|Mule Train, photo credit: Subbotsky|
|Mule trains start operating early in the morning|
|Loading a mule train|
Groups of about ten mules walking in a single file are often found on the trail, I've named this formation a mule train. One or more mule drivers guide the herd. The mule train walks up and down the mountain trail, crosses rivers on cable bridges, climbs the stairs all while carrying heavy loads on their backs. They move at a convenient speed. But tend to slow down or stand still if the driver falls behind. This might lead to a problem if a standing mule blocks a narrow trail on a ledge. The mules are tame and easy to guide, so its not very hard to get them going again. All you have to do is say "Chhaahh!!". It's a very Nepali sound which can hardly be transliterated using English letters. Pay attention to the mule herders on the trail to learn it. Don't try scaring the mules away, Nepalis never do that and they don't like anyone else doing that either. In fact, they appreciate and take care of their animals as best they can. The affection shows even in the working gear prepared for the mules - combination of colorful blankets, harnesses and wooden stirrups. Have a look at the colorful working gear of the mules.
|Working gears of the mule|
|get out of the way like Subbotsky does here. Photo credit: Subbotsky|
Subbotsky's post here provides another good advice. Firmly hang on to the side cable for support if you happen to find yourself on the cable bridge with a mule train. The mules tends to shake the entire bridge and one's simple balancing tricks might be inadequate, specially when you carry a backpack.