It does seem odd traveling without Claire sharing each and every morsel with me. But she and Hart have remained home and are safe, content, in loving hands.
APRIL 8TH TO MAY 8TH. Approximately 450 miles. Wind, the eastern half of Montana is all about wind. Belligerent, pushy wind. The kind of wind which drove early pioneer women mad. The kind of wind that drys clothes in 5 min. – if you can keep clothes on a line. The kind of wind you want to ride in, only if it’s at your back. Essie and Spirit clipped out 30 mile days, weather was cool, water in the ditches, plenty of grass, packed light.
Calving time for ranchers. Wheat and dry land crop farmers are behind from inclement weather. Spring wheat erupts from the earth with promise. I love this country, calming to the eye.
Much of the ride from East Glacier to Forsyth was a route I followed in 2006. I rode Honor with Claire at my side. Not only was it a reflective stretch for me, but also an opportunity to say thank you to many people who extended help in one way or another. The ride in 2006, a 5000 mile ride was the most difficult journey I’ve yet to make. A novice long rider and a 8 year old Thoroughbred mare who moved with jitters for 1000 of miles, it was amazing I made it. To cross this wide open spacious country once again after 9 years of traversing the United States and Canada, reminded me of how far I had come as a long rider. I met several people who helped Claire, Honor and I in 2006, tears, gratitude and smiles ensued.
We rode into Forsyth, Montana on April 30th. Long stop, rest,visited with friends, resupplied, re-shod horses, look ahead. Thank you to Vicki Fink, Rosebud Fair manager, she moved me inside when the weather took a turn sending sleet, strong winds from the NW bringing the horses and myself inside. Very gracious of her. We all leave rested, the horses are growing restless. The length and breath of this 8000 mile ride has set in. We have a long way to go and only by staying focused, determined and careful will me make it. The next stop will not be until Minnesota, I’ll be crossing into the land of 10,000 lakes in one month.
Thank you, each and every one of you who have contributed this far.
Happy Trails Bernice Ende
OutFitters Supply has the honors of sending me off. I camped behind the store here in Columbia Falls last night. Rain and snow showers all weekend. In the morning Russ Barnett, owner of OFS will haul Essie Pearl, Montana Spirit and I to East Glacier onto Blackfeet Tribal Land. With permission and permit to cross the eastern front of Montana’s Rocky Mountains I begin my journey. This is not the first time Russ has hauled me across Marias Pass, now buried in several feet of snow. Much to dangerous to attempt riding at this time of year. In 2006 Russ hauled Claire Dog, Honor and I to the same drop off point where I began a 5000 mile odyssey. In retrospect I can’t imagine how I even thought I could do it with just one horse. Russ must have wondered if he was dropping me off to my demise. Only my second year out and far from a seasoned long rider, I rode hard long days or walked, attached to Honor and Claire with lead ropes. Nine years and 20,000 miles later I am setting out on an ambitious 8000 mile ride. This time with two seasoned Fjord mares and myself, a seasoned long rider with still much to learn. A seasoned long rider that loves long riding more now than ever before.
A ride of this magnitude must be broken into small bits and chewed slowly. “There comes a time,” said my dear friend Mel Evans “when you must let the journey carry you, let go and let it take you.” that was in 2005 on my first ride. Here I am remembering those very same words. Remembering I must shed the unnecessary. Apply attentiveness, caution and skill. The horses health and well being come first, stay focused, fill the day with appreciation, learn to trust the unknown.
Thank you to the many last minute donations from community members in Eureka, Trego and Fortine. Why they support this madness I do not know, but they do.
I’d never have gotten “outta town” with-out the help of Theodora’s Garden (see The Store page) who provided a platform to assemble the ride.
My sponsors, Tuckers Saddle Co. and OutFitters Supply ( see Sponsorship page)gave generously as have all the sponsors who support my rides with products or services.
To those of you following the rides and who send encouraging, kind words..I have said it many times before and I will say it again,
“To each and everyone whose path I cross,
a hearty “thank you” for the encouragement,
the interest and the support. I could not have
done it without you.”
Happy Trails, Bernice Ende
I am nearly ready to leave, hope to haul out on Thursday. Weather here in the Northwest corner of Montana is wet and windy. I’ll be hauling over to East Glacier to begin my ride. Horses are fat, sassy, long haired and are as willing to go as I am.