Mule Skinner, Walt Robinson
There were several mule skinners hauling freight to and from the Eshom Valley/Camp Badger area. Among them were "Cummie " Edmiston, Earl & Ray Davis, Wes Lovern, Bill Downing, Horace Whitaker and "Hayhook" Hoover. Mr. Hoover got his name because he had a hayhook on one arm instead of a hand.
Walt Robinson was the first teamster to take a load of lumber down the old Dry Creek Road. Here is the story as Walt told Pat Hart:
"Well, after a lot of persuading and arguing, I convinced the mill people that Dry Creek Road was the shortest route to Visalia for their lumber. The Dry Creek Road hadn't been open too long, it was narrow and crooked. I staked my reputation on the fact I could take a six-mule team and wagon down Dry Creek, loaded with lumber. Not only could I do that, I would bring back a load of baled hay, and accomplish it all in less time"
Atop a high freight wagon loaded with several thousand feet of prime lumber, powered by six more or less unruly mules, he was the first to pioneer this route with such a vehicle. Any old timer who drove this route with lesser vehicles knew the hazards. Once you started down the grade there was no turning back.
Walter continues, "There just had to be Someone up there who cared, or that trip would never have had a happing ending. It was on my return trip that I lost face. You see the bargain was for me to bring back a load of baled hay. I loaded the hay in the wagon and started for home. All went well, I thought.. On arriving at the mill, most of my hay was gone. I knew that road was cooked, but didn't realize how crooked. It's going to be hard for you to believe, but what actually happened was the leaders, on those sharp turns, ate all the hay out of the back of the wagon".
No matter how rough the going became, Wal never lost his great sinse of humor.