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Twenty Mule Team

Posted by
Steve Rice (Olympia, United States) on 15 June 2010 in Transportation.

It took large teams to pull the wagons loaded with refined borax. The combined weight of the two wagons and water tanker was 36.6 tons (33.2 metric tons). The teams were usually made up of two draft horses and eighteen mules. The ten day journey was one of 165 miles to a railroad spur in Mojave, CA. The twenty mule teams earned their place in the lore of the Old West.

Death Valley National Park
Part of The Great American West series.

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I'll be busy the next few weeks. Commenting will be spotty at best.

Paco Díaz from Palma de Mallorca, Spain

What a document, Steve! Hard to think to be oneself making the journey!

15 Jun 2010 5:25am

Pavan Kaul from Mumbai, India

Steve this is just outstanding...from the fence in the foreground to the little fenced in structure in the distance and the wonderful carriage in between...wonderfully muted tones and great sense of scale...great work!!

15 Jun 2010 5:35am

jpla from St Barthélémy d, France

ça fait vieux film du far west et c'est superbe ! Bonne journée

15 Jun 2010 6:56am

Florence from Paris, France

How emblematic, symbolic of the american history. Incredible will to go west in such conditions. They were brave really and I suppose push by the hope to find a land of promises.

15 Jun 2010 7:31am

Zing from Hamilton, New Zealand

I like the pov, great shot!

15 Jun 2010 7:49am

Marie LC from Dauphiné, France

Your report is really very interesting for us Steve, a little of history of the America which comes to light every day.

15 Jun 2010 8:00am

♏arleen from Doesburg, Netherlands

I'm getting flashback's to the "Once upon a time in the west" movie...........!
Awesome image, Steve!

15 Jun 2010 8:12am

Peggy M. from somewhere in, France

J'ai l'impression d'entrer dans un western ! j'adore l'ambiance et la couleur qui s'échappe de ta photo, on ressent la chaleur ! Bises

15 Jun 2010 8:24am

Ronnie 2¢ from Atlantic Shores, United Kingdom

wow . . the narrative paints a picture in itself here. Can feel the history just looking at the shot.

15 Jun 2010 8:57am

Jhon from Fine Land, Singapore

A wild wild west setting. Great mood!

15 Jun 2010 9:06am

Viewfinder from Bradenton, FL, United States

Wow I am old enough to remember the old tv series "Death Valley Days" and I remember the photos. This brings back lots of memories.

15 Jun 2010 10:45am

@Viewfinder: Yes, I remember that program, too.

JJ from Jersey City, United States

this an amazing picture of times gone by added to by your narrative, superb

15 Jun 2010 11:29am

Michael from Chester, United Kingdom

Is this what they used to call a wagon train...? great historical picture, but it must have been a hard life for those mules.

15 Jun 2010 11:41am

@Michael: Wagon train refers to the convoys of horse-drawn covered wagons the settlers used. I must agree that the setup above does look like a train of sorts.

Daniel from Kenmare, United States


15 Jun 2010 12:19pm

pixator from kerman, Iran


15 Jun 2010 1:19pm

B.Held from Santa Fe, United States

just sensational :)

15 Jun 2010 1:25pm

MARIANA from Waterloo, Canada

Wonderful photo .

15 Jun 2010 1:50pm

Don from spokane, United States

It's hard to feature how difficult it was to move this product to market. I also can't imagine how difficult it would be go manage 20 mules harnessed to multiple wagons. Fine image.

15 Jun 2010 3:29pm

@Don: I can't imagine undertaking such a journey. The mules were pretty smart though. More on that tomorrow.

Stef67 from in my head, France

un superbe voyage grâce à toi, une série qui nous en apprend beaucoup, ou lorsque l image est aussi le partage de ce quelle contient, superbe ^^

15 Jun 2010 3:30pm

mirela from brighton, United States

where is John Wayne? love the tones in this photo!!!!

15 Jun 2010 3:33pm

john4jack from Corvallis, Oregon, United States

Very nice!

15 Jun 2010 3:36pm

Monique from Koh Samui, Thailand

Hard labor for those mules and horses too and that under those harsh circumstances! Love this view on the grounds, beautiful color toning and post processing.

15 Jun 2010 4:10pm

jelb from France

Amazing compositions, lightness of your interesting report..Bravo!

15 Jun 2010 4:50pm

hugo poon from hong kong, Hong Kong

Enjoy very much how you composed this shot, Steve... your play of light and tonality is marvelous, as always! Thanks too for the information! Wonderful tour!:-)

15 Jun 2010 4:59pm

Krunal from Mumbai, India

lovely wagons

15 Jun 2010 5:08pm

Diane Schuller from Hythe, Canada

fantastic photo and information too. I still use 20 Mule Team Borax! Gosh, now that you've shared that bit of history, I had no idea the heat those poor animals had to endure.

15 Jun 2010 5:10pm

Marie from FRESNES, France

joli cadrage, et jolies couleurs.

15 Jun 2010 5:29pm

Calusarus from St Sorlin en Valloire, France

I like this point of view a lot

15 Jun 2010 5:55pm

✿ Anina ✿ from Auckland, New Zealand

This looks like something that belong in a Western movie. A great shot. Superb composition and POV

15 Jun 2010 7:34pm

Irene from France

Wonderful picture...

15 Jun 2010 7:46pm

Daryl Johnson from Farnham, United Kingdom

What a life...

15 Jun 2010 9:18pm

Francesc B. from région parisienne, France

Another movie ??? Where is John Wayne ??? ... very interesteting explanations.
I like the colors here.

15 Jun 2010 9:34pm

PATRICK from miramas, France

just 5******

15 Jun 2010 9:57pm

Dutch from Chicagoland, United States

Great historical detail and the perfect image to put in a book!

15 Jun 2010 10:42pm

Wild Mustang Photography from Carlisle, United States

Cool subject!

15 Jun 2010 11:35pm

Steven from Chicagoland, United States

A great POV that illustrates history well. Thank you for the narrative information as well.

16 Jun 2010 2:19am

k@ from Paris, France

I'd have loved to visit that place with you, really feel we're back in times !

16 Jun 2010 8:22am

Sandy Weston from Madison, Maine, United States

Wonderful documentation Steve....and beautiful shots of these wagons too!

19 Jun 2010 1:12am