Monday, January 14, 2019

River and Pack Mules, July 1960

Here's a fairly standard (or even below-standard) view of the Rivers of America, with a Keel Boat passing by, the Mark Twain filling up with unleaded, folks standing on the fishing pier, and waaaaayyy in the distance, a flock of Pack Mules clip-clopping by Rainbow Ridge and up into the hills that lead into Nature's Wonderland.

It's too bad our photographer wasn't using a stereo camera, that fence would have been a good foreground element.

Now we're aboard the Columbia, and are directing our gaze above the heads of the other guests so that we can see even more Pack Mules as they approach Cascade Peak.


Nanook said...


I like the 'you are there' composition of the second image. (If only it were so...).

Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

While looking at these pictures I can't help but hear the "On the Trail" segment of Ferde Grofé's Grand Canyon Suite in my head. I know there's another Disneyland association with that piece, but I think it fits here, too.

K. Martinez said...

The first image with the wrought iron fence and Rivers of America activity is great. I agree that a stereo camera would've brought out the dimensional aspects of the photo. And now I miss the Mike Fink Keel Boats even more. I sure feel lucky that I was able to experience the Keel Boats along with the Pack Mules and Mine Train.

And then there's the Pack Mules. This is a great image. It shows the attraction interaction in the sense that the guests aboard the Columbia can watch the guests on the Pack Mules and Mine Train pass by while the guests on the Pack Mules and Mine Train can watch the guests aboard the Columbia pass by. All the various transportation attractions are in motion. Frontierland sure was wonderful with activity back then. But, then so was Tomorrowland. Thanks, Major.

zach said...

Major, you're not wrong very often but you are wrong that the Mark Twain ran on unleaded gasoline. Unleaded didn't come out until the 70's. It was leaded gas for sure.

I still miss the Keel Boats. I liked the 'closer to the water' views they afforded. And I was a kid so there's that.

Thanks, Major,


Tom said...

I love that first shot, with all the activity going on - so many elements. It would look so different taken today...

And if I don't miss my guess I'm thinking the mule pack is coming back into town, after crossing the natural arch bridge. It looks like they're on that high ridge that snakes back down through town.

JC Shannon said...

Another two winners. I do miss the Keel Boats and the Pack Mules and of course, the Mine Train. A Disneyland where you could spend a lazy day on the river, and if all you do is Frontierland, you won't be disappointed. 'Course you would miss Tomorrowland, which as Ken pointed out, was a must see. I spy two alpen hats, and a wicked cool sun bonnet. Thanks Major, for the priceless memories.

Anonymous said...

Of course the MT doesn't run on gasoline...more like steam generated from a boiler using boiler grade fuel. KS

Melissa said...

"the Mark Twain filling up with unleaded, folks"

At first, I read that as, "the Mark Twain filling up with undead folks." I guess that didn't happen until the first Bats Day.

These are both gorgeous pictures with tons of clear detail. I loved zooming in on #2 to see all the patterns and textures of that crazy quilt of midcentury summer clothes.

Matthew said...

Agree with all those who wrote above! GREAT photos!! Loads of activity. I still enjoy waving to passengers aboard the steam train as I travel the Rivers of America by boat... and vice versa when riding the Disneyland Steam Train.

Major, this is just a thought... but could it be that this photo was taken earlier than 1960? Looking at that first photo, I think parts of Cascade Peak would be visible from that angle. It seems to me that Big Thunder Falls would have been visible right above the blue/purple feather from that girl on the Keel Boat. Could be wrong too. I see what looks like something on the very far left of frame, left of the mast of the Keel boat, that may be Cascade Peak. Just a thought.

Always your pal,
Amazon Belle

Nanook said...

@ Matthew-

I think quite possibly that "something" you note is the edge of Cascade Peak. It's pretty 'fer 'round the bend' from Rainbow Ridge, don't-cha know.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I like it too!

Chuck, as a teen, I listened to my dad’s old classical records, including the Grand Canyon Suite. I can still smell the dusty old vinyl, and feel the heat of the old hi-fi (with glowing orange vacuum tubes). Great memories!

K. Martinez, the wrought-iron fence makes me think of Viewmaster reels, those photographers were often very good at placing foreground elements that would really jump out at you. You make a good point about the Pack Mules being visually interesting to people who weren’t even on the ride - something that so many other Disneyland attractions accomplished (as you said). Great comment!

David Zacher, my shame is so great that I may have to turn in my sash that says “BLOGGER”. I wear it everywhere I go, but now I feel like a fraud.

Tom, hmm, it never occurred to me that the Pack Mules would be almost through their journey. I thought that, if anything, it had was near the beginning! I will bow to your guess though, you sound pretty confident.

Jonathan, well gosh, I didn’t expect such positive reaction to these pix. It’s a nice surprise. I’m sure my pal Mr. X could easily spend a day in old Frontierland. Even now it’s practically all he talks about! Whereas I am more of a Tomorrowland boy. What can I say, I love them all!

KS, I was just kidding, I promise!

Melissa, I like the way you think. Would you consider that baby bonnet to be a “starter” babushka?

Matthew, it’s funny, I’m not generally a waver, but when I used to eat at the Hungry Bear, I always waved at the people on the Mark Twain when it passed by. And people always waved back! It was very satisfying. I think you are right about the sliver of Cascade Peak being visible to the extreme left in that first picture. But it’s not a bad thought… dates on slides are notoriously unreliable! Thanks.

Nanook, I agree, though it always surprises me to see just how much farther away it is from the Mark Twain dock than it actually IS.

Nanook said...


What - you mean to say you haven't a Blogger tiara to go-along with the sash-?? For shame-!

Melissa said...

Definitely a starter babushka! Next step is the triangle with two strings, and then straight on to the full Mrs. Krushchev.

Anonymous said...

I did ride the mules once as a kid and remember riding over the natural bridge. Like K Martinez I also rode a Keel Boat (bottom deck which nobody did) and experienced the Mine Train at least a couple couple of times. Seems to me I once had a Viewmaster reel of the inside of the mine which I looked at over and over between Disneyland trips. Any Viewmaster that showed the inside of a dark ride was by far my favorite.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, no tiara, they ruin my hair, which I spend 3 hours on every morning.

Melissa, in a way it’s the “circle of life”, only with babushkas.

Anonymous, lucky you… you did the Keel Boats and Pack Mules… happily I did ride the Mine Train not long before it closed forever. Yes, there was a Viewmaster reel that showed the inside of Rainbow Caverns, I scanned it years ago, and you can see it here: