Journal, May 17th, 2016…I feast on Salmon berries and the scent of wild roses as we make our way westward to Padilla Bay, coastal waters, seagulls, saltwater and ships. How thrilling!! The horses are fat thanks to Washington’s luscious cornucopia of grasses. The horses literally graze as we travel. Following the Cascade Trail (another marvelous Rails to Trails creation) from Concrete into Sedro Woolley keeps us off a VERY dangerous Hwy #20 packed with log trucks, semi’s and tourist traffic. The Skagit River to our left is as anxious to reach ocean waters as we are, but travels much faster than we do.
May 21st, 2016
We – Essie, Spirit and I, are the guests of Cheryl Cunningham and Marty Purvis of Marblemount,Washington. They like so many in this part of Washington have a beautiful, richly decorated home of flowers, gardens and a wide variety of tree specimens. EVERYTHING grows like mad here. It truly feels like the “Garden of Eden” there is just SO MUCH foliage! I met Marty when I stopped for the night at Colonial Campground in the Ross Lake State Park. Not sure if horses were allowed I walked over to a handful of Park Rangers and workers (the grounds were not open they were working hard to prepare the area for an onslaught of vacationers) to ask if I could spend the night. WELL, as I have said Washington is the most horse friendly state I have ridden thru and the response was… “Well of course.” Washington also has many very friendly park and forest service workers willing to help this lady long rider, enthusiasm oozed from them when I revealed my story. A young gal named Kassandra, took charge and then Marty joined in and with in 20 min. or so they had me and my horses all laid out with places to camp through out the following week. One of which was Kasandra’s folks the Barnedt’s and Marty’s place. You must remember that when I left Winthrop I had NO IDEA how I would manage the ride over to Padilla Bay. Now it all fell into place. My heart filled with relief, believe me!
We reached our most westward point, Padilla Bay, Bay View State Park on May 18th at 11 am (same day Mt. Helens erupted–Wednesday marked the 36th anniversary). The Skagit Valley Herald arrived to document the occasion. I arrived at the Sedro Woolley Rodeo Grounds the day before greeted my Doug Wood President of the rodeo association. They hosted my stay for 3 nights. Very nice facility, hot showers, many visitors and Doug made sure I had everything, food and supplies before leaving. The next day I was up early, saddled Spirit, Essie ran naked next to me on lead. We raced the 16.2 miles over to the coastal waters in 3 hours. We took photos of the Long Riders Guild Flag, had lunch visited with the camp hosts and dashed back before traffic roared with folks eager to get home from work. I marvel at my horses, their steadfastness and ability to maintain composure in the face of such chaos. THEY are the champions of this story!! We spent 2 more nights in Sedro Woolley, rain set in and because of that I asked Doug if he would haul me to Marblemount there by keeping us off the most dangerous stretch of all from Concrete to Rockport where logging was most active. I am back at Cheryl’s and Marty’s camped under a magical grove of Cedar trees, more rain. I must re-shoe the horses, rest and update the website before making the arduous journey up and over the Cascade Highway to Winthrop. Memorial Day weekend will light highway #20 up like fire by next weekend. I must ride out in the morning, even if I would dearly love to stay. It is like this, not often, but there are stops, at private homes, when we all say…”I feel like I have known you all my life” and the stop is like going home to old friends. That’s what its been like with Marty and Cheryl.
OK HERE ARE THE PHOTOS
Christie Fairchild stopping to visit also donated a bale of hay when I got to Sedro Woolley. Thank You!
link to Skagit Valley Herald skagit.ws/1rYXKeM
Ok that is enough, still must re shoe the horses and…squeeze in some rest… Thank you so much, all of you that have helped facilitate this stretch of the ride, THANK YOU, as my card says, “I could not have done it with out your help.”
Your lady long rider Bernice Ende