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 some bonkers-big thing and then feeling the pressure to complete it. I plan to be out fro

The plan is to saddle up in Abingdon, Virginia and follow the Virginia Creeper Trail to Damascus, Virginia. From there, I’d ride to White Top (at the other end of the Virginia Creeper Trail) and get on the Virginia Highland Horse Trail. I’d follow the Virginia Highland Horse Trail to Grayson Highlands, Mount Rogers and on to the New River.

Grayson Highlands. This photo is from the time my wife Julia and I rode mules from our home in western North Carolina to Grayson Highlands (Virginia) and back. More about that ramble here:

I won’t be traveling with a chase vehicle or support team. Unlike other mule rambles, were I sleep in a tent, I’ll be bringing along my hammock and bivy bag. I’m doing this because I know from experience how wet this area can be so it’ll be good to sleep off the ground.

The hammock deployed in the back yard for inspection. This is the same hammock I relied on for shelter during my half-year pedal around Tasmania on my ten-dollar bike.
My hammock stowed in its much-repaired stuff sack.

Once I get to the New River, I may follow it downriver to Galax or upriver Draper. Or I might follow the Iron Mountain Trail back to Damascus. Or I might do both. Or neither.

No Firm Destination

In the spirit of mule rambling (or at least the way I do it), I have no firm itinerary, destination or time frame. Sure, I just said where I was going to start and where I’m heading, but that could change at the swish of a mule’s tail. I could quit after a day or a week for whatever reason. That’s the beauty of a ramble. It’s a ramble, not a promise.

Thanks, Nancy

I want to give a big thanks to Nancy Sluys for giving me tips on riding the Virginia Highlands Horse Trail and to all the volunteers who work to keep it going.

Ramble Preps

My wife Julia has been helping me get my mules Brick and Cracker ready for my upcoming trip. One day, I’ll ride Brick and lead Cracker loaded up with 80 pounds of pack gear. The next day, I’ll ride Cracker and pack Brick.

Some days, we ride both Brick and Cracker, like the day we rode over to our neighbor’s place to take in the view of the western North Carolina Highlands.

I plan to use hoof boots on my ramble, just like I’ve done on all my other trips. The boots pictured are the same ones I used on my 2,300-mile saddle trip from North Carolina to Idaho. Lots more about hoof boots for long distance riding at an article I wrote right here:

Even Mule Polly is Getting in Shape

My mule Polly joins us for some of these training sessions. Here’s a quick video of Polly leading a recent training ride. Julia is riding her Haflinger Pie, leading her pony Magneto and I’m riding Brick and leading Cracker.

I look forward to sending you updates from the road!

What Do You Want to Hear More About?

If there’s anything you’re interested in learning more about during my ramble, let comment in the Comments section (below). I’m going to be in lots of remote areas so don’t be offended if I can’t reply to each and every comment.

Get A Free Copy of my New Photo Book 19 Million Mule Steps

I’d love to give you a heads up when my new book Two Mules to Triumph, comes out. Two Mules to Triumph is about riding my mules Brick and Cracker 2,300 miles from North Carolina to Idaho. Just sign up for my newsletter (details below) and I’ll even give you a link where you can download a free copy of my award-winning e-book 19 Million Mule Steps.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Current Ramble
Other Cool Reads