Greetings to those who follow the ride!
Below is the most up-to-date information on my current ride. I try to post as often as possible but when traveling I’m limited with access to computers and the internet.
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Happy Trails - Your Lady Long Rider, Bernice Ende
LOOK, Bob Dotson came out for the Today Show in September 2012. You can see the episode by clicking HERE or on the image below:
click on photo below
A Tour of Fort Edward with Bernice Ende
This is but a rough draft of my route, but it gives you some idea of where I plan to travel over the next two years. I’m looking forward to the east coast ride. A part of our country I have longed to ride for a couple of years. I’m sure it will not disappoint me with its beauty. After traveling through out Canada in 2012 it left me wanting more. Claire Dog is not traveling with me this year. “You must stay home, it’s to hard for you,” I said. She none the less wanted her photo on the hand-out cards.
Because the return ride home from New York became so very difficult I did not get this story posted sooner. I met Pat Wolfe in Ontario about a month into the 2015 ride home. Little did I know just whom I was talking with when he called asking for an interview. Following the article check out his website see what a difference his Fjords are from Essie who is not so refined. Essie is, as Pat pointed out to me from an older Canadian Fjord foundation line of breeding. Also look at Pats remarkable list of accomplishments. It was an honor to have met him and I can never repay him for all the help he offered when I came close to Sudbury, Ontario.
LADY LONG RIDER BERNICE ENDE
By Pat Wolfe
This spring I heard of a Lady Long Rider traveling from the east coast to the west coast riding Fjord Horses. I looked up Bernice Ende’s web site and found out she was leaving Fort Edward, New York at the end of March and crossing into Canada. I thought this would make a good article for our newsletter. Unfortunately for me, her online map showed her going through Quebec which was a little too far away from me to do an interview.
However, at the end of April I received a call from a friend who mentioned a lady riding Fjords and traveling across Canada had camped at her neighbor’s a week ago. My friend only lives 10 miles from me! I couldn’t believe I had missed meeting Bernice on my own doorstep. I found her website again and emailed her. By the time I got a reply back, she was 150 miles from me, heading for Sudbury. Unfortunately I was working at the time and couldn’t get away for another week. I did contact her again though and she asked if I knew of anyone that could truck her horses around the City of Sudbury because of some major road construction there.
Sudbury is 500 kilometers north of me but I’d just got a new truck in the winter and wasn’t sure how it would handle my horse trailer. Here was an opportunity to find out. I made arrangements to meet Bernice on Hwy 255 near the corner of Hwy 69, 50 miles south of Sudbury, in the late afternoon of May 13th.
After five hours driving I started seeing horse tracks on the side of the road. One hour later I spotted a lady wearing a wide brimmed hat with two Fjord horses traveling down the road. Wow! What a neat site. As I drove by her to find a place to pull over, I received a huge, welcoming smile.
Pat and Bernice finally meet near Sudbury.
I stopped along the side of the road,
loaded her horses and gear and we were off to Sudbury. There was no way she could have traveled along Highway 69. They were widening the two lanes to four. There were rocks being blasted and heavy machinery moving earth. We drove through Sudbury and picked up my brother-in-law and he found a great place just outside of town where Bernice was able to set up camp. Going north was also a good excuse to visit family.
Being a Fjord horse enthusiast, when I first stopped to give Bernice a ride I checked out the quality and fitness of her horses. At first glance I knew I was looking at one Canadian bred Fjord. If you look at the pedigree of Essie Pearl, one of Bernice’s two mares, it takes you back to the Buck line. The other mare, Montana Spirit, is a 3/4 bred Fjord with Percheron the other ¼.
Both horses are totally fit and their feet are in excellent condition. These horses travel on a lot of pavement so Bernice has them shod with corks on all four feet. She uses barium studs on the shoes. The only maintenance is to change shoes every six weeks or when the shoes wear out. Keeping the horses from getting saddle sores is a challenge. Sheep skin saddle pads help.
When she is not on the trail she will hobble or tether the horses. When hobbling she uses three hobbles, two front feet and one back foot. When she sleeps, she tethers the horses with a 25 foot rope tied to a stake or a tree and to the left front foot. When I asked Bernice how far her horses have traveled with her, I couldn’t believe it. 13 year old Essie Pearl has traveled 18,000 miles and 7 year old Montana Spirit has traveled 8,000 miles. Bernice has been Long Riding for eleven years and has traveled 25,000 miles on horseback. Bernice told me she likes to travel 30 miles a day. She begins her day in the dark at 5 am and is in the saddle by 6:00. She walks the horses for ten miles, and stops for an hour and a half. She takes off all their gear, brushes them down, and lets them dry if they are sweaty. At this time they get a chance to nibble grass and tank up with water. During this break, she makes herself a cup of tea, writes in her journal, and enjoys
the countryside. Then she saddles up again and goes for another ten miles. This second ten miles is often done at a slow trot. She takes another break and completely brushes and cools down her horses, sometimes takes a nap, and then leads them at a walk for an hour and a half or so. She has this walk herself every day. In the early evening she rides again to make up the 30 miles total for the day. She’s pretty self-sufficient, even to doing her own shoeing.
Although she has taken other horses in the past, she says after experiencing Fjords, she would take nothing else. “They’re exceptional,” she says. “They have a train brain- steady and forward.” She’s always getting questioned about the Fjords and feels Essie Pearl and Montana Spirit have opened a lot of eyes and hearts to the Fjord breed.
Bernice takes as little with her as she can manage, a total of 80 pounds: her small two man tent with a thermal blanket on the top (she heats the tent with three candles and uses cut off pop bottles for vents); a small propane burner; one pot; farrier supplies and prefitted horse shoes; a pooper scooper; small folding water pails; and her food. She carries rice, beans and tea, and forages for the rest: nettles, lambsquarters, wild leeks and asparagus, and dandelion greens. She will be invited occasionally by people she meets for meals, but always sleeps in her tent near her Fjords. She alternates horses, riding and carrying.
To Bernice, her horses are her traveling partners. Every minute of the day she is thinking of their welfare.
Bernice sold her dance school when she decided to do long riding and she finds traveling more physically demanding than even ballet. She is totally engaged when in the saddle, always attentive. For this reason, she doesn’t encourage anyone to ride along with her. There is no relaxing as she travels highways.
All gear is out and ready to pack.
Trip number one was in 2005, from Trego, Montana to Edgewood, New Mexico, 2000 miles, at that time with one horse and her dog, Claire, now retired. After that trip, the Long Riding bug had bitten and there was no turning back. In 2006 and 7, she did a 5000 mile, 18 month ride, with her horse and Claire (l6 months, 14 sets of horseshoes, 12 pairs of dog booties.) Then in 2008, Bernice bought her first Fjord, Essie Pearl, and did a 3000 mile trip. Bernice says that even when she’s home, she finds it very difficult to be indoors and so she still sleeps outside in her tent, to keep herself in the right frame of mind. Then she gets bored and needs to be on the road again. 25,000 miles later she’s now on a trip from Montana to Maine (she camped in Maine last winter) and on through Canada from east to west, then home again to Montana in 2016. I asked her whether she’s nervous being alone on the road. She says she carries a gun when she’s in the states, a Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum, although she does feel safe. In all her years on the road she’s met wonderful people, and has had a few scares, but they weren’t from people.
On her second trip she came as close as possible to being killed. She was in the NW corner of New Mexico and it was freezing. “I had no tent with me, just a sleeping bag and a tarp. I broke one of my own rules, which is never to sleep near water. Too many animals coming down to drink.”
She had pulled off the road through a gate into a large fenced area and had ridden about a quarter mile off the road. “I didn’t realize there was a big drum of shelled corn put out as wild pig bait near the water. I set up a 25 foot picket line for my horse and got into my sleeping bag. At midnight the wind picked up, the moon was down and the weather suddenly got wild. About a half hour later I smelled a herd of wild pigs, then 15 minutes later a herd of wild burros. Then I heard a scream. It was an old black stallion with five colored mares. Suddenly he was over me on his hind legs with his yellow teeth bared. My dog Claire was covered in cactus and crying. The stallion was trying to kill me to steal my mare.” Bernice said she was fighting for her life and terrified. She kept hitting the stallion with a rope at the same time trying to get her things packed and on the horse. He bit her mare, and came at her low, almost creeping, over and over again in a circle. “I was throwing things together and hitting him with the rope every time he got in close enough to attack me. I was leading the horse and I couldn’t find my way to the road. I was lost but Claire found the path, and all the while I was trying to lead the mare, the stallion was mounting her and tearing off the pack. Eventually, I found the gate and got through. Then I sat on the ground in the white frost and cried. When I finally got going again, he followed along on the other side of the fence until daylight.” There have been other close calls including a few grizzly bears she’s been able to scare away by noise made from flapping her tarp in the air, but nothing quite as frightening as that night.
Bernice is a member of the Long Riders’ Guild, an international association of equestrian explorers from 45 countries. It represents men and women who have ridden more than 1000 continuous miles on a single journey. She has more than fulfilled the requirements. There aren’t many men or women out there who are as dedicated to their animals and to life on the road as Bernice is.
OFFICIAL ELEVATOR FOR FJORD BREED IN USA AND Canada
OFFICIAL JUDGE FOR THE GYPSY VANNER BREED IN USA AND CANADA
CURRENT MEMBER OF THE MOUNTED SEARCH AND RESCUE TEAM, WORKING WITH THE ONTARIO PROVINCIAL POLICE
JUDGED GYPSY VANNER HORSE SHOW, SEPTEMBER 2013
PRODUCED EVALUATION CD FOR THE CFHA, 2013
HALTER CHAMPIONSHIPS MULTIPLE TIMES- NORTH EAST FJORD HORSE SHOW, FINGER LAKES FJORD HORSE SHOW, MANY LOCAL SHOWS
DRIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS MULTIPLE TIMES- NORTH EAST FJORD HORSE SHOW, FINGER LAKES FJORD HORSE SHOW, ST. LAZAIRE, QUEBEC, MANY LOCAL SHOWS
PONY PAIR CHAMPIONSHIP, WALNUT HILL, N.Y. 2012
PRESENTED DRIVING CLINIC, NOVA SCOTIA, MAY 2012
JUDGED GYPSY VANNER HORSE SHOW, MAY 2012
INSTRUCTOR, MULTIPLE SKIJORING CLINICS, WINTERS, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
INSTRUCTOR, WEEK LONG BUTTERNUT FARM DRIVING AND DRAFT CLINICS, ALL BREEDS, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
TRAINED 50 PLUS HORSES, ALL BREEDS, FOR DRIVING AND DRAFT FROM 1970 TO 2014
PRESENTED PRE-EVALUATION AND DRIVING CLINIC, NOVA SCOTIA, 2011
EVALUATOR AT HERNDON, VIRGINIA, JULY 14, 15, 2011
JUDGE, LIGHT DRAFT ALL BREED, FJORDS, DALES, HIGHLANDS AND BLACK FORST, HERNDON, VIRGINIA, JULY 16, 2011
JUDGE, DWYER HILL RIDING CLUB DRIVING SHOW, ALL BREEDS, RICHMOND, ONTARIO, AUGUST 2010
ATTENDED NORWEGIAN STALLION SHOW IN NORFJORDIED, NORWAY 2010, 2001, 1996. 1986
EVALUATED AT FJORD INTERNATIONAL EVALUATION, CALGARY, AUGUST 2010, IN WISCONSIN, 2009, IN VIRGINIA AND COLORADO, 2008, IN WISCONSIN, 2005
JUDGE, FINGERLAKES, NEW YORK FJORD HORSE SHOW, JULY 2010
REPRESENTED CANADA IN NORWAY AT ANNUAL STALLION EVALUATION, MAY 2010
PRESENTED, “FJORD HORSE AS DRAFT HORSE”, NORWEGIAN FJORD HORSE ASSOCIATION, HERNDON, VIRGINIA, JANUARY 2010
ORGANIZER OF FIRST EVER FJORD INTERNATIONAL EVALUATION IN CANADA, ALMONTE, OCTOBER, 2009
PRESENTED PRE-EVALUATION CLINICS IN ALMONTE 2009, SASKATCHEWAN 2008, NOVA SCOTIA 2008
INSTRUCTOR, SKIJORING CLINIC TO ICELANDIC PONY CLUB, MARCH 2009
JUDGE, NORTH EAST FJORD HORSE SHOW, VERMONT, AUGUST 2009
JUDGE, DRAFT PONY SHOW, DALES, FJORDS AND HAFLINGERS, HERNDON, VIRGINIA, AUGUST 2008
IMPORTED AND TRAINED FOUR AWARD WINNING FJORD STALLIONS: HOSTAR, MARNIX, FELIX, AND PRYDARSON, 1987 TO 2007
GUEST JUDGED IN DENMARK, 2006
IMPORTED AND TRAINED PRYDARSON, TOP EVER EVALUATED FJORD STALLION IN NORTH AMERICA
TRAINED PRISCO AS A THREE YEAR OLD STALLION, FOR RIDING AND DRIVING
HIGH POINT AWARD WINNER AT THE 25th ANNIVERSARY FJORD HORSE SHOW IN MINNESOTA USA, 2006
MEMBER OF ORGANIZING COMMITTEE OF 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE USA NORWEGIAN FJORD HORSE REGISTRY, 2005
MEMBER OF THE NORWEGIAN FJORD HORSE REGISTRY EVALUATION COMMITTEE 2000
DIRECTOR, NORTH-EAST USA FJORD HORSE ASSOCIATION 1997
CANADIAN CHAMPION PONY PAIRS DRIVING, 1997
CANADIAN CHAMPION HORSE AND PONY PAIRS DRIVING, 1997
training a young horse
BEST GENTLEMAN DRIVER, CANADIAN CHAMPIONSHIP, 1996
INSTRUCTOR, LEEDS COUNTY DRAFT AND DRIVING WORKSHOP, ALL BREEDS, 1985, 1986
TRAINED 4 MORGAN STALLIONS: ADANAC MIKE, DIAMOND, NICK AND BRUCE, 1980 TO 1995
Pleasure meeting you Pat. Hope to see you in Sandpoint, Idaho-USA at the International Fjord Horse Show 2016. Many good memories!
Scene’s of Montana
a flock of 40 wild turkey’s appeared here at Theodora’s Garden
Dave Brown, neighbor extraordinaire with guard dog extraordinaire Maggie plowing the drive way for us
more snow than we know what to do with
Gary Montgomery and Theodora Brennan, while out on ski’s, rescued a Hawk .Byron came out from Montana Wild Wings www.wildwingsrecovery.org – provided rehap time and a few weeks later SHE was released here at Theodora’s Garden
Little Sheep, curious and playful, part of the herd here at Theodora’s Garden
Last but not least are the girls getting a good rest lots of vitamins and minerals they love the winter
YES, I am alive. I am doing much, much better, feeling more and more like I shall live. I simply need rest, good food and friends right now. But signs of restlessness are beginning to surface. I am riding the horses everyday, not a lot but short runs in the snow. I am also teaching a ballet class at the Creative Arts Center in Eureka, about 5 miles away. The teacher Marlane Cook was a student of mine and is now teaching. However she is out with a knee injury , she asked if I would like to teach. It has been years since I stepped into a dance studio but once in I felt I had never left, it all came back so easily. I must say it filled me with joy to work with the enthusiastic group of teenagers waiting at the ballet barre. I hear New York ( which I think of everyday) is having a mild winter while we are having a real “Montana winter” this year. February is just around the corner. This windless, almost breathless, sunless winter will not last forever, patience, I must be patient.
Greetings, yes I am alive…..
I call the Tobacco Valley home. The Kootenai National forest on one side, Glacier Park on the other. Majestic ,imposing mountains with spectacular vista’s. My cabin is snuggled on Edna Mountain’s east side, covered in snow. The horses are Happy, Happy Girls in this weather, they are after all Norwegian Fjords. It’s good to be home. Friends and smiles and hugs abound. But I tell you New York and last years winter months are buried deeply in my heart and memory. I simply had a wonderful time living on the edge of Fort Edward, New York. It was my best ride ever.
However, I came in very sick and am only now getting back on my feet thus the delay in posting the website. I’ve been receiving emails,”where are you, what has happened to you?” I so appreciate the interest and the concern, truly I do. I must rest, get my health back or I may never go back out.
Riding east with the westerly wind at my back is far easier than riding into the belligerent westerly winds .It took seven months to reach Chewelah, Washington before calling it “enough already.” I have heard stories of women going mad, literally mad from the persistent, unforgiving winds that rage across the open plains of eastern Montana and southern Alberta, I can relate. Its not the first time I have ridden west into those winds but there was a constant gnawing at the back of my mind, “are you going to make it? – wearing me down. The really long rides do this to me. And so I arrived home, quite sick.
The horses however arrived in great shape. We were traveling light and fast and they came in fit as a fiddle.
Here it is the end of yet another year, holidays upon us. So far winter in Northwest Montana has been mild, for which I am grateful. (Lest we forget New York’s winter last year) I am 7000 miles into this 8000 mile ride. Weather and health permitting I will resume the ride in the spring of 2016. A short 1000 mile jaunt to the west coast and back will complete this ambitious ride I have set out before me.
I’d like to remind you that “THE STORE” offers some very nice Lady Long Rider Christmas gifts. If you’d rather not use the Paypal, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send your order out, you can mail a check back. The purchases will help immensely in getting me back on the road come spring.
Until later, with deep appreciation and gratitude to all of you following my rides, filling me with the encouragement to continue. I thank you, I simply can not thank you enough- Happy Holidays
Your lady Long Rider Bernice Ende
Had to post this section before heading out. From Sandpoint to Zillah, Washington we traveled with the Gullo’s Debbie and Dave to the…
“Wine and Ride” thur the beautiful vineyards of Washington
I met Dave and Debbie in 2009 on a 6000 mile ride. Debbie has stayed in touch over the years and we met up again with all the other horse gals of Sandpoint last month. Dave owns Buffalo Arms Co. in Sandpoint. He is a world class and several times over world champion long range powder cartridge and mussel loader rifle competitor. We had such a good time at the Back Country Horseman event. I have spoken at several BCH meetings over the years and my sister Maryann is president of the Pecos chapter in New Mexico. The organization does a great deal to keep the public lands open to equestrian use. The event drew in 100′s of riders!!
Dave and Debbie Gullo
Sally Lockwood rode Essie they got along very well on our leisurely ride
Rains have set in, snow at higher elevations. Dense clouds hang close to the mountains. Its cold. My girls, Essie and Spirit like this weather. Once we are step out in the morning they are as lively and eager to be off as I am. But my adventurous traveling year is coming to a close. From New York to Spokane roughly 3500 miles. One of my best years ever.
I did not do this last year. Take a few weeks at the end of the year to rest, ride leisurely, reflect, camp, spend 3/4 days in one place. There was really no place TO DO IT. Time played a huge factor, nervous about making the ride pushing myself and the horses to make as many miles as possible last year.
With Elk in rut calling out thru the long pitch black nights I did take the time this past 2 weeks to take refuge from the travel. With campfires and wild foods cooking it was a time for reflection about what I have just accomplished. Time to fill every breath I take with appreciation, be grateful my two horses are healthy and still with me. Stop the pushing for awhile, BEFORE I finish the ride so I can coast in, re-enter smoothly. Because “coming in” as I refrer to it. Stopping! is always, always the hardest. Its not as difficult now that I spend all year in a tent near the horses, but the daily routine of traveling ends and I am beside myself. I don’t know who I am. I must find myself again.
At this time last year we- Essie, Spirit and I were heading back from the coast of Maine to Darlene Lundgrens home in Fort Edward, New York where I set up winter camp in the historical feed store building that sits behind her house. To be perfectly honest it seems impossible that I really and truly rode to the Atlantic Ocean last year.
I will let the photos do the talking as words never seem to show the beauty or the enchantment of crossing the mountains in late fall, this is a photo posting. More when I reach home in a couple of weeks.
THIS WAS ON THE READER BOARD AT THE BODYSHOP GYM IN CHEWELAH
I came in on the Flowery Trail Road Tuesday morning the 13th. I’d eaten ALL my food the day before. I’d had no coffee for days and yes I had food on my mind. The Flowery Trail Road is a long, steep, winding mountain road with log trucks racing down Chewelah Pass with full loads and Jake Brakes popping off a machine gun like rattle. (the drivers were very respectful of me and the horses.) I get over and off the road for them, turn in the saddle and tip my hat, give them a nod, let them know I’m ok, they don’t have to worry or slow down. They are after all out there trying to make a living. The last thing they need is a couple of horses and rider making it even MORE dangerous for them by not paying attention.
Any way back to the issue of food. Well it has happened again….
I rode into a BLUE Ribbon Community!!! So I rode in about 9am from the east on the Flowery Trail Rd. it drops right onto Main Street. I could smell Paul’s Coffee before I actually saw the place. The view of main street made me whisper “nice, this is going to be nice.” The smell pulled my head right, “there’s a coffee shop” I said, “a real coffee shop.” Big windows, place was busy. They all watched me, but here in this part of the country it’s not uncommon to see a pack horse and rider. I tied the horses around back and went in. “I’m liking this place more and more,” I said as I walked past a massage therapy business attached to Paul’s Coffee Shop. “I need a good cup of coffee.” A friendly man with a long pony tail gladly made me a latte’, a pretty latté! “where ya from?” Yes well I think,” this is getting complicated, trying to explain where I am on this ride, where I have come from, where I have gone and now I am going back home.” Trying to roll this into a quick concise answer is not so easy at this stage. So I say, “I am coming from New York.” and that usually gets their attention.
“The name Chewelah comes from the Indian word “S che wee leh”, meaning water or garter snake. There was a spring in what is now the southwest end of Chewelah. The motion of the water gave the illusion of snakes moving about in the water.” Prior to colonization by European-Americans, Chewelah was home to a band the Kalispel people. The Chewelah Band of Indians is currently part of the Spokane Tribe. “What must it have looked like for those people?” I thought as I came down off Quartsite Mountain into town. Such a rich and beautiful valley it is. A gathering place of 14 tribes who fished salmon. These mountain ranges, the Selkirk, Okanogan and Kettle River are considered the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. In 1811 white explorers led by David Thompson, embarked on a trip downriver from Kettle Falls to what would become the site of Fort Colville Trading Post. Mining was the reason Chewelah prospered as a town in the early 1880′s and in 1883 silver and lead were discovered. Those log trucks I mentioned earlier were heading for the mill north of Chewelah. The WELCOME TO CHEWELAH sign I passed as I rode into town had a skier on one side and a golfer on the other. Its a vacation town. Some surrounding farms and ranches. Spokane is only 45 min south of here. Lots of recreational tourist.
So how did this pretty town get a “blue ribbon rating?” I have this list in my head. First it must be attractive, it must be obvious there is town pride. Second, business and public buildings should be centrally located ie. the library, post office, city offices, sheriff and……laundry with in walking distance of one another, oh and stores, hardware and grocery. The town must have green spaces, parks, water, trees, flowers. I like to see people out on the street and I did. It must have a thrift store as I do much of my resupply from thrift stores, it did. Of course to be greeted into town with handshakes and smiles extended by interested town people, well that sure ups the rating. The newspaper or radio must show interest, it did. And then there must be a café, a place where people gather or…..a coffee shop. Paul’s Coffee Shop. Sometimes I must admit I feel like I am from another planet. I surely must look like it at times. I can not tell you how often I have ridden into town, tied the horses up out side to a propane tank or garbage dumpster or telephone pole or ?. I have stepped inside a café or coffee house, pulling my leather gloves off finger by finger as I do, tilt my big hat back and take a deep breath of humanity as people turn heads and stare at the weathered face and odd looking woman that has just entered their world. I had been in the mountains camping for 5 days on the ride over from Newport and had talked briefly with only two woodcutters during that time. The whole scene at Paul’s was like soup, a thick medley of spices. People talking in groups at tables others waiting in line for an espresso or some fancy concoction we like these days. This is a luxury item I will tell you honestly. But what caught my attention was the fact that there were so many women, my age or older, and they looked REALLY good. They had been exercising at the BodyShop Gym next door. They looked fit. I got my coffee and sat down across from two interesting looking women talking to each other. One was telling a moose story. She thought it was a statue, she just could not believe it and so walked closer and closer and just as she reached out to touch the “statue” the moose came to life and sent her startling and stumbling backwards quite shaken.” Must be Alaska,” I thought. Sure enough. With in a half hour I had met a couple of dozen women some my age some older and what a bunch they were. Lively. Some had recently moved here with husbands or had returned to care for elderly parents or had come and fallen in love with the place, “never left.”
Shelly Walden introduced herself. She works next door as a healing arts practitioner. Within a few minutes she was on the phone and had a place for us to camp. The ball has been rolling ever since. I could not have ended the year in a better town. I have now, after two days, made necessary preparations for my return in March at which time I’ll haul back to Chewelah and resume this journey. Later that day Shelly gave my tired aching body a much appreciated hot stone massage. She knew Stan who helped me get new horseshoes on because my horseshoeing equipment did not show up at the post office, just a befuddlement. I have had such a wonderful 3 days here in Chewelah. I am rested. I feel recharged. I feel satisfied to have ridden thus far. I am very glad I chose to ride across the mountains this fall instead of going home as I so wanted earlier. I’ve picked up supplies for the return ride to Sandpoint. I am hauling with Debra Gullo and her husband Dave to the Back Country Horseman’s annual “Ride and Wine” in Ellensburg, Washington on the 29th of this month. I have NEVER done anything like this before, NEVER. Debra said last year over 600 horse and riders attended the event! We return November 1st and the horses and I will be hauled by Judith Hemphill to Libby. I have a talk at the Cabinet Mountain Brewery on November 4th at 6pm.From there I’ll ride north to my cabin in Trego, a 2/3 day ride and call it a year.
Tamarack (larch) trees are transforming the forest floor into a soft golden carpet of dry needles. They are the only evergreen to do this and the sight of a Tamarack forest in full fall glory can match even your finest New England fall colors. Nights are much cooler, most mornings I discover a thin layer of ice covering the horses collapsible water buckets. The horses are fuzzy again, they sport fat full bellies and dance around at things they normally would ignore. Essie Pearl and Montana Spirit, the true, proven champions of this story. I am so proud of those two.
Often this “reentry phase” as I refer to it can be very difficult for me. I come in and I don’t know who I am, I don’t know what to do with my self. I must reestablish a new routine, not let myself fall into a slump and stay motivated. But this year it feels different. Perhaps I’ve been long riding, long enough so the transitions in and out of travel mode are easier, smoother. I love what I do. I so appreciate that I CAN do this. I am filled with gratitude for those who have helped carry us along the tens of thousands of trail miles. And with that I ride out in the morning. Happy trails. Bernice
STAN STRITSKE, FARRIER OF OVER 45 YEARS GIVING ME MUCH APPRECIATED HORSESHOEING TIPS
TAKING AN AFTERNOON BREAK ESSIE PEARL MY BEAUTIFUL GIRL
MY WILD GIRL MONTANA SPIRIT
STAN ON LEFT
GARY BELLINGER ON RIGHT
THIS WAS PRINTED ON THE BOOK RETURN BOX OUTSIDE THE CHEWELAH LIBRARY
There are times when I ride into a town and NO ONE comes out, it does not happen often but I tell you there is nothing, nothing like riding into a town and you are greeted by someone that takes on the “welcoming party” title and makes me feel, well, not so all alone. It was a hot afternoon when I rode into Newport. I stood looking at the pretty view of town, just standing with the horses trying to decide which way to go and there came Wayne Antcliff. He had a phone in his year as he walked from his cable business with a big smile on his face. That was all I really needed to see, the welcoming smile, it’ll all be ok, smile. A horseman, businessman, active community member, BackCountry Horseman member, Wayne took it upon himself to not only see me safely to the fairgrounds, he brought me hay and water for the horses and contacted the city hall to ok it all. All so appreciated, THANK YOU Wayne, THANK YOU.
Here’s Wayne with hay
We won’t be traveling to much more this year, couple more weeks. I must be at home this winter. Friends, the cabin, business are all calling me home. I will haul back out in the spring to complete this 8000 mile ride. I have never done this before. I know many do it this way, I never have. I’ve always just plopped myself down and made camp where ever I ended the year. I have about 1000 more miles. The west coast will be challenging and will take more time than riding to the Atlantic at Wells, Maine. Will have to land somewhere on the Olympic Peninsula. But that route I will work out this winter. We are now on the west side of the Rocky Mountains, bears are active, hunters are out, forest service roads busy. Nights in the mountains are dark, very, very dark. You can not see your hand in front of your face. We can now build campfires as long as its in a fire ring. The sun comes up late the sun retreats early, water bottles freeze at night, horses have a good start on winter coats. Another season. Another year.
Riding slow, enjoying the perfect weather, mountain riding. End of the season, end of the year. Essie and Spirit get easy relaxing days, we take long breaks. I am the guest of Debbie and Dave Gullo. I met Debbie and a host of horse women from this area in 2009. I was riding thru Sandpoint on a 6000 mile ride with Honor, Claire and Essie Pearl. I stayed at the Sandpoint Fairgrounds , they came out with supper and encouragement. Debbie has stayed in touch over the years and here we are once again. Debbie has the hat.
Tammy and Wayne Bosworth from Eureka!! stopped just outside of Libby
Will only ride another 3 weeks. Nice to be this far.
Happy Trails and a 1000 Thank Yous to all of you who have helped me get this far. Bernice