Winter of 2017/18 Well we did it. At least that is what I have been saying to my girls Liska Pearl and Montana Spirit, “We did it girls.” Many times when I tell someone I am going to do a ride, “Yes,” I say, ”I am riding from bla bla bla to bla bla bla.” I preface those big words with, “ But don’t forget its all a lot of talk until I actually do it.” So when I left Montana last November holding grand, adventurous plans in my hand, I also left with – “Well, now lets see if you can do it Bernice,” rattling around in my head. For the past eight months I have been traveling, mostly by horse, some by truck and horse trailer, some by foot, but mostly accompanied by the beloved equine. Reflections Libby, Montana is quiet this evening. From my campsite at the J Neils Park north of town I can hear the Kootenai River in the distance. The horses are eating contently on long picket lines, toting fat bellies full of long stem grasses. I must have put in about 1000 miles this winter, something like that, not as many miles as I had projected but still a fair amount of time spent in the saddle. The itinerary went like this; Late October I hauled my horses to Montpelier, Idaho with my old but dependable 1969 Ford pick up. Met Rosie Rollins in Montpelier on the 4th of November. Transferred my gear and horses into her much bigger trailer and headed south for Utah. Spent November, December and part of January riding the southwest, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico. Short rides – long campsites. Rosie rode Spirit most of the time. Saw some beautiful country. In January I rode from Sonoita, AZ to Socorro, NM about 350 miles. Desert riding. (Rosie headed back east to take care of business) February, Rosie returned and met me in Albuquerque, hauled me to Nebraska where I left my horses at Jeanie Grace’s home. Flew to France for a ride with Lynx Vilden. Had hoped to ride much longer but we got in about 300 miles. I can’t even describe it, just look on the website at the photos. Returned to U.S. in April. Rode from Lewellen, NE. to Laramie, Wy. 250 miles. Spent a few days at the Burns residence, north of Laramie. Snow kept the mountain passes closed and Rosie was coming thru AGAIN so I hitched a ride to Craig, Colorado. Rode from Craig, Colorado to Rock Springs Wyoming, about 200 miles. Met up with documentary filmmakers from“WE Productions” out of Santa Fe, NM. Spent one week filming in Colorado, Wyoming and Idaho. They brought a horse trailer and dropped me off in Montpelier, Idaho at Elaine Zeyers home. Drove north 600 miles and now I am nearly home. What else can I say except… WOW, my head is reeling.
THANK YOU The list is long. Thank you Outfitters Supply and Tuckers Saddle for getting me and my gear over to France. Also to the support from 3 private donors who made that ride possible, a deep heart felt thank you to all of you. To Sunbody Hats, Benchmark Maps, Cashel Co., Source Micro-nutrients, Skido Saddle Pads and The Blacksmith Shop for fabulous horseshoes! Lets see, to Rosie Rollins, we really did have a good time running around this past winter. I have never done “trailer camping” before. Thank you Rosie. (I slept in my tent, she had the trailer) Thank you to the Grace’s and the Burn’s for putting my horses up and for getting me safely from Nebraska to Wyoming, with help from many of their friends. Will never forget how Jeannie Grace showed up unexpectedly at the airport when I flew back from France. Thank you Elaine and Polly for letting me store my truck and trailer all winter in Montpelier, Idaho. Thank you to the folks at Ferme de Fonluc in France for providing me with the fine leopard Appaloosa horse named“Flora.” And to Lynx for initiating the ride in the first place. I returned filled with deep respect for her knowledge and skills. I loved France and its people. I must return! And last but not least thank you to my steeds Liska and Spirit for their willingness, for their courage and for the love they show me.
BOOK, BOOK, BOOK FINALLY THE BOOK LADY LONG RIDER ALONE ACROSS AMERICA BY HORSEBACK FarCountry Press Comes out in July, will offer personalized signed copies off the website.