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Lady Long Rider: Bernice Ende By Stephanie Kwok, Photos courtesy of Dagmar Funk

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n a recent blog entry about her first long-distance trek into Canada, Bernice Ende writes, “I am having probably the best ride I have ever had.” Coming from a woman who has ridden over 17,000 miles across the vast and varied landscape of the United States since 2005, that is quite the compliment! Each year, Bernice embarks on a long ride - a very long ride. The distances she covers in each ride have ranged from 2000 miles to 6000 miles, with the exception of her “vacation” ride in summer of 2011, which was “only” 600 miles. She has ridden horses all her life, having been raised on a dairy farm in Montana, but only began “long riding” when she retired in 2003. The independence and adventure of the open road appeals to her; she travels alone with her horses (a Paint gelding named Hart and two Norwegian Fjord mares, Montana Spirit and Essie-Pearl, who carry her supplies) and her dog, Claire, who rides in a basket. Bernice began her 2012 Canadian Ride in April. She travelled a 2000-mile route that took her north of her winter camp in Montana, through Saskatchewan as far north as Prince Albert, then west to Alberta. She crossed into Alberta in midJune, marvelling at the “Special Area” of the

eastern part of the province (“like a true Garden of Eden”), then headed west as far as Fernie, BC, before turning south and heading home along the eastern slopes of the Rockies. Her planned route changed many times during her trip, as she heeded advice from residents along the way about a better path. Some of her stops during her long ride were: Mankota, SK Swift Current, SK Kindersley, SK Canadian Grasslands National Park, SK Kerrobert, SK Esther, AB Youngstown, AB Sheerness, AB Huxley, AB Three Hills, AB Water Valley, AB Bragg Creek, AB Fernie, BC Bernice will tell you that she cannot do her rides without the generosity of the people she meets along the way. Many of the communities she visits in her travels are very remote, yet at every bend in the

Photo from Bernice’s Blog

road, she encounters wonderful people curious, kind and helpful folk - who offer to share a meal, or provide a spot to camp, or ask to hear stories, or give shelter from foul weather. “Canada is delightful and the people are friendly, 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.”

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