Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Mule-ish Adventure, Part 2

From Winnemucca I drove up to the WZ Ranch near Steens Mountain. 

 
Paul rounded up the mules from the range, then saddled up a couple of them for us to ride.

Our destination was the Round Barn which was built by early homesteader Peter French about 1880.


Out on the range.




 Back at the ranch Paul cooked up some elk steaks.  Later I pitched my tent out on the range and watched the moon rise while the coyotes howled.   The sun rose about 5 a.m.

Then it was hit the highway for home while trying not to crash gawking at the beautiful scenery!

And Teresa, I found you the perfect SE Oregon homestead!




Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Mule-ish Adventure, Part 1

Spending a weekend watching mules race was not on my wish list but now I've done it and loved it and had a blast!  For several years my nephew Paul has been involved in training and racing mules on the WZ ranch near wild and remote Steens Mountain.  Last week I joined him in Winnemucca Nevada to watch him in a 30-mile endurance race on a very hot day in the Nevada high desert.  

My nephew Hayden and I volunteered to wash down the mules at the halfway check-point.  We hitched a ride miles out into the desert with a rancher from LeGrande.  We filled huge tubs with water, block ice and giant sponges, then settled in to wait for the first mules to gallop in.   Paul and his mule MacGregor (on left), were one of the first to rush into the check-point:


Paul removes MacGregor's saddle so the rest of the crew can cool him down with ice water:


The task is done and off they go for another 13 miles:

Paul won third place in the race!   The next couple days we watched the rodeo and hung out with the mules.  We all slept in tents pitched in an empty stalls at the end of this row.