Photo of the Day – Fitting Hoof Boots For Mules

Listen to Two Mules Clip Clop Across a Railroad Bridge

This morning my mules Brick, Cracker and I tackled the first leg of our mule ramble. We plan to spend the next two days riding 30 miles up the Virginia Creeper Trail. It all started in front of an ancient locomotive.

Start of the Virginia Creeper Trail (Abingdon, VA)
Brick giving a locomotive parked at the trailhead the side eye

Here are some photos and audio from the day you’ll enjoy.

Cracker crossing the first of 15 trestles we encountered… Continue reading

Goodnight Wishes From Damascus

I am writing you tonight from my hammock. It’s slung between my horse trailer and a stock panel. It’s pitch black outside and the night air smells like camomile.

Where I’m writing you from

I hear Brick and Cracker munching clover off in the night and I feel a deep peace. Tomorrow I saddle up and start my ramble. Here are a few more pics of where we’re camping.

Tonight I’m staying with Mike and Cindy Johnson. That’s Cindy in… Continue reading

Clothes For A Three Week Mule Ramble

Good Monday morning. The mules and I are heading to Damascus, Virginia today, to start our mule ramble. Right now I’m getting gear loaded into my saddle bags. Here’s how many clothes I’m taking for our three-week ramble.

The clothes I’m bringing on my mule ramble: 1 spare shirt, 1 spare pair of pants, 2 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of sock liners, thermal top and bottom (because it can get damn cold on the top of Grayson Highlands and… Continue reading

Join me For a Mule Ramble Along The Virginia Highlands Horse Trail

Hey, let’s go mule rambling! My mules Brick, Cracker and I are heading out next week on our next mule ramble, and I look forward to sharing the trip with you. Here’s a sketch of my intended route.

The Route: Virginia Creeper Trail to Virginia Highlands Horse Trail to Iron Mountain Trail

Like all my mule rambles, I’ve given myself permission to quit at any point for any reason. That sure takes the pressure of saying you’re going to do… Continue reading

Join us For Mule Days at Leatherwood 2024

Big mules, hairy mules, braying mules and sleepy mules. Mules chewing tie rails, wallowing in mud, running loose and standing with their giant ears flopped out to the side. Yes, Mule Days at Leatherwood is underway this week, May May 4 to 10.

Mule Days personified (mule-ified?): Clint and his mule Billy preparing to go for a ride. Clint says Billy is a “forward” mule which explains the tinkle in his eye (and Billy’s).

My wife Julia and I are… Continue reading

Which Swarm Box Will Catch the First Swarm of Bees?

I put up four swarm traps this week in the hope of catching a swarm of wild bees. Of the four traps I put out – Walnut, Oak, Wisteria and Willow – which one do you think will catch the first swarm of bees?

More about each swarm box in just a sec

How to Catch a Swarm of Bees

Last year, I built a swarm box, caught a swarm of wild bees, and installed them in a horizontal bee… Continue reading

What’s it Like to Float Alone in the Doldrums

This week, I had a great chat with Atlas Obscura co-founder Dylan Thuras about what it’s like to be stuck in the Doldrums. When I say the Doldrums, I don’t mean depression, a funk or a case of the mid-winter blues. I’m talking about the capital D Doldrums, the windless stretch of the Atlantic Ocean on either side of the equator that’s known for trapping sailors for weeks at a time.

The Doldrums: that place made famous by the “The… Continue reading

How to Move Beyond the Pressure Box With Trust Technique Practitioner Julia Carpenter

My wife Julia recently became the first Trust Technique practitioner certified to work with horses on the East Coast. That’s a big deal and I’m so proud of Julia, especially since she’s already such an accomplished horsewoman.

Julia with her Haflinger Pie (L) and rescue Arab-cross Magneto

A Half a Century With Horses

Julia and I grew up with horses, have traveled together with them (like the time we spent a month and a half riding them to Virginia and… Continue reading

Introducing Photo of the Day

I’m excited to add a new feature to RiverEarth.com. It’s called Photo of the Day and features a semi-random photo of my mules, friends, travels, and the life my wife Julia and I live in the mountains of western North Carolina – posted every few days to the home page.

The first Photo of the Day. This is my buddy Ronald Hudson. I bought my mule Polly from him almost twenty years ago. I’ve since learned that when he says,… Continue reading

List of Podcasts, Interviews and Reviews Featuring “Two Mules to Triumph”

The #1 Apple Travel Podcast Atlas Obscura recently dedicated an entire episode to the story behind my upcoming book Two Mules to Triumph
The back and front cover of Two Mules to Triumph, about riding my mules 2,300-mile journey from North Carolina to Idaho.

It’s an exciting time for my new book Two Mules to Triumph. Word is getting out, buzz is picking up and seven podcasts have invited me onto their shows to talk about the book.… Continue reading

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