News & Events

Laurel Hill State Park, PA

Hickory the mule is back home after leading hikers to injured owner, then disappearing into forest

Mar 30, 2021

A mule who went missing in a state park in Estacada [Oregon] after rescuing its owner is now back home.


Toni Palmateer first heard about the missing mule in Milo McIver State Park [Oregon] on social media Sunday night.

Palmateer, a respiratory therapist who lives nearby in Eagle Creek, knew she was in a position to help. She has a few horses of her own and a trailer, so when she woke up Monday morning she posed an easy question to her daughter, 16-year-old Winter Palmateer.

“Do you want to go get up and go to school or do you want to go find this mule?” she asked her daughter.

“Let’s go!” came the quick response, Toni Palmateer told The Oregonian/OregonLive.

The pair didn’t know then that the mule in question was a bit of a hero.

The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office said a 60-year-old man was riding his mule on trails at the state park near Estacada on Sunday afternoon when they believe he fell off and hurt himself. Authorities haven’t identified the man.

The mule began walking alone on the trail until it found two people hiking. One of the hikers, Doug Calvert, said the mule started walking back toward the direction it had come, and seemed to be watching him and his wife to make sure they were following. After about half a mile of following the mule, they came upon the injured man. At that point, Calvert said, Hickory wandered back into the woods.

Full story here