October 24th,2012 Fortine, Montana—-end of the trail, 2000 mile Canadian Ride

Our 2000 mile Canadian ride reached the end of the trail on Monday, October 22nd  when I rode down Theodora Rice’s drive way wearing  rain gear and riding in snow and sleet.  We made it! Always, always it seems unreal to finish these rides. It is as if it never happened, as if that ribbon of highway stretching out behind you never existed and the whole thing was an elusive dream. But the dirty torn pages of my journal and the words scratched out inside tell me different. The worn heels on my Ariat boots, the unavoidable stain marks and rips embellishing  my Trail Max pack gear, the Black Mountain Tucker saddle now softer, more comfortable than ever.  No, it was no dream. My Sunbody hat has another hole in it because Hart thought it fit enough to eat. (Or maybe he doesn’t like it) Except for the occasional indoor respites Claire and I slept on Skito saddle pads for 7 months, making the most of  some pretty testy weather. My route? I don’t think I followed one step of what I had originally set out to ride. Once into Saskatchewan, Canada I was off and going  every which way,simply going  to places that people suggested I should see.”Oh don’t go that way”  someone would say, maybe a group of men having coffee at the local cafe  all standing around looking at my well used map. “that’s no way to go, she ought to go across the National Grasslands, she’s this close”, “sure is pretty, won’t regret it”.  OK, off we’d go. Best ride I have ever had, easiest ride. And Canada, Canada Oh my such an enormous country a place of many handshakes and smiles. “Premier long riding country”. The Canadian prairies make our Kansas look tiny. Never have I ridden more beautiful country as thru the “Special Area” (yes that is what it is called) of eastern Alberta. Luscious thick green long stem grasses everywhere. Soft dirt, not gravel, but dirt roads. Roads that could not be driven on when wet but a horse could get by OK.  Sparsely dotted with small farms and ranches. One of the wettest years on record, it had the country boasting like a true Garden of Eden.
Wonderful ride. Hart, Essie Pearl and Montana Spirit  have been turned out on pasture , they have a barn and good hay, salt and grain. This is where Essie Pearl was born and raised. Hart  spent last summer here on our 600 mile vacation ride. Montana Spirit, finishing her first ride takes it all in like a seasoned pro. For Claire THIS IS HOME.        I have a winterized tent set up in a glorified chicken coop next to the barn.  This is no ordinary chicken coop believe me. Theodora  is one of those gifted creative types that can create beauty out of any old thing..
I am glad to back and will update you with the details later this week this is to let those of you that have been following  along with this ride  not to worry, that we have arrived. Ende of the Trail is at the end of this years trail. I will have a pannier full of thank you cards to send out to our northern neighbors.  Canada, many, many thanks. This Lady long Rider sends a heart felt thank you to all of the Canadians that kindly  helped in one way or another to make this ride possible… Happy Trails  your lady long rider Bernice Ende