Buddy's First Packing Job

November 2007

Sunday night we were on the road home from camping & riding with the mules down by Wickenburg over the long Thanksgiving weekend when we got a call from Steve...Sean had gotten a bull elk up on Kendrick Peak and wanted to know if we'd come and pack it down out of the wilderness for him. They could carry it out themselves, but where's the sport in that?

Of course we said YES!  So, Monday morning I went to work long enough to make sure we had coverage and to ask for the day off.  (Ricky just shakes his head, laughs and says, "OK" when I ask for stuff like this.) 

It was cold and the wind was blowing; not at all unusual for Flagstaff the end of November. We loaded up the mules and what packing gear we had and headed out towards Kendrick with the mules.  We finally got Steve on his cell phone so he could tell us where they were, parked at the Pumpkin trail head, geared up the mules, and headed up.  With my bad knees, I got elected to take the mules, and Dave was on foot. (Besides, I WAS the one that volunteered for this...) Keep in mind, neither of us had any real packing experience, but we had been sacking out with an elk hide the fall before, and Buddy had had a pack outfit on him a couple of times around the ranch just for practice. Now Buddy is a pretty easy-going, good all-around mule, and Babe is as close to a "perfect trail mule" as we're ever going to find, so I figured this ought to be fun!

click on thumbnails for a larger view

Steve loads the hind quarters in the boxes
and ties the rack, head and cape on top

The look in Buddy's eye says it all

the other side

Steve does a FINE job tying it on

It was COLD & WINDY up on that ridge!

NICE mules!

The brush was a little thick in spots

What a NICE pair of mules we have here;
neither one of them missed a step
on the way down!

Heading down the trail...


When ya gotta go, ya gotta go!

Buddy had to really work to squeeze
that rack between some of the trees!


Nothing like a steep narrow trail

(at least there was a trail in this spot)
Both mules did an absolutely perfect job; I was soooooo proud of them!  We even made it down to the truck just before dark.