There are certain requirements that must be met in order to make the climbing of a high mountain, not only successful, but enjoyable. We need to have a good reason to get to the top of the mountain. Then we need to be in good physical condition, in order to make the climb. The climb will be much easier and safer if we follow the trail that is laid out from the bottom to the top choosing the best route.

In climbing the mountain of life we must first condition our bodies for the climb and our hearts and attitudes to make the climb enjoyable. The best trail to follow is the trail of happiness laid out by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As we follow this trail we will find that it has been laid with care, choosing the best route and winding back and forth to lessen the steepness of the climb. This climb is best made with a steady firm step. As the Lord has put it, Line upon Line, precept upon precept. We are cautioned not to run faster than we have strength.. We must also stay on the trail and enjoy the climb as we go. We must enjoy the scenery as we go along the trail. We must also help those that are with us along the way. It is much more enjoyable to share our lives and our progress as we steadly climb the beautiful trail to the top.

One day Naoma and I were riding our mules up a well worn trail in the high San Joaquin mountains. Naoma was riding a mule we called Leontina. This mule had been raised on our ranch and had never climbed the mountains before. After climbing back and forth up the steep mountain for quite awhile Naomas mule went off the trail on seemed to be a little level place. Soon the mule was floundering in the soft dirt of the steep mountain side. The mule began to panic and struggle frantically. Naoma stopped her and dismounted to calm her down. After the mule had rested a bit and calmed down, we led her back to the trail. We decided that this mule was not prepared for the rest of the steep climb to the top of the mountain.

We sent Leontina up to the ranch in the Sierra Madre mountains where she could run with the other horses and mules and learn how to negotait the rugged mountains. She later became a very good riding mule in the roughest of trails in the mountains.

Uncle Harvey Taylor and I were hunting turkey up in the beautiful high mountains of Las Playas the Don Auguistine Chinillo ranch. We were camped at the ranch, but we rode out very early. I had sent the mules up in a truck, so we had our own mules to ride. Uncle Harvey wanted to ride a big beautiful fat mule that was in the corral with the other mules. I told him that I wanted him to ride a little mule we called Golondrina. He insisted that he wanted to ride the big mule. I knew that the big mule was not conditioned for the work ahead. He finally consented and he saddled up Golondrina, and I saddled up the big mule. We rode across the mesa and down into the canyon. Golondrina stepped out in a fast easy gait while the big mule came trotting along behind. We climbed the trail up the steep mountain side. Golondrina climbed along the trail at a strong steady walk. My big mule would rush up the steeper inclines even though I tried to hold him down to a steady walk. Soon he was dripping sweat and puffing and panting as he climbed the steep trail. I often let him stop to rest at convenient turns in the trail. Uncle Harvey was enjoying the coming of the dawn as Golondrina plodded steadly back and forth up the steep mountain side. When I arrived at the top my mule was trembling with fatigue and dripping wet with sweat. Uncle Harvey was off his mule walking around her rubbing her neck and belly to see if she had sweat. He turned and said in amazement, "She didn't stop once and she didn't even sweat."

The big beautiful mule had been given to me by Emilio Burgoes when I gave him my beautiful horse Masai. The mule had belonged to his father in law and had been kept in the stable with plenty hay and grain to eat but with very little exercise. Golondrina had been worked under a pack in the rugged mountains of Sonora. When we bought her we began using her to ride in the mountains ever since. She knew how to climb steadly on the trail even eating a mouth full of grass or shrubs as she went along the trail.

One year when Claudius and I arrived at the Burgoes ranch on the Gavilan, for our yearly deer hunt We found the ranch deserted, with only two horses in the corral. Soon the cowboy arrived and told us that he had not been able to find the mules, so we would have to ride the two horses that were in the corral. Claudius chose the pretty horse and left me the ugly brown horse to ride.

As we were saddling up the cowboy told me that my horses name was Ubar, harry spider. This name fit him very well because he was harry all over, but his mane was thick and bushy, especially around his ears and down his forhead, giving him an unkept look.

We rode out of the ranch looking forward to a beautiful dAy of hunting. Claudius took the canyon trail and I took the rougher trail which we called LA Loba. As we started up the rugged trail I could feel that Ubar was eagerly starting the long climb up the mountain. I could tell that he knew what he WAS about for he joyfully took each turn in the steep climb. My attitude changed from doubtful acceptance to a growing love for this ugly, but wonderful horse. He climbed steadly with a strong confident stride avoiding every projecting rock or tree near the trail. I began to enjoy the scienery and to enjoy the ride with every confidence in my new found friend. My con fidence and expectation grew as we climbed higher and higher. I occasionally looked back down into the river basin and could see the ranch house grow smaller and smaller as we ascended into the big pine forest.

The rest of the hunt was A joy to me riding that ugly, but wonderful horse through the ridges and canyons of the Sierra Madre. The last evening as we rode past the ranch house, and took the trail up to where we had left the truck it got very dark. The clouds obscured the moon and the stars and to me it seemed very very dark. I had every confidence in old Ubar and knew that he would safely carry me up the steep and rocky trail. I could hear him sniffing his way over the rough trail. His step was unfaultering and steady. I even enjoyed that climb in the darkness and cool of the night. As we returned home in the truck I told Claudius about the joyful ride that I had enjoyed during our hunt.

The next year when we came back old Ubar was not there. I never knew what happened to him. I still remember that wonderful hunt when I rode old Ubar and enjoyed just riding the rugged trails of that beautiful country.

When I was teaching school in the Academy, John Whetten, Dean Turley, Larry Scousen, and I decided to go on an overnight deer hunt up on the Stairs ranch. The ranch belonged to Jay Whetten and John had permission to hunt there. We left Friday after school and got to our camp in the Stairs creek, just at sundown. We enjoyed our supper and the evening talk around the campfire. I had prepared my bed in a plastic tube tent on a rope that was tied between two trees. In the morning when I awoke there was skif of snow on the ground around my plastic tube tent. It was beginning to get light in the East as I Quickly dressed and put on my empty back pack. With my 3006 in my hand I began the long climb out of the canyon towards the high rim of the mountain.

It was just light enough to see where I was stepping as I angled up the steep side of the mountain toward the white limestone ridge as the top of the mountin. I enjoyed the cold crisp morning climbing easily and steadily higher and higher on the steep side hill. As I neared the top walking quietly, I looked up and saw several deer feeding just under the white limestone. I could see the plainly in the early morning light. I knew that there must be a big buck sumewhere near because the ones I could see were all does and fawns. I heard a lound whistling snort and finally located the big buck who was standing watch over his harem. I aimed carefully and squeezed off my shot. The buck jumped in the air and ran a few steps before falling and sliding down towards me. I cleaned him and cut of the legs at the knees and the hawks. I carefully tied the big buck on my backpack with the head and horns separate on the bottom. I put the heavy load upon a rock and slipped my arms into the shoulder straps. I adjusted the load on my shoulders and back and felt comfortable with it. I began the descent walking carefully and steadily along the way I had come. I enjoyed the feel of the load on my back and shoulders and felt the beauty of the morning as I walked along down to our camp. I was the first one back from the hunt so I hung the big buck up to drain in a nearby tree. I took my little fishing pole and reel and began to fish up the beautiful little creek. Those beautiful Yaqui trout were biting very well that morning and I soon had about 15 good sized trout in my bag. I was cleaning the trout when John Whetten came staggering into camp carrying his big buck draped over his shoulders. He was drenched with blood from his shoulders past his waist. He asked me if I had any luck since he saw that I did not have any blood on my shirt. I pointed to the big buck hanging in the tree, then I pointed to the back pack which was drying in the sunshine. He commented that next time I was going to come prepared with a backpack. Soon Larry and Dean came back to camp empty handed. After a leisurely breakfast of rainbow trout fried in butter and liver and onions, we loaded up the truck and were soon on our way home. I tell this experience to illustrate the fact that if we are prepared, climbing the hill of life can be pleasant and joyful. We send our love and greeting with the hope that you are all well and enjoying your climb up the mountain of your life.