April 7th, 2014 Columbia Falls, Montana Let the Ride Begin!

OutFitters Supply has the honors of sending me off. I camped behind the store here in Columbia Falls last night. Rain and snow showers all weekend. In the morning Russ Barnett, owner of OFS will haul Essie Pearl, Montana Spirit and I to East Glacier onto Blackfeet Tribal Land. With permission and permit to cross the eastern front of Montana’s Rocky Mountains I begin my journey. This is not the first time Russ has hauled me across Marias Pass, now buried in several feet of snow. Much to dangerous to attempt riding at this time of year. In 2006  Russ hauled Claire Dog, Honor and I to the same drop off point where I began a 5000 mile odyssey.  In retrospect I can’t imagine how I even thought I could do it with just one horse.  Russ must have wondered if he was dropping me off to my demise. Only my second year out and far from a seasoned long rider, I rode hard long days  or walked, attached to Honor and Claire with lead ropes.  Nine years and 20,000 miles later I am setting out on an ambitious 8000 mile ride. This time with two seasoned Fjord mares and myself, a seasoned long rider with still much to learn. A seasoned long rider that loves long riding more now than ever before.
A ride of this magnitude must be broken into small bits and chewed slowly. “There comes a time,” said my dear friend Mel Evans “when you must let the journey carry you, let go and let it take you.” that was in 2005 on my first ride. Here I am  remembering those very same words. Remembering I must shed the unnecessary. Apply attentiveness, caution and skill. The horses health and well being come first, stay focused, fill the day with appreciation, learn to trust the unknown.
Thank you to the many last minute donations from community members in Eureka, Trego and Fortine. Why they support this madness I do not know, but they do.
I’d never have gotten “outta town” with-out the help of Theodora’s Garden (see The Store page) who provided a platform to assemble the ride.
My sponsors, Tuckers Saddle Co. and OutFitters Supply ( see Sponsorship page)gave generously as have all the sponsors who support my rides with products or services.
To those of you following the rides and who send encouraging, kind words..I have said it many times before and I will say it again,
“To each and everyone whose path I cross,
a hearty “thank you” for the encouragement,
the interest and the support. I could not have
done it without you.”
Happy Trails, Bernice Ende

guard dog extraordinare at OFS.
Lily guard dog extraordinaire at OFS.

Off Hwy #2 OutFitters Supply. Columbia Falls, Mt.
Off Hwy #2 OutFitters Supply. Columbia Falls, Mt.