To celebrate the 100th birthday of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, 100 mules have set out from the eastern Sierra on a trek to the metropolis as part of a mobile art project.
The procession began Friday and was expected to make a 240-mile journey over the coming weeks, traversing both vast sage plains and dozens of cities before arriving in Los Angeles on Nov. 11, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The effort, titled "100 Mules Walking the Los Angeles Aqueduct," is the brainchild of artist Lauren Bon, granddaughter of the late publishing magnate and philanthropist Walter Annenberg.
Bon led the parade of pack animals and a handful of guest riders as it began the first leg of a monthlong journey.
"Yeah," Bon said, "I'm riding all the way to L.A."
Los Angeles has been vilified by its northern neighbors after land and water rights were snatched up in the Owens Valley to quench the thirst of the growing city. As a result, Owens Lake dried up and natural springs that fed farmland and fish hatcheries were drained.
The mules were vital for construction because they were able to haul machinery and materials to remote locations.
Many residents and merchants in the eastern Sierra communities, where there are mule excursions into the wilderness, didn't see the parade as a big deal.
"Maybe it'll attract more attention when it gets down to the Los Angeles area," said Kathleen New, president of the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce.
Bon said the mule train is a prelude to another project that includes building a 70-foot wheel that would draw water out of the Los Angeles River to create a retreat north of Chinatown.