Most newspaper articles that I read these days are filled with words of oil spills, the war in Afghanistan, and the budget woes of California. Today was different. Today, in our local newspaper, The Kaweah Commonwealth, the article that read, “Park packers triumph at Mules Days” immediately grabed my attention, and I mean right now.
I read on. “…many of the events won by the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks pack team….took first place in the Pack Team Scramble and Team Packing Contest…..” I then saw the name I was hoping to see, Nick Knutson, along with Dan Baker, D.J. Fiske, and Robert Hall… (fellas I have not met, but know the company you keep, and they must be top hands). I was happy to see Greg Feltis’ name too.
But this article only got better as I read the words…..”The individual honor of ‘World Champion Packer’ was won by Sequoia-Kings Canyon’s Nick Knutson….”
You have taught me a great deal about stock, mostly by just watching you and mimicking your moves. You always told me that “it’s just miles” that provides the experience but I know different, it's the guy in the saddle too! My most treasured moments in the backcountry of Sequoia/Kings Canyon have been on a horse and your company around the campfire. To this day, I am most proud that you named a horse in my name, “Cowboy.” What a trip!
I hope my note finds you in good health, on a good pony, with plenty of grass and water for the stock, and a few beers to chase down the dust.
You’re the top hand in these parts of the west!
Until we meet again, congratulations Nick! Bob Griego
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The entire Lone Pine and Bishop area is immense, incredibly scenic, and the set for numerous western movies. The weather here is always unpredictable and found that out on my last trip to the Bishop Mule Days. The skies are dark and rain falls fast and hard. Many of the contestants rush to protect their gear and stock. I seek shelter under the roof of a horse trailer. I take pictures of this storm and the skies are dramatic. The cover picture for My Motorcycle Tales was taken during this storm.
The weather for most Mule Days have been good. This event takes place around Memorial Day. The year my brother Gilbert and I went, it was dry and a perfect day to see the parade in downtown Bishop. The National Park Service is well represented by Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks as well as Yosemite National Park. On this parade day, the Cowboys from Tombstone, Arizona are in town. Unknown to us, their is also the Vietnam traveling wall. That wall will play an important role in the rides ahead.
If you ever have the opportunity to attend Mule Days, it will be a fun experience for everyone. We usually camp at the Lone Pine Campground and do a day ride up to Bishop. A couple of years ago, we camped at Sabrina Lake and at the higher elevation, a bit cold.
|Storm over Mount Whitney, California ~ riding to Bishop Mule Days|
|Wild stampe ~~ Bishop Mule Days|
|Bishop Mule Day, "an old time rodeo"|
|Friend and Nick Knutson, "the weather is changing"|
|"The mountains made me pause"|
|"Howdy Bob", Greg Feltis at Bishop Mule Day parade|
|Cowboys from Tomestone, Arizona|
|Greg Feltis, Robert Griego, Jim Harvey at Bishop Mule Days|