29 March 2021
A 6- year old mule, Hickory, led a couple of hikers to the spot where his owner had fallen off and became injured on Sunday, March 28, 2020. Then he just disappeared into the forest.
The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office responded to a call to help a 60-year-old man who was injured from his fall from the mule while trail riding trails at Milo McIver State Park in Oregon near Estacada Reach.
Hickory walked along a trail until he found some hikers. He then led the hikers back to his injured rider. Once the hikers saw the mule Hickory started walking, careful to look back to make sure they were following him. Eventually, they found the man on the trail.
Doug Calvert, one of the hikers, told the Oregonian the mule walked back into the woods and was lost.
Chris Havel, a spokesperson for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department said on Monday morning that their rangers didn't receive any reports about a mule leading hikers to an injured man. They did hear that hikers had spotted a mule without a rider, prompting them to start an investigation.
The man was rescued and taken for medical care.
Havel announced that Hickory was found around 7:30 on Monday morning thanks to Toni Palmateer and her daughter Winter, who had heard about the missing mule in the park on social media on Sunday night. Neither knew that Hickory was a bit of a hero at the time.
They headed off to the park, found a truck with hay put out beside it, and decided that it must belong to the injured rider. The hay had not been touched. The two quickly headed off to look for the mule and less than half a mile later, they found him. He had gotten tangled in his reins and was having trouble walking.
Toni untangled his reign and the pair headed back to the parking lot with Hickory in tow. They met Sandy Leicht, a neighbor, and friend of the injured man. Sandy took Hickory home and he is doing well after his night in the woods.
The injured man who did not want to be identified is doing better but was still hospitalized.
Read the full story here: The Oregonian, https://www.oregonlive.com/clackamascounty/2021/03/hickory-the-mule-is-back-home-after-leading-hikers-to-injured-owner-then-disappearing-into-forest.html
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