Water Valley, Alberta —august 6th, 2012

Greetings to all that follow the ride, I apologize for the long over due update. I am currently  at the home of Tom Woolings who is graciously helping me thur this part of the country, more traffic more to consider when traveling this close to a large city, Calgary is only 60 miles east of here. I have a lovely campsite on the Little Red Deer River and will be heading out on Wednesday the 8th traveling south along the foot hills of the Canadian Rockies, Kananskis country… should be a beautiful ride.
I am having probably the best ride I have ever had. Canada is delightful and the people are frinedly, gracious and very interested in the ride. And although I have not been able to give many talks I have been treated with such kindness that it has me already thinking of where I shall ride next in Canada
To recap the past month: I left Sheerness and rode east thinking I was going to stay in the Special Area for another month but the mosquito’s were horrendous. I met up with a dear friend Jana Pekaar who had drove all the way from Seattle to meet up with and to bring out supplies. Jana has come out to meet me on every single ride I have been on and usually has her two children with her but they are older now and have better things to do than to run out with Mom to visit. I am glad they were not with her as the mosquito’s drove us nearly mad it was the worst of all situations. Jana fled with her two dogs and I held on for a few more days. Clifford Campbell finally came to my rescue and hauled us back to his place that I had just ridden from. I stayed there at Clifford’s Ranch for a few more days before heading  west for the mountains for higher ground. Rode thur the Handhills which were beautiful then up to Huxley where I stayed with friends of Clifford’s for nearly a week as the temperature had risen and it was much to hot to be riding. From Huxley I rode south to Three Hills then west to Water Valley where I am now staying for 3 days. I must replace some horseshoes and clean tack, resupply food and take a more serious look at the next 200 miles. I will be heading down the Forest Trunk Road that takes me south to Pincher Creek will have to decide which border crossing to take. I am not exactly sure how many miles we have come perhaps 1200, perhaps more. But it has been a wonderful ride. The horses are doing fine and Claire is of course always the star of the show ready and willing to have her photo taken by those that are curious enough to visit with us.
Many thanks to all of you that have helped us along our travels. I simply can not tell you how much I have enjoyed this Canadian ride. Happy Trails until next time.
Bernice Ende, lady long rider

Sheerness, Alberta July 4th, 2012

The weather wants only to be wet and wild. Alberta’s paririe is glorious, smiles on ranchers and farmers.  1 week lay  over hosted by Clifford Campbell. Horses are well rested, Claire like in Youngstown was welcomed into the house and made her way to the couch and had Clifford feeding her and then she was doing tricks for him and ofcourse she talks and talks and talks, you’d think she had something to say.Hanna celebrates its 100th birthday this year, another busy town, seems to be prosperiing. We head  out  friday heading south by south east for the Cypress Hills… happy trails Bernice Ende

Youngstown, Alberta, June 26th, 2012

Oh Canada, Oh  Canada
I have been told enough times that I am riding  a  once in a lifetime spring and summer with its spectacular luscious green and belly deep grasses. The rains have turned the “Special Area” of Alberta into paradise.  I am having one of the finest rides I have ever had. Canadians are delightful people and this is farming and ranching country people of my background as a Minnesota dairy farm girl.
Recap: June 20th overnight-ed in Esther, AB. at the home of Bill and Madge Dalton, The Dalton Gang! a friendly bunch, they own the town. Has the oldest Grain elevator still standing in Alberta. Had dinner with the branding crew at the local town hall.  Watched yet another  community of people all wearing smiles and enjoying one another, who care deeply about one another and their families and friends that make up this community that is isolated and really very remote.  Rode into Sedalia . Now Sedalia, I must say this town knocked me off my socks…. Sedalia Co-op General Mercantile was a store to be proud of.  First of all the store is located in the middle of no-where and yet here you can come as someone in the community and get just about anything!! The fresh produce is brought in weekly, there was a huge variety of goods, remarkable.The store was like stepping back 50 years with the original hardwood floors and the  ceiling is a vintage texture tin tile  from the 1920’s when the building was first built. The store became a co-op in 1945 I believe that is what Eddie Thorton said, He and his wife Heather manage the store. Eddies father managed the store before them.  Here a community has said forget Wal-Mart we want our store here and have made it happen, With over 200 members the store is an example of a community pooling together to make a positive change in their lives. They also had a post office that was housed in a 100 year old house and so creatively done up. Post mistress Kathy said she had  40 boxes and was open M. W. F. I was camped right between the post office and the store and the community hall  had been opened so I had a toilet facility. Many folks bearing smiles and handshakes stopped by to wish me safe travels
Storms and rains have scattered my days for nearly a month. Made fresh water-mint tea. Coyotes yip and call to one another evenings are filled with horrendous mosquito’s but the horses are   covered in nets and fly shields and are comfortable. The horizon is flat in all directions. I am up early to ride the sunrises. The summer heat is now increasing. Gave a talk at the local school, first thru the 9th grades were finishing up their year, I told them that they to  were on a long ride and that was SCHOOL!
Have spent last night at the Palmer residence, Murry and Mavis. Mavis retired today after 35 plus years of teaching school.  Another teacher who devoted many many years to the teaching of other children–again, my hat is off to you Mavis. I will ride out tomorrow morning as rains have been on and off all day. Hart, Essie and Spirit are all doing well we are not traveling fast and taking long breaks, AND  there is  grass and water everywhere! Claire  remains the star of the show and really, no one wants to talk to me, it is Claire they want to see and talk to…. heading for Sheerness, Alberta in the morning, 3 day ride..
Alberta the wild rose province…. spectacular.. many thanks Happy Trails
Bernice Ende

Kerrobert, Saskatchewan

A hearty thank you to the folks in Kerrobert, the rains have held me in place. Then a visit from a young man in search of long riding knowledge, for his ambitious, Canada to Brazil ride he begins this summer. Busy town, oil fields are making things hop around here. Have been at the lovely Bakery/Cafe here on main street. Owned by a young couple, on their own long ride of running the ancient business of and long held tradition of….. baking the loaves. The little cafe with its delicious scent gave me a bright spot to sit in..
Many thanks to all of that offered hospitality, smiles and handshakes.
Bernice Ende

Update from Emily

Hello! Apologies for the delay in getting these up here! Below are a number of photos from my leg of the journey…
Grasslands National Park


The Canadian Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan, was an incredible part of the trip. It was stunning landscape. Land as far as the eye could see, hints of badlands and interesting rocks, and not a person in sight. We had one encounter with quicksand, which was interesting to say the least…

We crossed over the divide in Saskatchewan, which was a stunning view. Like Montana in many ways, southern Saskatchewan is a vast and open landscape, fertile with speckles of communities, families, culture, and history throughout.

On a hot day there was nothing better to camp next to a reservoir to wash up and wash clothes in. Heart was having a rough time with all of the bugs on the way into the campsite, but once we settled in the bugs subsided and the horses had plenty to eat. I was amazed at all of the stunning campsites we encountered…

Montana Spirit got into some burrs while she was roaming around the rodeo grounds in Mankato, and Bernice and I loved how her new-found hair style fit her personality quite well. Part animalistic and primal caveman mixed with a rebellious teenage punk.

The Knox family was an incredible clan. They let us stay on their land, fed us some delicious chili for dinner and a breakfast feast. But above all, they resemble the rural generosity, human curiosity, and the instant friendships that long riding tends to fortunately attract. I now understand more deeply what Bernice feels when she says that she cannot do her rides without the generosity of the people she meets along the way. That is the truth. A large heartfelt thank you to the Knox family and all of the other individuals and families who assisted us along the way!

We were riding along when Josh from Ponteix Hutterite Colony stopped to see what we were doing. He invited us to stop by the Colony when we were able. We stopped in to be greeted by many curious and welcoming people. The women fed us a delicious meal of duck, soup, and wonderful canned pears. They gave us a tour of the colony, which was absolutely fascinating! I had never been to a Hutterite Colony, and was astonished at how efficient, organized, clean, and professional they ran all aspects of the colony; from food production to washing clothes. We were truly appreciative that they took the time (especially on a religious day) to not only give us a tour, but even meet some of the elders and learn about their culture. They sent us away with a huge package of fresh sausage, bread, and other delicious homemade treats.

Ponteix was a lovely community, filled with curious and generous folks. Ponteix is historically a Francophone community with an excellent heritage center which is filled with cultural history to archeological facts and items. It rained quite a bit but we had an excellent camping spot by the river.
All of the communities we stayed in and passed through are facing very similar challenges; decreasing populations, a decrease in youth and increase in the aging population, larger and larger farms and international corporate farming and ranching – small family farms and ranches are disappearing fast, and there is the inner turmoil in many regarding the need for local jobs but a dissatisfaction with the effects of the oil and gas industry in the region. Interesting stuff especially coming from a planning background… but definitely some more focus needs to be had in many western rural communities…

Cafe Central as a lovely coffee shop and eatery (with excellent crepes, if you are ever in town!). They had wonderful owners and fast speed wifi which was very appreciated!

The wonderful Barb and Ed! I was walking to the rodeo grounds in Swift Current to meet up with Bernice, and this incredible couple stopped to see if I needed anything. Never have I met two people with such love and generosity to give. Bernice got caught in the rain, so Barb and Ed let me stay at their place, took me out to dinner, and we shared many stories and laughs. This is an example of how wonderful friendships can strike after only minutes of meeting each other. Words cannot express enough my appreciation for these two incredible human beings.

This was the last of our shared camps, and it was in a corral in the Swift Current Fairgrounds. Bernice said that this was one of the top three fairgrounds she has ever stayed at. We were sheltered from days of rain and had a chance to unpack and repack, keep the horses warm and fed, and enjoy a delicious last dinner. The last photo is one of her chowing down on some minerals and treats, but primarily a photo to highlight just one of the many sponsors. I now have a better understanding of not only the necessity of the generosity of strangers for Bernice to do her rides, but the necessity of the sponsors. From the saddles to the packs, the quality of all of Bernice’s sponsored equipment and supplies are excellent, and must be so in order to maintain given the breadth at which Bernice travels. So lastly, one  final thank you to the sponsors and all of the generous people and new friendships I have made along the ride. And a thank you again to Bernice for opening up her doors to me for a memorable and unique experience!