. He has incredible stories! Click image to watch the video.


We had access to the trails which was unheard of!


This is the very special mule, Rosie, that all the wranglers wouldn’t ride except this one. And he loved her!

I hope you enjoyed these Working Mule videos on this Labor Day!


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Only one comment so far...

  1. Deb Carlino

    I took the half-day ride into the Grand Canyon. It was definitely the best part of my trip out west. I will go back and take the overnight trip. Everything that Ron states is true. It is evident that it is a labor of love. One story – I was diligently trying to keep my mules nose up the butt of the one in front. But, hard as I tried we kept falling behind. The wrangler was not pleased with me. As we mounted up for the ride back up, he checked my mule out and he was lame! I felt so bad!! Here I am whipping this animal. So, the result is I rode his mule, the lead, who was pretty active. And, led my group back up!! I will always remember that trip.

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