Death Valley set to host 20 mule team reenactment

Courtesy of Death Valley National Park: a historical photo of the 20 mule team, the famous team known to transport Borax from Harmony Borax Works in Death Valley. A recreation of the team will debut at the Wild West Extravaganza Parade on May 2. Death Valley Park National Park
The recreation of the 20 Mule team was made possible by Death Valley Conservancy, Bobby Tanner, the Death Valley 49ers, the Death Valley Natural History Association and private donors. Friday, November 8 and 9, the park announced.
Several partners are working together to create this event, which culminates two weeks of special events in the park.
Team 20 Mule will direct a parade from The Inn at Death Valley to Harmony Borax Works and will return from 1 p.m. at 3 pm. November 8th.
The mules will pull the wagons on the same route from 2 to 4 p.m. November 9 Parking is available at The Ranch at Death Valley, Furnace Creek Visitor Center, and on the overflow lot in front of the Visitor Center. Parking will not be available at Harmony Borax Works because the 165-foot mule train and wagons will need the entire lot to turn around, the park said in its press release.
Expect traffic delays of up to an hour on California Highway 190 in the Furnace Creek area during these events, the park said.
The recreation of the 20 Mule team was made possible by Death Valley Conservancy, Bobby Tanner, the Death Valley 49ers, the Death Valley Natural History Association and private donors.
In the 1880s, teams used 18 mules and 2 horses to extract 20 tons of borax, plus mule drinking water, 165 miles through the desert to the Mojave railway. The mule teams only operated in Death Valley for six years, but their legend lived through the Death Valley Days radio and television program, and the “20 Mule Team Borax” brand.
“The Borax 20 Mule team represented a breakthrough in transportation over a century ago and has since become an icon of the Wild West,” Preston Chiaro, president of Death Valley Conservancy, said in a park press release. “We hope you will join us to see the revived legend and meet people like Bobby Tanner and Dave Engel, who helped recreate this exciting chapter in the history of Death Valley.”
Replica wagons include two freight wagons weighing four tons each with a capacity of 10 tons and a 1,200 gallon water car. They were built with the same methods and materials used to build the original versions by the cart manufacturer Dave Engel. Efforts to build historically accurate wagons were led by the mule expert from Death Valley Conservancy and Bobby Tanner, who will lead his mule team using the same techniques that pioneered more than 130 years ago.
Dave Engel used traditional materials and methods to reproduce the wagons, each of which weighs four tons. When they are not being dragged by mules, the wagons are permanently exhibited at the Laws Railroad Museum near Bishop.
The Death Valley National Park celebrated its 25th birthday with a full week of special events from October 26 to November 2.
The 70th annual Death Valley ‘49ers camp began on November 6 and runs until November 9. Some events are free and open to the public. Others require joining the ‘49ers, which can be done on the site ($ 35 / person or $ 60 / family). These events include presentations of history, western music, cowgirl poetry and a vendor area. Camp information is at deathvalley49ers.org

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