September19th, 2012 Fernie, British Columbia

My goodness I do have some catching up to do. Thank you to those of you that posted something in the Guest Book to let others know that I was still alive and well out there even though I had been so delinquent with updating the website.
We are currently at the home of Francesca and Dr. Martin Hart(DVM) who have been kind enough to let the horses rest in a nice barn free of fly’s and the suns strong heat off their backs, contently eating all the hay they want. I have had a hot hot shower and cleaned off a months worth of dirt from my skin. I have filled my belly with a delicious curry soup that Francesca made. Claire has been welcomed in the house by Ranger and Ollie the two family dogs. I must thank Jon Levesque for helping with all of this. I met Jon and Erin and their family while coming down the Flathead road east of here, nearly 3 weeks ago. They were out camping and saw me ride into the open area next to their campsite on the Flathead River. Jon came walking over with a big smile on his face and said “you can’t expect us not to come over and find out what you are all about when you come riding in packed like you are, with a dog riding a horse! He exclaimed… I was tired.  I sat down on my packs that I’d quickly takin off the horses hot backs. They had their heads in tall grass and were lost in contentment as I visited with the Levesque family and friends.  I was traveling slow, Hart was tired I could tell we needed to stop but I had so little food. Conservation Officer, Joe Caravetta had stopped earlier and  left me what he had remaining in his cooler, but I still had very little food left not enough to stop for 4/5 days we  had to keep going. This is the problem with riding the back roads there just isn’t any place to purchase supplies and so I find myself brazenly asking” do you have any food” oh my, talk about “swallow the pride”… Well the Levesque’s unloaded that camper trailer of theirs, they were headed back home after a long weekend of camping and out came the food and I tell you it was like a weight off my shoulders because I was now able to stop and take a good long rest.  But then Jon says ” when you get into Fernie call and we will have a place for you to stay and my friend is a Veterinarian, thus how I came to stay here…synchronicity.
So let me recap the last few weeks since I have not posted anything for sometime. Lets see…… Well the ride thru the Kananaskis was nothing short of spectacular. Ragged, grey, monumental rock formations towering over us as we followed Hwy 40, to Highwood. Pat and Peggy Hickey, local ranchers out checking cattle, stopped to visit, brought sandwiches back and we sat at a picnic table and ate lunch together — let the horses take a break.
At gravel road 940, the forestry trunk road I turned south and  came upon Bryan Campbell and backhoe operator “Chester” working on a closed road and they not only gave me their lunches, ( Claire had a sandwich also) but they sent me on my way down a back road that was car- less and as pretty and quiet as could be, embellished with mountain views I would never have had the chance to see on the main road that I was riding. I came out at Old Man River and guess who shows up but Bryan Campbell with two cowboys Mike and Henry and a gentleman named Max Kolesnick from Ontario that knew all about the Long Riders Guild, all of these men would come to my aid later in the trip but at that point they were bearing gifts of food, horse oats ,a hot meal from the kitchen of the Forest Service Fire Station up the road several miles, a huge hot turkey dinner oh my gosh!!! Well I stayed there on Old Man River for a few days, re-shod Hart, did some repairs on the tent and horse tack. Rested..ATE. we all  ATE. People ask what do you think about all day…food. One gets tired walking and riding 20 miles a day, the packing, unpacking the sleepless nights and long days, makes a person hungry.
I was to meet up with the NBC’s Today Show in a week or so and needed a place to rendezvous with those folks. Which I did on august 28th. Bob Dotson the host of the show was very gracious  as were the film and sound crew and Bob’s assistant Amanda, all were professionals, top of the line, went off very well and the airing of this mini documentary will be next week.
Henry, the cowboy I mentioned earlier guided me across Racehorse Creek, to much for old Hart. And then Mike the other cowboy, his girlfriend and Darryl Campbell(Bryon’s brother) met me out near Hwy #3 to haul me thru Crowsnest Pass I hesitated to have them haul me I thought ” oh boys I’ll be fine” I tell you there was no way I could have safely ridden on that hwy no way and they dropped me off on Corbin road, I blew them two big thank you kisses as they drove off…THANK YOU  all of you that helped me thru that area and with the filming by NBC. So many people came to my aid but it really just turned out to be a lot of fun- plenty of smiles and handshaking. Thank you to Ken, who manages the Alberta Forestry Fire crew station N.W. of Pincher Creek- for putting up with all of the ruckus, he has his hands full with helicopters and firefighting crews the last thing he needed was a film crew running around. But I do think we all had a good time.
SO there we were after being dropped off north of Corbin, we headed south- the final stretch” we are headed home” I said to the horses and to Claire we are headed home. Not only did Joe Caravetta and the Levesque’s give me food but again I had food a big bag of food delivered by the grader operator Harry Wilehok when we were camped at the Butz Cabin.(where a bear came in and raised holy hell with the horses) Harry stopped to talk on the Flathead road, end of a work day driving home, knew I needed food and early the next morning in the dark and rain comes the road grader and he’s got food, and  I was again so grateful because it rained much of that week and I had to stay put and thanks to Harry,  Joe and  Jon I had food. I was able to take my time and not have to rush those tired horses any more. We have come in looking pretty damn good if I must say so myself. I stopped at Ram Creek Outfitters  as owner Steve Leuenberger had invited me in. What a pretty place that was, snuggled in the mountains, log cabins, very remote yet so comfortable. They were busy with American guest and now here was yet another one.. Elk  Steak!!! oh my
And so here we are making ready for the final Veterinary work that needs to be done to cross back into the United States. I think this has been the  best ride in all of my  8 years of riding, certainly the easiest ride. I have come to know much more about Canada, its government and city locations,the rural communities, it is a huge country a beautiful country not so rush rush like we are in the states. Friendly, generous, interested people.  I know that I speak for millions and millions of other Americans when I say “I am grateful that you Canadians are our northern Neighbors”.
We still have another 2 weeks before we shall see Eureka Montana, where I will do the final posting for this years Canadian ride. Happy Trails all of you….What a ride it has been… Sincerely your lady long rider Bernice Ende
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