February 7th, 2018 Announcing – A 6/700 mile through Southern France

I am pleased to announce

A 6/700 mile ride in Southern France with Stone Age Skills practitioner and founder of the Living Wild School

Lynx Vilden.   www.lynxvilden.com

March 7th to April 29th 2018

1-Recently Updated

This ride is made possible by the following sponsors:

Tucker Saddle Co.

OutFitters Supply

And with private donations from the following

Burton Robson

“ANNonymous”

Melissa Deaver-Rivera

#########################################

Thank you also to the following sponsors:

Cashel

Source Micro-nutrients

Sunbody Hats

Skido Saddle Pads

My horse has graciously been provided by Herbert and Isabelle Backhaus owners of Ferme de Fonluc

herbert-backhaus

Herbert Backhaus
“Ferme de Fonluc”
24620 Les Eyzies de Tayac
Dordogne, France
Tel : 0033-(0)-553-353006
To contact us by Email please use the form, and we will get back to you ASAP
GPS Coordinates : Latitude: 44.949249 – Longitude: 1.002631
Ferme de Fonluc is situated in the heart of the Vezere Valley in Tayac, just 10 minutes walk from Les Eyzies de Tayac. We have the Vezere river running through our land, and stunning views of the Limestone rock faces riddled with Prehistoric dwellings. All this makes it an ideal location to spend unforgettable vacations in one of our two wonderful gîtes.
 
fonluc900

About the ride

I remember first meeting Lynx nearly 25 years ago in Montana, years before I’d begun my life as a long rider. She was completely dressed in hides she’d tanned and sewed with sinew!   She’d been hunting ground squirrels with bow and arrow if I remember correctly. Even for me it was a stretch of the imagination that anyone, let alone a woman, could be living such a primitive life. Now she has become a renown primitive skills expert the world over. She has taken it to the level of art. A documentary “Pale’o Extreme,” produced in 2012 brought Lynx’s skills into the lime-light throughout Europe. Lynx has traveled, explored and researched the nature and traditional cultures of arctic desert and mountain regions from Hudson Bay to the Kalahari Desert. Her calling has been teaching and practicing primitive living skills (with passion) in the U.S. and Europe since 1991. She has lived in a Sami Village in Scandinavia and lived and studied in the deserts of New Mexico and Arizona. In 2001 she started the Living Wild School dedicated to sharing prehistoric skills and primitive living. www.lynxvilden.com
A horse woman for 25 years Lynx has worked with draft ponies and has trained her Appaloosa Mare “Karma” whom she will be riding. I am honored and humbled to have this opportunity to ride with Lynx in the beautiful country of France. There are so many to thank.
Our ride, beginning from the Ferme de Fonlucin in Les Eyzies de tayac will circle through the Dordogne region of southern France for a 3 week ride. We return the first week of April as Lynx will be teaching a class at Ferme de Fonluc. We then return to our horses and saddles April 7th for another 3 weeks of riding. We are taking only 2 horses using Tucker Saddles and Outfitters Supply full front and rear bags and will be on our own. I am providing the gear and expertise of long riding. Lynx the route and accommodations for the ride. The Les Eyzies de Tayac is located in a valley, famous for its pre-
historical remains. It is one of the main centers in the world for research in this field. Numerous interesting objects and ancient works of art have been discovered in this town and the surrounding areas. Many of these can be admired in the museum, or by visiting local caves.
I heart-felt thank-you to my sponsors Out Fitters Supply and Tuckers Saddle for making this ride possible. But also to Ferm de Fonluc for providing a magnificent horse for the ride and the private donators who have contributed so generously. I look forward to sharing with you the readers who follow my rides with the sights and experiences of a ride in France.

Bernice Ende - Lynx Vilden
Bernice Ende – Lynx Vilden

“We are so often caught up in the destination that we forget to appreciate the journey, especially the goodness of the people we meet on the way.”

A heartfelt thank you to all those who have helped this ride.

 
——-French
Je me souviens avoir rencontre Lynx il y a a peu pres 25ans au
Montana, bien avant d’avoir commence ma vie de randonnees de longue
distance.
Elle etait vetue de peaux de betes qu’elle tannait et cousait elle
meme avec du fil en boyau d’animal.Elle chassait les chiens de prairie
avec un arc si je me souviens bien.Je me demandais comment une femme
pouvait vivre une vie si primitive.
Elle est maintenant experte mondiale sur la vie primitive et leur civilization.
Elle l’a transforme en un art de vivre.
Le documentaire ” l’extreme Paleo ” publie en 2012 lui a permi de
faire connaitre son
mode de vie a travers toute l’europe.
Lynx a voyage explore et  a fait des recherches sur la nature et les
cultures traditionnelles du desert de l’artique des regions
montagneuses de la bay d’Hudson jusqu’au desert de Kalahari.
Ses connaissances sont apprises et pratiquees ( avec passion ) aux
etats unis et en Europe depuis 1991.
Elle a vecu dans un village Sami en Scandinavie ,elle a vecu et etudie
dans les deserts du nouveau mexique et d’ Arizona.
En 2001 elle crea l’ecole dediee a apprendre comment vivre en milieu
sauvage et inospitable.
Cavaliere experimentee depuis 25 ans Lynx a travaille avec des chevaux
de bas et a entraine sa jument appaloosa Karma qui fera partie de
notre randonnee.
Je suis honoree et humble d’avoir l’opportunite et la chance de
pouvoir faire ce periple dans ce beau pays qu’est la France.J’ai
tellement de gens a remercier…
Nous commencerons notre chevauchee a la Ferme de Fonlucin dans les
Eyzies de Tayac,Nous allons parcourir la Dordogne dans le sud de la
France pendant 3 semaines.Nous serons de retour la premiere d’avril
car Lynx doit donner des cours a la ferne de Fonlucin.
Le 7 avril nous rependrons notre randonnee pendant 3 semaines .Nous
aurons deux chevaux avec 2 selles Tucker et de quoi vivre stocke dans
2 sacs de selles un devant et un derriere ( rien d’autre est prevu ).
J’apporte L’equipement et mon experience;Lynx sa connaissance de
l’endroit et le logement.
Les Eyzies de Tayac se trouve dans une vallee reconnue pour ses
fouilles prehistoriques .C’est un des endroits les plus important dans
la recherche mondiale sur ce sujet.Beaucoup d’objets et  d’oeuvres
d’art ont ete decouverts dans ce village et ses environs .On peut
d’ailleurs les voir dans les muses et grottes des environs.
Je ne sais comment remercier mes ” sponsors “ainsi que les donneurs
prives qui me permettent de faire ce voyage ainsi que la ferne de
Fonlucin bien entendu .
J’ai hate de partager avec mes lecteurs qui s’interessent a mes
randonnees, mes experiences et  mes vues sur la France.
Nous voulons souvent arriver a une destination et nous oublions
d’apprecier le voyage ,principalement la bonte des gens que l’on
rencontre en chemin.
Encore merci de tout mon coeur a ceux qui me permettent de participer
a cette aventure extraordinaire.
 

Silver City, New Mexico – January 22nd, 2018 Pat Wolph residence

The Animas Valley

DSC03090
I rest in contentment and a long slow sunset.
I rest in contentment and a long slow sunset.
DSC03083

Long eared desert hare silently burst out from under mesquite brush as I ride north on long straight gravel roads. There are so many we are only momentarily startled as they go bounding off run, run, run leap – run, run, run grand jete’, quick, graceful animals. Canadian geese strung out in an enormously long straight V shape herald their journey north. The wind shoves more air down the throat and up the nose than the lungs know what to do with. The land makes you breath because there is so much space between you and over there with grass, water and shelter only if you are lucky enough to find it. A crow fly’s by. I shout “Where’s the water?” If you see birds your bound to find water.

Packing up, I love this part of my day, like a morning ritual I kneel down and run slip knots on my panniers.
Packing up, I love this part of my day, like a morning ritual I kneel down and run slip knots on my panniers.

I now know why these cowboys wear high-top cowboy boots and chaps because there is every kind of sticker known to human-kind here in the Southwest. They get down your boots, stick on your socks, pants, sweater sleeves, they bake into your skin and refuse to be shook off, stickers everywhere.

DSC03012

A Cowboy Story

A young man dreamed of living the life of a cowboy. His eyes and heart beamed southward to the land of buckaroo’s, wranglers, flank riders, come along little dogie. Where roping and branding and wild cattle were real. A land where cowboy hats, cowboy boots and spurs were not out of place. And all the time he lived in Alaska a long, long way from “cowboy.” But he reached for his dream by learning the art of horseshoeing, by riding and training horses. He learned veterinary skills. And then one day at the ripe old age of 18 this young man saddled up his horse “Mr.” packed up two others, called his dog Traveler and headed for the U.S./Mexico border for the land of “cowboy.”

A long ride by any stretch of the imagination, an epic journey. One arduous year and he’d reached southern Alberta. Long days, sleepless nights. His ears froze his fingers and toes numbed by the cold, he rode. As the young man traveled he took on bronc’s and throw away horses no one wanted, trained them – made them good again, sold them and added more to his string to make money. He worked for ranchers training young colts, branding, roping and sorting cattle. He had a good hand with horses. Made a little money and moved on.

In the glorious state of Colorado he saw something that caught his eye, a pretty young rodeo gal who rode like nothing he’d ever seen. And she caught his eye and the adventure that rode in them. She gave him strength to go on. She believed in him.

With no support vehicle behind him nor in front, just his desire to be a cowboy and to find that place where he belonged, another year passed.

And now that Mexico border was in view and friends and family cheered him on and he knew he’d reached the place he so longed to be. The many miles and hardships behind him had bred cowboy into his bones. And he turned around and knelt down and asked that girl who believed in him, who’d caught his heart, if she’d marry him. And she said yes. And now that young man with the dream of becoming of cowboy works on one of the biggest ranches in New Mexico south of Animas.

But what he did not dream of, what he did not know when he set forth on his journey to be a cowboy was that he’d find so much more. That he would find love and happiness as a father and a husband. That an entire community would welcome and embrace him. That ropin and ridin and cowboy boots, spurs, good horses and cattle were but a small part of being a cowboy.

I first heard about this long rider in 2006 while crossing the United States on a 5000 mile ride. Someone handed me a newspaper clipping with a photo of a cowboy coming head on, riding one horse, packing another. A dog ran out front. Flanking him were 6 or 7 horses on leads. I thought, even as a very inexperience long rider at that time, “He’s nuts.”

Well I had the pleasure of meeting Jeremiah John Karsten, now 32, in Animas, New Mexico a week ago. I had dinner with him, his beautiful wife Joetta Rae and their three young daughters, Charlee Rae, 7 – Jemma Jo, 3 – Cora Kate 5 months.

I went away from our meeting thinking this man is my idea (maybe a romantic notion some might say) of a true cowboy. Tall, straight, lean, his attire careful, tidy. His boots, spurs and jeans seem to fit just right as did his colorful cowboy style scarf he wore around his neck. And of course the hat, not at all like mine, a real cowboy hat, with sweat and dirt worn into its years.

But that’s only the look. The important part of a true cowboy rides inside. Polite, soft spoken, yet not shy. Confident but with a measure of humility. He loves his trade, his wife, his family. He resounds in contentment for his life as a cowboy. Jeremiah left Alaska an 18 year old “greenhorn” now thirteen years later he’s probably on of the happiest men alive at least his smile and eyes and family showed it.

DSC03058

Photos – From Douglas, Arizona to Silver City, New Mexico.

Equestrian Border Patrol stopping to visit. I had left my tent in Douglas in the livestock feed trough and the "BPer's" came to my rescue, went back and retrieved it.
Equestrian Border Patrol stopping to visit. I’d left my tent in Douglas, in the livestock feed trough, the “BPer’s” came to my rescue, went back and retrieved it.
DSC03033
Came across this beautiful stone house, now abandoned and said, this is it I want to live here, it was lovely. Spent the night camped near by
Came across this beautiful stone house, now abandoned and said,”This is it, I want to live here.”, It was lovely. Spent the night camped near by. Just before entering the Coronado National Forest.
This rocking horse tied to the post with the sign "pony rides 25 cents" Water bottle near by. How odd.
This rocking horse tied to the post with the sign “pony rides 25 cents” Water bottle near by. How odd. Only a mile or so from the border fence line.
Stopping for afternoon lunch break.
Stopping for afternoon lunch break.
Animas, New Mexico had one of the finest mercantile stores I have ever come across. It had everything from food to lumber from horseshoes to propane. On the right is Starla Freeman her father started the store in 1976 from their home. To the right is Paula Johannes she does all the ordering.
Animas, New Mexico had one of the finest mercantile stores I have ever come across. It had everything from food to lumber from horseshoes to propane. On the right is Starla Freeman her father started the store in 1976 from their home. To the left is Paula Johannes she does all the ordering.
Cold south eastrely blew me into town. I made due with a old pig pen at Starlas, near the mercantile. I had hay, we were out of the wind and had food. Warm, safe and dry, I say, Thank you
A cold south easterly blew me into town. I made due with an old pig pen at Starlas, near the mercantile. I had hay, we were out of the wind and had food. Warm, safe and dry, I say, Thank you
DSC03051
Stopped in Lordsburg for the night. Fairgrounds said NO CAMPING but there happened to be a horse motel nexted to it. I met a "Trail Angel" Nettie Rainer. She washed my very dirty clothes, let me shower and found me hay for the horses. Thank you Nettie.
Stopped in Lordsburg for the night. Fairgrounds said NO CAMPING but there happened to be a horse motel next to it where I met a “Trail Angel” Nettie Rainer. She washed my very dirty clothes, let me shower and found me hay for the horses – then her friend (from Animas) who took me to the grocery store. Thank you Nettie.
Again this may not look like much but it kept me dry when I woke to snow coming out of Lordsburg more cold winds with rain and snow this time. I considered myself lucky to have found this shack still standing from an old homestead. It had a stock tank and enough dry grass to keep the horses happy. A days ride from Silver City.
Again this may not look like much but it kept me dry when I woke to snow a days ride N.of Lordsburg, N.M. – more cold winds with rain and snow this time. I considered myself lucky to have found this shack still standing from an old homestead. It had a stock tank and enough dry grass to keep the horses happy. A days ride from Silver City.
It's rags to riches. From the photo above to Pat's lovely Casita where we are spending the week. Liska and Spirit have equally nice accommodations where I can watch them. I met Pat when Rosie and I came thur earlier. The nights are freezing but the New Mexico sun warms all beneath it.
It’s rags to riches. From the photo above to Pat’s lovely Casita where we are spending the week. Liska and Spirit have equally nice accommodations where I can watch them. I met Pat when Rosie and I came thur earlier.  An avid horsewoman and Back-country Horseman member. Pat’s 3 horses, all geldings, think my two fat Fjord mares are very amusing. The nights are freezing but the New Mexico sun warms all beneath it.

Ok all for now, am heading north to visit with my sister in the Albuquerque area and another friend Leslie Adler whom I met in 2006 on another ride in Madrid, New Mexico. Best to all who follow the rides, and of course many thanks for the Facebook page comments and interest.
Bernice

January 10th, 2018 Douglas, Arizona – Empresa Cojunita Subasta – Sonoran Livestock Market

Riding the United States/Mexico border fence line.

The United States/Mexico fence border near Palominas,AZ
The United States/Mexico fence border near Palominas, AZ.

Today I rode into Douglas, Arizona, mid- afternoon, a cool breeze in our face a warm sun on our right shoulders following the U.S./Mexico border fence from Palominas a 3 day ride. Horses needed water and the first building complex I came to is The Empresa Cojunita Subasta – livestock pens. Not one animal anywhere, very clean, no smell. Julio, the manager came out as I stepped down from my saddle. After I watered the horses we talked for a bit and Julio has been kind enough to furnish hay, water and pens for the night. Cattle are coming in from Mexico tomorrow. They will be purchased and shipped thru out the United States. Julio has been in the cattle business his whole life, he runs a very tidy stockyard here I must say.

It really has been quite the ride and I have been out less than two weeks.

DSC02986
Spirit grabbing at a few bits of grass along the fence. This section was tall steel bars. There were many different kinds of fencing I was surprised.

I have a much different opinion about the border, about the wall, about the complicated mess that has evolved and the men and women whose job it is to secure the Mexico/U.S. Border. The country I have ridden, from Sonoita to Douglas is spectacular. It may be some of the most superb sweeping vista’s I have ever seen. The San Predro River Valley, Montezuma Pass, the San Rafael Valley and Patagonia Mountains are like nothing I have ever ridden through. I thought Eastern Montana or Saskatchewan were expansive but this has a quality all its own. Desert grasses and shrubs grow at low elevations. Forest of oak, pinyon pine and alligator juniper dominate most of the landscape. And then off in that elusive horizon jagged mountains outline the sky. And right smack thru this scene is a long black fence/wall slicing like some one had taken a big magic marker to the land.
A well maintained dirt road runs along the U.S. side with white and green pickup trucks patrolling back and forth in their designated sections. I have seen helicopters, a blimp with surveillance equipment, towers every so many miles with surveillance equipment and dozens of border patrols, BP’s as they call one another.

DSC02984

Interesting signs on the fence, I never did find out what exactly they meant.
Interesting signs on the fence, I never did find out what exactly they meant.

The neigh-sayers said, “You’ll get shot riding down there.” Even I felt apprehensive after all I have heard about the Mexico border from the far reaches of our Montana border. And one must exercise caution it is a dangerous place at times and there are ruthless men running drugs etc. But with in all this I have found most of the people quite calm about the whole situation. The border patrols have been helpful, friendly and generous with time and questions I have. It’s not at all like our northern border. These mostly young men and women have given me a far better understanding of the situation than I once had and with it I think an appreciation that something does need to be done. It’s far more complicated than simply building a wall. Some are for it some say its not going to help until Mexico steps up and the economy is better, (as one on looker said,”when you get $10.00 a day in Mexico and $10.00 and hour in the U.S. , hell I’d risk it to.) and they no longer need or want to mass exodus. Until we Americans no longer need or want the drugs coming across the border the situation is not going to change as one patrol officer pointed out. These “BP”are men and women with families of their own working a very difficult, complicated situation down here as State Park Ranger Steve Mazur pointed out when he stopped in his truck for a chat. When I stopped at the Coronado National Memorial Visitor Center for information regarding road travel. Christopher Bentley the center’s manager also pointed out that it was safe to travel here that he hoped people would not stay away out of fear.

My Tucker Saddle and OutFitters Supply packs at the border with me.
My Tucker Saddle and OutFitters Supply packs at the border with me. Horse shoes by Roger Robinson at the Black Smith Shop.

So I say thank you to all of these men and women I have met over the course of this ride who serve our country in one way or another, I say thank you.

DSC02979

As for me, I am loving the sunny, warm I hesitate to say “winter days” down here in Arizona and New Mexico but it is winter! I may never winter in Montana again!

Spirit and Liska are now back to work as we travel a 400 mile jaunt from Sonoita to Edgewood, New Mexico to see my sister. Rosie and Bella dog, her truck and trailer are back in Tennessee taking care of business. We, Spirit, Liska and I will meet up with her again at my sisters for more “Travels with Rosie.”

Photos from the last few days

These are the FOUR HORSEWOMEN FROM SONOITA! and they escorted me across a section of National Forest, I never would have found my way across. Thank you Ladies
These are the FOUR HORSEWOMEN OF SONOITA! – they escorted me across a section of National Forest, (just south of Sonoita) I never would have found my way across. Thank you Ladies! L to R. – Diane, Jeanie (responsible for this) Nancy and Gloria.
Next night out Corky Quiruga, manager of the Diamond C Ranch hosted my stay, Corky's dad worked on this ranch for 50 years now Corky has taken his Dads place. Corky said, "I don't have a job, I have a life."
Next night out Corky Quiruga, manager of the Diamond C Ranch hosted my stay, Corky’s dad worked on this ranch for 50 years now Corky has taken his Dads place. Corky said, “I don’t have a job, I have a life.” It was really a nice restful visit.
Parker Canyon Lake's winding road led me to Scott Kerr at Canyon Lake. He owns the store and I rode into hospitality. He said, " I saw you ride out of Sonoita and well you finally made it, welcome." He made the most delicious burritos I have ever eaten.
Parker Canyon Lake’s winding road led me to Scott Kerr at Canyon Lake. He owns the store just off the lake. I rode into hospitality. He said, ” I saw you ride out of Sonoita and well, you finally made it, welcome.” He made the most delicious burritos I have ever eaten. And Scott has been to Trego, Montana.
The next few photos are from The Coronado National Monument State Park
The next few photos are from The Coronado National Monument State Park.
Steve Mazur dashing young park ranger with a beautiful smile stopped to chat, the horses nearly ate him.
Steve Mazur, dashing young park ranger with a beautiful smile stopped to chat, the horses nearly ate him.
Stunning
Stunning
We camped here for the night, just getting started. Copper Canyon the horses had water AND green grass!
We camped here for the night, just getting started. Copper Canyon the horses had water AND green grass!
The next generation of Park Rangers!! the gal on teh R. gave me her lighter as mine was soaked when I spilled my tea on it.
The next generation of Park Rangers!! the gal on the R. gave me her lighter as mine was soaked when I spilled my tea on it.
Interesting Corral where I stopped for water and an afternoon break.
Interesting Corral where I stopped for water and an afternoon break.
And yes its break time for my girls when we stopped at Nancy Newmans lovely adobe home in the desert. Had a wonderful visit with a kindred spirit.
And yes its break time for my girls when we stopped at Nancy Newmans lovely adobe home in the desert. Had a wonderful visit with a kindred spirit. New friend indeed. Liska is having a grand new adventure everyday, its old hat stuff for Spirit girl.

Ok I think that’s it for now. I don’t think it’s to late to say, Happy New Year is it? Wishing you all the best.

Bernice


January 2nd, 2018 – Superior, Arizona

overlooking Roosevelt Lake north of Globe AZ.
Overlooking Roosevelt Lake north of Globe AZ.

Greetings and Happy New Year to all of you that follow my rides. How often are we gifted a full moon to open the new year with? AND a Super Moon at that rising ever so slowly bursting with moon light like a fat bulging bulb ready to give birth.

Rosie and I welcomed the new year in with a Native American Blessing at the incredibly beautiful Bryce Thompson Arboretum given by Arvel Bird (www.arvelbird.com)a talented speaker, song writer and musician. A moving performance reminding all that attended to be grateful, walk softly and love one another through out the year.

Most of last week Rosie and I spent at the Frasier horse camp-ground near Roosevelt Lake north of Globe, AZ. We discovered yet another picturesque area for riding and camping. We met and visited with several camp volunteers managing the site and trails – many from northern states where with friends and relatives suffering from fridge weather conditions so I should not tell you I swam in the lake but it was 74 degrees and felt hot.

Rosie heads home for Tennessee this week. I set out for a 400 mile ride from Sonoita, AZ. To Albuquerque, New Mexico, a one month ride. My travel will slow down considerably, back to our normal 4 or 5 mile per hour speed. We have had a great time of it traveling in a truck and trailer like most do. I have seen much more of the Southwest than I could have traveling by horseback. Arizona is spectacular and the state takes great pride in protecting and promoting its national treasure, public land. I now know why so many winter here. Many smiles welcomed us from volunteers managing our Parks and National Forest campgrounds wearing many hats from camp hosts, trails crews, clean up, guiding and instructing even some maintenance work. To all of you I can not thank you enough because without your effort our State Parks and National Forest lands would simply be closed due to the drastic funding cuts our country is facing.

Wishing all of you the very best through out the 2018 year.

Oval Bird at the Bryce Thompson Arboretum
Oval Bird at the Bryce Thompson Arboretum
Rosie on Spirit
Rosie on Spirit
 looks whose at the light of the tunnel
Looks whose at the light of the tunnel…Rosie and Spirit.
Everyone needs a drink at the end of a ride on the Arizona Trail.
Everyone needs a drink at the end of a ride on the Arizona Trail.
Superior, Az
Superior, AZ.

Apache Junction, Arizona – December 26th, 2017

Mount Picketpost, east of Apache Junction, AZ.
Mount Picketpost, east of Apache Junction, AZ. our front door view.

Winter Solstice has past, Christmas has pasted, days grow longer.

I was visiting with the camp host here at Picketpost trail head, part of the Tonto National Forest. She is from New York (upstate). I said,”Its funny, winter seems as if it doesn’t even exist down here, the snow the cold whipping winds and freezing rain. I mean I find it funny that I don’t even think about the winter I might be missing in Montana. But I sure remember wishing and longing for a winter in the south.”

It feels like “vacation time” here in Arizona. Most people I meet are for the most part “snowbirds,” with a more relaxed, casual out look on life. The harshness of weather and stress of work has been removed. More time for leisure. Yesterday I spoke with a lovely retired couple, as cute as could be, from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada – spending 4 months in the Mesa, Az. area. They wore shorts, had backpacks on and were out hiking the Arizona Trail. But square dancing was their thing. If I am correct the fit looking older gentleman and his lithe wife of many, many years told me there were 100’s of square dances happening this winter in the Mesa/Apache Junction area. By the looks of it dancing was most certainly keeping this couple youthful with sparks in their eyes and a quickness in their steps.

A quick photo over view of the past couple of weeks as I continue my, “Travels with Rosie.”

After leaving the Sonotia area we traveled west to Tubac where we overnighted at "Freedom on the Go" horse motel. We visited the exhibit at the Presido State Park in Tubac.
After leaving the Sonotia area we traveled west to Tubac where we overnighted at “Freedom on the Go” horse motel. We visited the exhibit at the Presido State Park in Tubac.
DSC02807
Rosie looking on with interest.
Rosie looking on with interest.
Then we drove to the near my National Park of Tumacacori. Fascinating!
Then we drove to the near my National Park of Tumacacori. Fascinating!
DSC02823
DSC02812
Then we headed north for the Catalina State Park where we rode and overnighted two nights. One thing I am noticing more is that volunteers are picking up the slack where funding has been cut. This park as are many are being maintained with the sincere help of many volunteers and they are doing a not worthy job if it all.
Then we headed north for the Catalina State Park where we rode and overnighted two nights. One thing I am noticing more is that volunteers are picking up the slack where funding has been cut. This park as are many are being maintained with the sincere help of many volunteers and they are doing a not worthy job of it all.
Horses wanting their morning Source Micronutrients.
Rosie's guard dog and pal, Bella.
Rosie’s guard dog and pal, Bella.
From Catalina we went further north where Melissa Deaver-Rivera hosted a talk at her stable with friends from her riding club. Had a lovely evening. Melissa is a member of the BackCountry Horseman and knows my sister MaryAnn from the Pecos Chapter in Albuquerque, NM.
From Catalina we went further north where Melissa Deaver-Rivera hosted a talk at her stable with friends from her riding club in Apache Junction… Had a lovely evening. Melissa is a member of the BackCountry Horseman and knows my sister MaryAnn from the Pecos Chapter in Albuquerque, NM.
Now here we are..Rosie on Spirit with the Superstition Mountains in the background riding the Arizona Trail
Now here we are..Rosie on Spirit with the Superstition Mountains in the background riding the Arizona Trail.
DSC02837
Christmas day 2017 in camp.
Christmas day 2017 in camp.

Sonoita, Arizona – December 17, 2017

DSC02803

Las Cienegas and the Historic Empire Ranch

I am an advocate for public lands, a self proclaimed spokeswoman for our National Forest Service and Parks and the people who work in the service of these government departments.

Recently Rosie and I discovered the Las Cienegas National Conservation and Historic Empire Ranch, 5 miles north of Sonoita, Arizona. An expansive landscape of desert grasslands, rolling hills dotted with mesquite trees, dry auroras lined with giant cottonwood trees, antelope, deer, raptors, land that gives you the feel of freedom. When we arrived a couple of weeks ago, I stepped out of Rosie’s truck and said, “ I feel like I’m on the African Savanna.” I have never been on the African Savanna but I have seen photos…this is what the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area felt like to me, exotic, breathtaking vistas, wind, sky and grass.


When I see the volumes of people striking out for a weekend camping expedition, when I read about the record breaking attendance Glacier Park, Yellowstone Park and Yosemite support each year and when I see the struggle between differing land use managements ie: motorized 4-wheeler, non motorized – horseback riders, hikers, bicyclist, hunters, the logging and mineral interest, all grabbing, all vying for a peace of open space, natural beauty, a place to “get away from it all… I think, “ We need more public lands.”

It is impressive what a group of strong minded determined people did in saving this ranch land and the ,ambience it embraces. www.empireranchfoundation.org.  From the website……

The Empire Ranch Foundation (ERF) was established as a private non-profit organization in 1997 to work with the BLM to develop private support to preserve the ranch buildings and enhance the educational and recreational opportunities it offers to the general public. In the time since, ERF and BLM have completed significant emergency repairs to the main ranch house and to major outbuildings at the headquarters. Major long term permanent repairs to the Ranch House and Adobe Haybarn are being specified and undertaken as funding permits, while interpretation and education programs and a Discovery Trail and other visitor enhancements…

Between BLM and the Empire Ranch foundation the Las Cienegas has managed to blend a working ranch, 4-wheelers, hikers, horseback riders and hunters on to this 42,000 acre conservation area. It is clean, does not have roads everywhere and retains a sense of being alone with the land. Rosie felt it deserved a generous donation. In a time when our public lands are being threatened we must all pitch in and help and not rely so heavily on the government to save these national treasures.

My hat is off to the BLM and the Empire Ranch Foundation…and its a big hat!

THe Wetstone Mountains. These Mountains have been in many western movies.
The Mustang Mountains. These Mountains have been in many western movies such as Red River and EL Dorado the Shootist, Oklahoma, 3:10nto Yuma and Ride the High Country.
Rosie on Liska and Jeanetta Sturgeon (who led us here in the first place) riding her grey gelding Phoenix.
Rosie on Liska and Jeanetta Sturgeon (who led us here in the first place) riding her grey gelding Phoenix.
My Black Mountain Saddle from Tucker taking in the view.
My Black Mountain Saddle from Tucker taking in the view.
Inside the Historic Empire Ranch corrals.
Inside the Historic Empire Ranch corrals.
Rosie riding off into the sunset with her mount Liska Pearl.
Rosie riding off into the sunset with her mount Liska Pearl.

Patagonia

DSC02774

Is a quaint, charming artist’s town. The streets are open and lovely and the people friendly. As Rosie, Bella and I strolled the town on a sunny afternoon I noticed this sign. I never did meet any of the women from the group but Rhonda the woman on the ladder said they were very influential in the community. One-hundred years ladies!!! goodness by the looks of your town you are doing something right.