Publications made by Mt. Whitney Pack Trains
and other Sierra Nevada Packers
Support our Sierra Nevada Packers - Purchase their publications
all of you High Sierra packers!
Days is book
you DO NOT want to miss reading. Slim Randles has masterfully
captured the life of two Owens Valley packers, Buck and Smokey,
and their adventure, not only in the Coso Mountains but their
adventure in life. It is a heartwarming story which will challenge
your emotions as you reflect on those days when you were once
a packer yourself.
Slim has informed me that he is working on the screenplay to
his book and it will soon be made into a motion picture. When
it is, I hope that all of you former and current packers will
do the High Sierra packing business the honor of seeing the movie.
Sun Dog Days is available at www.amazon.com
Cowboys and Packers!
has authored another wonderful book that I'm certain all of you
cowboys and packers will not only enjoy reading yourself, but
enjoy reading to your children. In a time when people seem to
have sacrifice their morals on the altar of political correctness,
Slim has authored a book which will help parents instill a true
moral compass in their children, and perhaps, in the process,
reset their own. Wow! What a book Slim!
A Cowboy's Guide to Growing Up Right is available at www.amazon.com
Attention Sierra Lady packers!
You will love this heartwarming story about a teenage girl and her adventures packing with John Slaughter at the Sierra Lady Pack Station located at the mouth of Haiwee Canyon were the Sam Lewis Pack Station operated for over 50 years. Her encounters with rattlesnakes, bears, mountain lions and wreckless hunters will keep you enthralled. The winter she spent at the pack station with no one for company other than the pack station stock would put most teenagers to shame today who are content to be preoccupied with senseless electronic social media. The challenges she was forced to overcome as a teenager in that situation were both harrowing and maturing. Well done Roni!
As I read Roni's story, I couldn't help but get excited at the spiritual experiences
the Spirit of God opened up to her. We should all be so blessed. Now you can be, by heading up "The Longest Trail" with Roni.
The Longest Trail is available at www.amazon.com
The 2016 revised edition is
Oakdale Cowboy Museum
355 F Street
Oakdale, CA. 95361
|I first met Ed in the summer of 1965 while working for Mt. Whitney Pack Trains. I was as green as they come city slicker who hadn't the faintest bit of knowledge about mules or horses. I don't recall even seeing either up to this point in time. Ed, on the other hand, was your typical "aggie" guy who seem to know quite a bit. Even if he knew nothing, he just appeared to know more than me. With his red hair, he was immediately nicknamed "Red." Being only 5' 7" I was soon to be name "the pigmy packer." Ed was quite the smoker. It seemed that he always had a cigarette between his lips. With his cowboy hat and boots, he seemed quite the cowhand. I'll never forget our first summer at the pack station. Ed, my brother Tom, and I spent an entire week camped out in relentless rain at Outpost Camp on the Mt. Whitney Trail. Outpost Camp was located 5.3 miles up the trail in an area dominated by rocks, streams, and willows. Every day the three of us would make the trek another 3 miles up the trail from Outpost Camp to Trail Camp where we would tie up our horses, unpack our mule of shovels and pickaxes and hike another mile up the trail where the 97 switchbacks are. There we would begin shoveling snow off of the Mt. Whitney Trail. At 13,000' this was quite the laughing picture. Every day we were pickaxing and shoveling snow while it was snowing at 13,000'. Without the pickaxe the job would have been more than impossible. The repeated snowing and melting rendered bands of ice in between layers of snow up to a total thickness over 6 feet deep in places. I think you are beginning to get the picture of the pure hell we endured for five days. It was even more difficult for Ed who was gasping for air at 13,000' because of his relationship with smoking. Every day Ed would swear that he would never light up another cigarette; but, as soon as he got into our soaking wet camp at Outpost Camp ... that was the first thing he lit up.
In his latest revision of Rhyme Doesn't Pay, Ed has once again gifted us with more of his wonderful cowboy poet spirit. The first time I read Ed's cowboy poems I was throughly amazed by his inspirational and gifted writing. I had no idea the young man I packed alongside of at Mt. Whitney Pack Trains would, one day, be so gifted. Since this book is once again in print, you
should definitely make this part of your cowboy poetry collection.
Rhyme Doesn't Pay is available at www.amazon.com
|Irene Kritz, another employee of Mt. Whitney Pack Trains during my days with the outfit, has put together a fascinating collection of 30+ years of packing experience as a High Sierra cook with several pack outfits along the eastern face of the Sierra Nevada in Owens Valley. Her experiences with wrecks involving packers and the mules/horses, moving stock in the Alabama Hills, loose herding, backcountry cook experiments, and just plain surviving the wit and wisdom, or lack thereof, of packers is a wonder to behold. After reading Irene's and Roni's books I am inspired to write one of my own.
Irene has cleverly captured the heart of the packstation cook and her colorful relationship with outfit owners, cowboys (and wannabe cowboys) and eastern Sierra Nevada mule packers. You don't want miss reading Irene's book and the unique imagery it brings from the heart of a truly great packstation cook. Hallelujah!
Campfire Smoke and Trail Dust is available at www.amazon.com
Poets, Cowboys and Packers!
Duane Rossi (poet, cowboy, and packer), of Big Pine, California, has written an inspiring collection of poems accompanied by some amazing textual insight and anecdotes to each of the poems. I particularily like his selection of publisher - "100 Proof Publishing Company." You will love Duane's coboy humor as you read such wonderful poems as Monache Rodeo, Pete, Ol Bob, Andy, Rose Valley Opera, Spooky Meadows, The Saddle, Sierra Sunset and more.
The Monache Rodeo has JUST BEEN REPRINTED
Available for $15 from Duane (call 760.938.2280 or e-mail Duane at firstname.lastname@example.org)
|Duane Rossi has come up with another wonderful book - Squawbuck Joe. The story of Squawbuck Joe emerged from the Indian wars of 1863; a story based upon one man's moral decision to stand against the conflict to protect a family that raised him as a boy. He was deemed a coward for a selfless act, and Joe's. This is a story of deep loyalty mixed with betrayal, as told by pioneer settlers about a brave Owens Valley Paiute.
Squawbuck Joe is available at www.amazon.com
Lona Burkhart, as an honest-to-goodness cowgirl, packer, rancher, and author is another one of Owens Valley's finest. Her book, Cow Tracks on the Land, weaves a beautiful, and sometimes teary, collection of stories, poems and sketches of her life as a poet, rancher, and Sierra Nevada packer. Besides having a wonderful collection of her own works, she has also featured other renown western authors such as Jon Bowerman, ramona Turmon, Bob Schield, Eric Spardo, Leon Flick, Betty Lynne Grue, and Sonny Hancock. This is a wonderful heartwarming book with poems and stories which will bring tears to your eyes.
Cow Tracks on the Land (1990) is available at: www.amazon.com
|Lona Tankersley Burkhart and Ramona Turmon have co-authored this marvelous book of western poetry which will inspire you about the marvel that is the west, the friends who will stand by you no matter what, and a life that city dwellers, if possible, could only imagine that they could partake of. This book also features Lona's artistically beautiful western sketches that are so prominent in all of her publications.
Where Old Trails Meet the New (1988) is available through www.amazon.com
and through www.abebooks.com
page was last updated on 18 May 2017