After one month out, Bernice and I will be parting ways, however we do so with smiles on our faces and projects continuing!
I have definitely been able to experience some of the daily joys, the many surprises, and the beauty of the communities, people, and landscapes that one encounters travelling by horse and foot. However, the life of a Lady Long Rider is much more intense, fast-paced, and physically strenuous than I ever could have conceived. Bernice and I trained while in Forsyth to help prepare me physically and on horseback for this adventure, but truly understanding what this type of long riding is like was impossible for her to clearly portray and me to fully grasp. It has been a challenging but rewarding month on the road with Bernice, but this month has also made me realise that it takes much more than curiosity to do this for 6 months. When coming out and agreeing to join the ride, I had a deep curiosity about the communities we would pass and the people we would get to know, which one cannot do travelling by car at 70 mph. After becoming good friends with Bernice I had a curiosity about understanding, at a deeper level, what her life is like on the road. I had the curiosity of seeing beautiful, rural, western landscapes going at 3-4 mph. However, I have realised that my curiosity does not match a desire to continue the ride for the 6 months – it truly takes a vision, and for many, a long time dream to long ride like this. With Bernice’s support and enthusiasm, I think I could have finished the six months, but it would be me finishing for the sole purpose of finishing and not out of truly wanting to continue. Going that route would have felt dishonest to myself and perhaps would have muddled the process for both of us.
After having good long talks with Bernice, I will be heading out of Saskatoon to visit friends and family back east before heading back out to Montana in the fall to meet up again with Bernice and work with Lise Swenson on putting together a documentary on Bernice, the Lady Long Rider.
I graciously thank Bernice for opening up her home and her life to me. I appreciate and love her friendship, and I have gained an even deeper respect for her and the life she has chosen for herself (or that has chosen er), as it is one few could do, but it is one that brings her much happiness and discovery. I am very excited to meet up with her again and shoot some footage of her north of NW Montana. As you all know who follow the ride, Bernice is an inspiration to many, and it would be wonderful to be able to project her ever evolving story, the image of the rider and horse, and the dynamism of who she is and what she does to a larger audience.
Thank you all for the support and encouragement, and there have been no regrets from either of us! Much learned and much experienced.
We both continue on with a strong friendship, good energy, and smiles on our faces.
– I will also be posting many more photos and stories in the next week or two when I have access to more time at a computer!
We are camped at the rodeo grounds. The town park as shower facilities, and an excellent restaurant, a good library, and gracious and friendly smiles and handshakes. Mankota is a lovely small ranching and farming community northwest of the National Grasslands. Two day stop… picked up supplies… horses doing well. Hart is doing very well, Claire is moving well, Essie Pearl is fat and sassy, and Emily and I are traveling slow but steady, night after night of exquisite campgrounds. We wear smiles also. Swift Current is the next major stop…. An eight day ride.
Thank you all who follow the ride. More detail to come then.
Bernice Ende – your Lady Long Rider
Monday night we rode just south of the border and had a lovely ranch to camp out at. There were about 30 bulls in some land next to where we were camped out, so there was plenty of bull arguing and yelling and stomping to watch! Tuesday morning we packed up and headed to the border. After being asked a number of questions we waited to hear whether they would let us through or not! After getting all of the required government documents and vaccinations and health papers for the animals, we thought we were good to go! And finally, through the border we went, realising how much more strict the border had gotten after 9/11. We have had many interesting discussions on this from folks who live close to the border on both sides.
Tuesday afternoon we arrived in the lovely little town of Killdeer. A beautiful day it was! We got permission to stay in the yard of the community hall. The Community Hall was filled with interesting pictures from the 1940’s until today, and scattered with bits of local history. The next morning we got to explore the area a bit more with a local man named, Amel, who was generous enough to tour us around to see some of the beautiful areas southern Saskatchewan has to offer, including Wood Mountain and the town of Rockglen. It was also suggested that we go through the Grassland National Park rather than keep going north as planned. We took his advice, and here we are in the beautiful and vast Grassland National Park. We rode in last night into a beautiful scenic campground as the sun was beginning to set. We also met another very helpful and kind gentleman, Warren, who came out to visit with us at the Grasslands to give some helpful navigation and suggestions about the region.
Today it is cold and rainy so we decided to camp here for an extra day. We met three local park rangers who have been incredibly hospitable, helped us develop a trail to get us twoards the Town of Swift Current, and talked in detail about some fascinating Canadian history.
We will head out tomorrow, and will most likely be in Swift Current in about a week, and will post more then!
Learn more about Grasslands National Park here: http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/sk/grasslands/index.aspx
Brilliant and bright sun, cold northwest wind, preparing for Canada!
We both wish to thank the people of Opheim for their generous slice ofhospitality. They helped us in every way possible! What could have been a horrible time due to some of the worst weather I have experienced, turned into a welcomed and comfortable stay.
Thank you again Opheim!
Hope lies within these communities!
Your Lady Long Rider
We headed to Opheim last Tuesday. Beautiful scenery; rolling fields, blue skies, plenty of surprising creeks. People have been very helpful throughout the way! With supplying potable water, giving good suggestions on routes and directions, and proving some shelter and good conversation.
We arrived in Opheim on Friday and were welcomed by the Baily family who have been most helpful and generous. We have been here three days and we have already met so many great locals. It has been a windy and rainy all weekend, so we have bunkered down this weekend and will head out to cross the border tomorrow.
Currently sitting at the lovely Outpost cafe (which has wireless internet!!) and chatting with locals and listening to stories of homesteading and the last gun fight in the area. Opheim has truly been wonderful to us.
Heading across the border tomorrow! Hopefully the border patrol won’t take apart the bags too much!
Will update more soon!