It seems that we all have within us an instinct or desire to protect ourselves from harm. I have noticed in my walks of exercise that a gradual change putting more weight and responsibility on the hip and leg that was recently operated on. We have had many experiences that demonstrate a strong instinct of self preservation.

One summer Naoma and I and all the family that were home went on a pack trip to trout creek and surrounding country. We had invited Donny Bowman to go with us. He had broken his left leg, but it was healing nicely and he wanted to spend some time with us in the mountains.

We were all well mounted on mules and horses and leading our pack mules along the rugged trail going down toward Trout Creek. Donny was riding a little mule that we called Coyote. He was leading one of the pack mules. We were all riding happily along enjoying the scenery and the beautiful mountain country. The rough horse hair lead rope that he was leading the pack mule with some how got under Coyote's tail. Coyote clamped down on that rope with his tail and exploded into a bucking run. He passed us all up and was gaining speed as he bucked along the trail. Donny was doing well staying in the saddle, but when he saw the trail ahead disappear into space He wasn't about to ride that mule into thin air. He threw himself off the mule, landing on his good leg side protecting his broken left leg. Coyote took a few more jumps and stopped at the edge of the cliff where the trail turned sharply to the right and angled down along the edge of the cliff. There Coyote waited patiently for Donny to come and remount. Even the mule has a strong instinct of self preservation.

Donny explained that when he saw the empty space ahead he automatically threw himself off the mule onto his good side. He was a little pale and shaken, but otherwise unhurt, as he landed on the uphill side in the soft grass.

We all continued on down the trail and made camp by the beautiful trout stream where we usually camped.