Long Rider Bernice Ende
Long rider Bernice Ende first began traveling around the west on thousand mile trips with her horses and dog, Claire, back in 2005. So many miles in that saddle through Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Minnesota, Texas, Colorado and more across the Rockies and along the Pacific. Some winters she stayed in eastern Montana and other years she came back to the Tobacco Valley to winter. Then in April 2014, Bernice left Eureka with two Fjord horses on a trip that would take her to the Atlantic Ocean and back. This trip would take her at least two years and she knew when she set out that it would be her biggest adventure yet. She remarked that, "In my mind crossing east of the Mississippi seemed like an intimidating far off land, deep water, another planet. I had enough money to reach the Atlantic coast but I had no idea how I would get back. It took far more trust in myself and faith in others than any previous ride".
Bernice made it to the coast of Maine by late fall of 2014 and then before winter set in that year, she established a winter camp in Fort Edward, NY. Throughout her time in that region, she not only gave numerous public talks, but she was able to visit historical sites significant in the women's suffrage movement. Because of the distances, Bernice saw this ride as a personal challenge, but it was also a celebration of women's rights. In 1914, Montana gave women the right to vote so this ride marked the 100th anniversary. On her trip across county, Bernice carried materials from the Montana Historical Society that she distributed. And she stopped at sights that are famous in the national women's movement such as Seneca Falls and the homesteads of Elisabeth Cady Stanton, Mathilda Josylen Gage and Susan B. Anthony. Bernice garnered new friends, new knowledge and a better understanding of the US on her ride across country and her winter in upstate New York. Then in April 2015, she began her return trip. Although her original goal was to make it to the Pacific by that autumn, the journey provided too arduous. She rode as far as Chewelah, WA and then returned to Eureka for the winter. This coming spring she will complete the journey to the Pacific which is a mighty accomplishment for this woman riding a horse.
To learn more about Bernice's adventure, attend her talk on January 29th at the Glacier Bank community room starting at 6:30pm. You can also visit her website at endeofthetrail.com
About the Author: Rita Collins. I am a believer in the power of community and for now I call the Tobacco Valley home. I have lived in nine states and three counties and this community here amazes me - how people reach out to neighbors and even travelers. I've never lived in a place that demonstrates people caring for each other so well. And I've never lived in a place that has such a high percentage of talented musicians and artists. I work with the the Sunburst Community Service Foundation, a nonprofit that began in Eureka twenty years ago and now serves numerous communities in western Montana. And I just started a new business, St. Rita's Amazing Traveling Bookstore and Textual Apothecary. I never could have imagined life being this exciting in my sixth decade.