Trego, Montana

The air is hot and smoky here in the Northwest corner of Montana. I hose the horses off in the hot afternoon. They stand with contentment in the cool shade of their stalls.

Last week I traveled with my friend Janna Pekaar down the east side of Flathead Lake over Helena National Forest up and over McDonald’s Pass to the eastern front of the Rocky Mountains where I gave a series of five slideshow presentations/book readings and signing. We brought our tents, camp food was on the menu as were cold creeks and hot springs. We toured Helena, Janna is improving on her accordion with gentle French melodies. My childhood friend Paulette attended two of the talks. (there is a chapter about us in the book) The Choteau stop gave me another opportunity to share stories about my grandparents who had settled in the area during the early 1900’s. Finally, and yes finally I was able to put faces to what had only been voices from the crew at FarCountry who have been absolutely delightful to work with through this lengthy book process. The weather cooperated as I talked and sold books, traffic was light, the scenery spectacular and I kept saying to Janna, “I must go out and ride again, I must.” The huge expanse called again and again, “Come, Come come feel the road, taste the air.”

TV  Link:

Helena downtown Library
Janna (center) with the FarCountry Crew!! Helena, Mt.
Paulette and I reminiscence after one of my talks.
Janna in Forsyth, Montana
Janna and I tour Helena

July 3oth, 2018 Trego, Montana

Just a reminder

Lydia Hopper Photographer 2016

Five days of speaking engagements this week in Eastern Montana:

July 31, 2018, Boulder Library, 6:30pm
Contact Jodi for more info. 406-225-3241

August 1, 2018, Choteau Library, 7pm
Contact Dell for more info. 406-466-2052

August 2, 2018, Whitehall Library, 6:30pm
Contact Jeannie for more info. 406-287-3763

August 3, 2018, Clancy Library, 6:00pm
Contact Carli for more info. 406- 933-5254

August 4, 2018, Helena Library, 1pm
Contact Suzanne for more info. 406-447-1690

My slideshow presentations are generally 1 hour long including time for questions and answers of course. I will have books to sell and sign. Looking forward to the entire week of visiting and sharing my adventures. Hope see many of you out there this week

July 16th, 2018 Trego, Montana

I am reading “Lady Long Rider” to Spirit.


So I asked her, “Do you remember Essie, Hart and Claire?” She replied, “Don’t be silly of course I do horses never forget good friends.” I continued reading.


 I received this lovely painting (pencil and watercolor) from Barb Mcgee last week called, “Has anyone seen Bernice?”  I met Barb in 2006 while riding through Peterson, Iowa on my 5000-mile ride.  She took a photo and did the painting that year.  I’m so delighted to finally have it on my wall adding to a growing collection of paintings people have done of me, or my traveling partners.  Thank you Barb, thank you!

Speaking Engagements in Eastern Montana

July 31, 2018, Boulder Library, 6:30 p.m.
Contact Jodi for more info. 406-225-3241

August 1, 2018, Choteau Library, 7:00 p.m.
Contact Dell for more info.  406-466-2052

August 2, 2018, Whitehall Library, 6:30 p.m.
Contact Jeannie for more info.  406-287-3763

August 3, 2018, Clancy Library, 6:00 p.m.
Contact Carli for more info.  406-933-5254

August 4, 2018, Helena Library, 1:00 p.m.
Contact Suzanne for more info.  406-447-1690

My slideshow presentations are generally 1 hour long, including time for questions and answers.

I will have books to sell and sign. Looking forward to the entire week of visiting and sharing my adventures.

Libby, Montana – June 15th, 2018

Montana's mountains had a soft velvety green blanket covering them.
Montana’s mountains had a soft velvety green blanket covering them.

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.

Only in the WEST, "Calf-A" clever.
Only in the WEST, “Calf-A”

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.


Granby, Colorado May 21st, 2018


As I said in an earlier posting, “I am inching my way home.”

Now in Kremmling, Colorado where Rosie and I will soon bid Adieu to each other.( She returns to West Virginia to teach nursing classes.)  We have spent one restful week at a cabin she once owned outside Granby, CO. She has the good fortune to continue using it when it’s not occupied. Northwestern Colorado is magnificent, snow covered mountain peaks and wide open vista. We did short rides every day, keeping the horses in shape and just relaxing after the busy winter including the France trip. Am now winding the year of travel up. My book,”Lady Long Rider” is in its final stages and will be out,  published by Far Country Press by the time I return to Trego, Montana. I will have signed copies available on the website.

One last stretch remains, Steamboat Springs to Green River Wyoming, then over to Montpelier, Idaho and back into Montana.   Three weeks, until then, Happy Trails.

Bella, Rosie's dog, resting inside her cool cabin.
Bella, Rosie’s dog, resting inside the rustic, cool cabin.
Rosie on Montana Spirit over looking Rocky Mountain Park.
Rosie on Montana Spirit over looking Rocky Mountain Park.
Me leading the horses down a VERY steep grade.
Me leading the horses down a VERY steep grade.

Laramie Wyoming, The Burns Residence – May 9th, 2018


Laramie, Wyoming

Cheyenne newspaper 1870, women voting

Wyoming, known as the “equality state,” played an important role in the suffrage movement. On December 10th, 1869 women were given the right to vote – some 50 years before the 19th amendment passed in 1920.

Western states led the nation in approving women’s suffrage, but some of them had rather unsavory motives. Though some men recognized the important role women played in frontier settlement, others voted for women’s suffrage only to bolster the strength of conservative voting blocks. In Wyoming, some men were also motivated by sheer loneliness–in 1869, the territory had over 6,000 adult males and only 1,000 females, and area men hoped women would be more likely to settle in the rugged and isolated country if they were granted the right to vote.

“According to a booklet published by the Laramie Plains Museum, “Laramie, Wyoming, Women Made World History,” the first Legislature for the new Wyoming Territory met in October 1869, they passed laws guaranteeing equal pay for male and female teachers and giving individual property rights to married woman.” by Eve Newman – Laramie Boomerang.

Laramie’s, Louisa Gardener Swain, a 70 year old Quaker woman became the first woman in the world to cast a ballot under laws giving women full equality to men on September 6th, 1870.

Martha Symons Boies became the first woman in the world appointed as a bailiff in Laramie in March 1870. In February 1870, three women were commissioned as justices of the peace in Wyoming, although only one, Esther Morris, was known to have actually served as a judge. She tried more than forty cases in the territory. She lost none on appeal and was widely regarded as a good judge, but wasn’t nominated for re-election when her term ended.

Elisa Stewart became the first woman subpoenaed to serve on a court jury. She was also Laramie’s first school teacher. The first women jurors began their service in March or April of 1870. In T. A. Larson’s A History of Wyoming, the author writes that male jurors stopped smoking and chewing tobacco once women began to serve alongside them. Men stopped gambling and drinking during their jury breaks.

It is a state rich in history but the role Wyoming played in the women’s suffrage movement can not be under estimated. We are nearing the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote. The more I think about the women who fought with single-minded determination against odds that stagger me I think, remember, remember these historical figures, don’t forget what they did for you.

Laramie, home of the University of Wyoming a beautiful old campus. I saw an old black and white photo of the campus in its infancy. There stood the historic limestone building “Old Main,” standing naked in 1886 like a new born baby all alone. No beautiful tree’s like now, no lovely green, no nothing but a barren landscape. Now 122 years later a proud, picturesque campus exists.


From Lewellen, Nebraska to Laramie,Wyoming

Two-hundred and thirty windy miles between Lewellen Nebraska and Laramie, Wyoming. Nine days of riding, three days held up in Pine Bluff ‘s rodeo grounds waiting out wet, stormy weather. Nebraska’s flat farm country now busy with million dollar tractors – seeding, spraying preparing the great plains soil has given way for Wyoming’s big, windy, audacious cattle country.

When I say, “No I do not travel with a support team,” I have to laugh. I had a team on this short run! Jeanie Grace, Barbara Burns, Rosie Rollin, Thelma Thompson and Deb Sullivan kept tabs on me,

What a support team I had the only one we are missing is Zelma Thompson. R to L Rosie, Barb, Jeannie and Deb
What a support team I had the only one we are missing is Zelma Thompson. R to L Rosie, Barb, Jeannie and Deb

checked up, made camping arrangements and route suggestions. Goodness ladies!!! I am now at the Hal and Barbara Burns residence north of Laramie, they are kindly hosting my stay. The Burns have been in the rodeo stock business for generations providing bucking horses and bulls for the rodeo circuit. The famous bucking bull, “Mr. T” came from Burn’s stock. Hal told me an interesting thing, He said anything western like rodeos and cowboy is a huge draw. The rodeos all across the United States are sell outs, packed audiences but… there are not enough contestants. Cowboy contestants came off ranches to compete. Ranches that work with “real cowboys” are in decline. “We just don’t have the cowboys like we once did” said Hal. Interesting,wonder what will happen?

Inclement weather and roads I planned on riding remain closed due to snow makes travel difficult. Nothing new when one is long riding. I’m inching my way back to Montana.

New set of Roger Robinson's horseshoes going on before leaving Lewellen.
New set of Roger Robinson’s horseshoes going on before leaving Lewellen.
Wind and open Space that's what this country is all about.
Wind and open Space that’s what this country is all about.
Pin BLuff "Our lady of Peace" statue
Pine BLuff, last stop in NE – “Our lady of Peace” statue.
An abandoned Quonset hut became my home for the night. So glad to have shelter from the wind.
An abandoned Quonset hut became my home for the night. So glad to have shelter from the wind.
Tea break just west of Horse Creek, Wyoming
Tea break just west of Horse Creek, Wyoming.
A barbed wire fence held my  Sunbody hat long enough for me to retrieve it.
A barbed wire fence held my Sunbody hat long enough for me to retrieve it.
Martindale's Western Store, Family owned Joan Marindale showing off Sunbody Hats
Martindale Western Store.  Family owned, Joan Martindale showing off the Sunbody Hat I wear and her store carries.