About Bernie

Bernie Harberts with his mule Polly, who appeared with Bernie in an Emmy Award-winning public TV program (Floydada, TX)

Bernie Harberts is a filmmaker, author, adventurer and subject of an Emmy Award-winning TV program. He is also a speaker and creator of “The Lost Sea Expedition”, the award-winning documentary about traveling from Canada to Mexico with his mule Polly.

His upcoming book “Two Mules to Triumph” is about his 6-month mule voyage from North Carolina to Idaho

“Two Mules to Triumph” Click here to get a heads-up when the book is released.

Bernie is married to Julia who blogs at ConsideringAnimals.com. His first hustle was selling mistletoe to his neighbors and he wishes he’d won more races as as a steeplechase jockey.

Julia and Bernie. This photo was taken the day they returned from a 6-week mule ride from North Carolina to Virginia and back.

Bernie’s Travels

Bernie prides himself on tackling big trips in small bites. That means using simple equipment, asking for help along the way and not waiting until perfection to take off on a journey. His trips included:

Voyaging Under Saddle

Bernie’s big love is taking long mule voyages through America. He’s a Long Rider and a member of the Long Rider’s Guild, the guild for anyone who’s taken a continuous saddle voyage of more than 1,000 miles.

Where is Home?

When he’s not out rambling by mule, boat or bike, home is Caldwell County in western Carolina. Julia and Bernie live in what she calls the “shoe box canyon”. Nature and topography are the box. The hay fields where their horses and mules graze are their front lawn. The mountains have their back, and the stars are their roof.

Their home is under 500 square feet which feels like plenty to Bernie after years of living in wagons, tipis, and tents. He and Julia heat with wood, wash with gravity water and make about as much electricity as they use with the solar panels on the roof of their cabin. You can read more about how they live right here.

Home: life is good when your lawn is a hayfield. The rows are the season’s first hay cutting.
Looking toward the Brushy Mountains from the top of the mountain behind Bernie and Julia’s cabin
The closest neighbors are animals. Here, an eastern box tortoise cooling down in a puddle.

Bernie and Julia live close to some great horse and mule-back riding. Sometimes they ride out their front gate and see where they end up.

One day, they rode their mules out the front gate and by afternoon…
…they arrived at the Happy Valley Fiddlers Convention 10 miles away. On this ride, they ended up riding a month and a half to Virginia and back.

North Carolina Roots

Bernie grew up in North Carolina and went to NC State University where he earned a degree in Wood and Paper Science. After a few years in the corporate world, he decided he’d rather commute with a mule than a Volvo.

In his thirties, he rode his mule Woody 13 months across America, capturing glimpses few have slowed to document. He wrote 2 books about that voyage which you can find in the RiverEarth.com General Store.

Since then he has logged thousands of miles more miles by mule and wagon. PBS North Carolina and “Our State” magazine joined Bernie and his mule Polly for one of these trips. That episode, “Mule Rider”, won an Emmy Award.

“The Mule Rider”: directed by Morgan Potts (UNC-TV) (courtesy of UNC-TV)

The “Lost Sea Expedition” series

Traveling with a single mule and a tiny wagon he built in a friend’s garage, Bernie spent 14 months traveling from Canada to Mexico across the Great Plains learning more about the ancient sea that once covered the Great Plains.

He filmed the whole voyage myself, a first-ever for a cross-country wagon voyage. Back home he edited that footage into the award-winning “Lost Sea Expedition” documentary. The 4-part series premiered on Rocky Mountain PBS (Colorado).

The “Lost Sea Expedition” trailer

The “Lost Sea Expedition” can be streamed on Amazon right here. Plenty more about the series at LostSeaExpedition.com.

Get a Heads-up When Bernie’s New Book “Two Mules to Triumph” Comes Out

“Two Mules to Triumph” is about my 2,300-mile mule voyage from North Carolina to Idaho.

Get in Touch

You can email Bernie right here. Or you could break out the stamps and write a letter. Here is Bernie’s mailing address.


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