In Boulder, Garfield County, the Wild West doesn't seem so long ago.

Many residents can remember before 1971 when the road to this town of 175 was completely unpaved. A few can remember before 1942 when the town's steadiest link to civilization was a mule train that delivered the mail.On Monday, as a part of the state's centennial celebration, the people of Boulder are planning to re-enact the mule train that brought letters, birthday gifts, fencing wire, flour and sugar to this isolated southern Utah town.

Riders will ride along the old trail from Boulder to Escalante and then meet up with the Centennial Pony Express Ride going from Kanab to Logan.

Unlike most cities, where the spectators can only imagine what the pony express must have been like as the relay riders pass through, several of the people of Boulder remember the mule train clearly.

Truman Lyman, 81, recalls going to the post office, the Hansen's white-washed home where Annie C. Hansen was the postmaster, and waiting for the mail.

"We'd go and sit around and eat apples with her children and wait for the mules to come . . . They'd bring just about everything."

They brought sewing machines, boots, pots, pans and machine parts from Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward. On their way out the animals carried two to 10 gallon cans of cream.

"Most everyone around here had cows. It was about the only way to make a living," said Truman, who remembered watching Hansen weigh the cream on the postal scale.

Hansen was Boulder's fifth postmaster and served in the position from 1913 to 1949. Her oldest son, Franklin Hansen, 94, is the only surviving carrier of several generations of Boulder mail carriers.

He resides in a care center in West Valley. There's a plaid blanket on his bed. On his bookshelf, across from the picture of President Clinton, is a photograph of Hansen riding his horse on his 640-acre ranch in Boulder, a green valley surrounded by red-rock plateaus.

From 1934 to 1938, Hansen delivered the mail to Boulder while he homesteaded his ranch. In the summer, he would drive his pickup 45 miles along Hell's Backbone Road.

But from October to May, Hansen made the lonely two-day trip from Boulder to Escalante and back. He rode a horse and behind him towed four mules, loaded with parcels and cream cans. His trip took him along 30 miles of primitive wagon roads, parts of which are now U.S. 12, ranked one of the top 10 most scenic highways in the nation.The mule train crossed the Escalante River, wound down the Hogsback, a sliver of earth that seems to float 1,000 feet above a valley of red rock formations, then past Calf Creek Falls, and through the Escalante Canyons.

On his eight-hour journeys, Hansen rarely saw animals or humans. He sometimes talked to himself, and once he tried singing opera.

Hansen would spend the night in Escalante with his Aunt May Riding and then make the journey back. He spent six days a week on horseback.

"I was kind of hoping they'd get the road built so I could do in six hours what took six days," said Hansen, who was paid $1,500 a year.

Until the road was finished, the mule train was Boulder's lifeline. Families would make the two-week trek to Richfield two times a year to get supplies. Even after Hell's Backbone Road opened in 1936, few people made trips out of town. Hansen often took passengers in his pickup charging 75 cents a trip.

Now, people drive 75 mph to and from Boulder, a town not far behind most modern cities. Residents drive on paved roads and use cell phones and fax machines.

"We've pretty much caught up," said Judi Davis, Boulder's current postmaster. "There's still a definite heritage of the pioneer era. People have big gardens and a lot of old-timers work long hours."

Though tourists from France, Germany and Denmark flock to Boulder to experience what they consider a preserved piece of the old West, Boulder residents know better.

"When the road was paved clear through," said Davis, "that really changed Boulder forever."