3 Mules seen traveling through Richmond District

The mules in Corte Madera on their way south to SF. Photo by Brian Narelle

Something unusual passed through the neighborhood last week – 3 mules.

But they’re not just any pack of mules – they have a cult following and even have their own website, 3mules.com, and a Facebook page with over 2,000 fans.

The three beasts of burden are led by 65 year old John Sears, who also likes to just be called “Mule”. They’ve been traveling for the past three decades and have made their way through sixteen western states, according to their website.

The purpose of this cross-country mule expedition? To call attention to the increasing trend of urban sprawl.

“Open spaces where they once moved through freely, and sometimes spent the night in a secluded spot, were disappearing,” the website says.

In February while passing through San Diego, Sears told a local news station, “There must be a balance between the man-made world and the natural world,” he said. “We can’t live in this unbalanced state and we all know it.”

While their leader prefers the simple moniker of “Mule”, the three mules have names – Little Girl, Lady and Pepper – and have quite a following online. During their trip through San Diego, fans tracked down the caravan to bring carrots and cash.

And while their journey may seem idyllic, the pack is not always welcome. They often meet resistance from rangers who don’t want them camping, and in Torrey Pines, Sears and the mules were issued a $485 citation for unlawful camping. He and the mules will be due in court later this year to address the citation.

We’ll be hearing more about the 3 mules in the coming months. Filmmaker John McDonald is working on a documentary about Sears, Little Girl, Lady and Pepper, and keeps the Facebook page updated with the latest developments.

On Sunday, the pack entered the city via the Golden Gate Bridge but not on foot – the bridge manager trailered them across instead. From there they entered Golden Gate Park where they spent the night “in an arena”. Perhaps the Polo Fields?

Safe travels, 3 mules. Thanks to reader Kay V. for the tip.

Sarah B.

Photo by Brian Narelle

The mules in Corte Madera on their way south to SF. Photo by Brian Narelle


  1. Corte Madera is north of SF so the captions seem off, “in Corte Madera on their way north to SF”.

  2. That was nice of the Bridge manager to trailer the mules across the Gate.

  3. Reminds me of the movie title “Two Mules for Sister Sara”. Maybe we need a Richmond District remake with the title “Three Mules for Webmistress Sarah”.

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