Yesterday, Oct 26th was Mule Appreciation Day. I wanted to get this post written yesterday but I couldn't come up with all I wanted to say. It has required considerable thought as I owe a great deal of appreciation to the mules.
I appreciate the mules Brick, Polly and Dusty who carried Bernie, me and our gear on our recent 200 mile ramble from our farm in Lenoir, NC to Damascus, VA and then on to Grayson Highlands and back to our farm.
Those mules endured. They put up with driving rain, baking sunshine, mud, rocks, highways, all manor of speeding vehicles (including dump trucks, logging trucks and tractor trailers), bees, bicycles, river crossings, tourists, cameras, tons of pats, bridges, railroad trestles, heights, windy roads, honking horns, town centers, sidewalks, an attacking mule, running horses, barking dogs, wild cows, wild ponies, snakes, goats, donkeys, motorcycles, runners, ditches, steep banks, barbed-wire, bush-waking, downed trees, minimal food, tangled pickets, sore heels, and times with out water.
They were truly tested. I am so proud of them all. They were amazing and gave us a wonderful trip. I appreciate each one of them so much, young Brick who carried Bernie and who saw so many things for the first time in her life, veteran Polly who carried the pack and never put one foot wrong even when she got dragged into a ditch or when the pack saddle slid sideways coming down a steep hill, old Dusty who has never in his life liked traffic held it together enough for us to survive the roads and was a true champion on the trail sections, flying over bridges and railroad trestles and even being calm when he got stung by bees.
These lovely animals were not only good beast of burden but were wonderful companions. Both Bernie and I loved being with them on the road. We loved watching them, taking care of them, sharing them with strangers and talking about them with the people we met. Yes, I have some mules to honor on this day, the day after Mule Appreciation Day.