The Mountain Canary Company 

Book Reviews

“The Reader’s  Bookshelf”

 The Mountain Canary Company Packer’s Guidebook attempts to provide the reader with a comprehensive set of instructions on packing with mules and horses in backcountry.  When you consider what is involved in achieving that goal – the entire range of complex topics that may be covered – it would be easy to dismiss the writers’ intentions as well-intentioned, but ultimately impossible to achieve.

  That’s what I did and boy, was I surprised.  Ed and Sue Haefliger have put together a guidebook that does for packing with horses and mules what all guidebooks should aspire to accomplish for their respective fields.

  To say that it is complete, comprehensive and detailed is only part of the story.  This book is so well thought out, intelligently designed and organized, and expertly illustrated with useful photographs that it is simply a joy to examine.  The text is well written, precise and easy to understand.  Illustrations are plentiful, well-labeled and generously enlarged.  It is no surprise, then, that the book was selected by the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) as the official manual for their trail course.

  Topics include training and trail safety, pre-trip planning and post-trip evaluation, building a steel mule for practice, basic and advanced knot-tying instructions, balancing a load on your horse or mule, loading cargo, putting on and taking off tarps, specialized panniers for timber, tools or gravel, feeding your stock in the backcountry, dealing with hikers and other visitors, whether to shoe your packing stock, and much more.

  Mingled among the abundant instructions, precise diagrams, and explanatory photographs, Ed and Sue offer some advice and philosophy to make your packing trips more enjoyable, safe and successful.  The book is well made on heavy paper with a sturdy medal spiral binding so it can lay flat on your table and has a protective plastic cover.  

Editor & Publisher, Joe Mischka, Rural Heritage Magazine, Volume 34, Spring 2009, Number 3

"Ed Haefliger has created a treatise on the subject of packing that reflects his experience as a Fire officer on structure fires.  The elements of danger on a fire are dramatic and constant.  His experience has taught him that the best way to avoid the horrible consequences of a situation is to plan for the situation before it occurs and do whatever is in your power to avoid it.  A large structure fire always has many unknowns that may affect your tactics, but it is a given that the danger inherent in the fire is such that a mistake may cost property and lives.  Ed approaches the subject of packing with the correct belief that many lives both Equine and Human will be affected by the way he instructs and how well his readers master the instruction.   

I have packed in the mountains of Washington, British Columbia and South America and have seen some of the best at work in the field.  I have had many great trips and some that were not so great.  The difference in the good and bad ones are a result of small neglected actions that would have made a bad trip into a good one if I had properly acted in the right manner and at the appropriate time.  In this book Ed and Sue eliminate a lot of the guess work about the proper actions and if followed their advice will provide the tools to avoid the bad trips and perhaps loss of health and limb.   

Mt. Canary packing is a resource for both the novice and advanced packer.  A novice has here all they need to begin their education in the field of packing and riding in the mountains.  An advanced packer and rider will find much in this book to compliment their experience and remind them of the little things they may have forgotten or never knew.  With their emphasis on Tread Lightly and conservation, Ed and Sue transition from the old packers who were extremely competent in their profession yet a little careless with nature to the modern wilderness user who must be ever conscious of the sensitivities of  the other user groups.  All of us as users must tailor our actions to avoid infringing on the experiences of others.  To that end this book is a great primer for us all and reminds us users of Equine that an offense to another user may develop a life long hatred toward our method of transportation.   

I cannot recommend this book too highly to anyone who wants to indulge in the pursuit of packing and riding in the mountains.  If followed the advice and experience of Ed and Sue will make for more pleasant trips through the rest of our riding and packing lives."

Tom F., Kapowsin,Washington , USA

The packers guide book is very informative.  I would suggest that people buying this book read it thoroughly.  The author has also suggested reference books that you can also read.  I have done some packing through the years.  The illustrations in the book are very good.  The knot tying is excellent.   The photos in the book are quite clear on how they pack their animals.

Glenn G.three-g-brand,  Shelton, Washington, USA.

At the time of this writing Glenn is 85 years young.  He is one of those fellows who has been there, done it all, lived through it and got the "tee" shirt.  Glenn is shown in the top photo on page 22 of this book.  He is pictured coming across the Olympic National Parks Home-Sweet-Home meadow in July of 1999.  It is a great honor to get this approval.

Being a well-seasoned equestrian, equine packer, and packing instructor, I am always delighted to share conversations, theories of techniques, methods, application, as well as shared packing experiences.  This manual provides a solid basis of instruction for the horse-person to build on with an emphasis on safety for both the equine and the handler, it is a solid fundamental instruction on the concepts, methodology, and the practical application of the art of packing.  The more learns the more we will realize that it is a never-ending journey to learn more.

Ronald D., Puyallup Washington 

Ron is quite an interesting gent, he is the owner of RJD Equine Services a stock training, breeding and farrier service, a CTA Certified Trainer of America, and a CFMA Certified Master Farrier of America, a CEIA Certified Equestrian Instructor of America, and an equine packing instructor for the U.S. Forest Service and the BackCountry Horsemen of Washington.  In addition, he has been a U.S.F.S. packer, U.S.F.S. smoke jumper, instructor for the US Ski team, rodeo competitor, and producer of thousands of volunteer hours of trail work with the BCHW.  Ron is a getter done kind of guy.  We are very pleased with this endorsement.
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