Lady Long Rider Bernice Ende wrapped up her 8,000 mile trek two weeks ago, finishing her journey with a welcome party in Chewelah. It was her third time stopping in the eastern Washington town. The Trigo, Montana native is now home for a foreseeable amount of time for the first time in 12 years.
“It was fantastic coming back to Chewelah,” Ende said. “I’ve never had a welcome party before.”
Set up across from the Gentle Dentistry office, Ende was able to let her two horses Essie Pearl and Montana Spirit rest. The rider was last in Chewelah on April 30 but back then she still had to make the trek from Chewelah to Bellingham and back again.
Ende braved perhaps the most challenging natural obstacle in the state of Washington – traffic – as she went down Highway 20 with her two horses.
“It was a nightmare,” Ende said. “Instead of doing 30 miles a day, you’re doing 15 because you have to slow down and be careful with the horses. I marvel at their steadfastness though, those horses are standing their quietly as semis that I can reach out and touch drive by.”
Ende got up at 4:30 a.m. every morning to ride, or more likely the horses woke her up at 4:30. When she was done with a particularly challenging part of the ride, she said she stopped and ended up sleeping for three days because she was so exhausted.
Returning means her 8,000 mile trip is over and now she’ll spend a few months at home before taking her horses out again.
“I said I wouldn’t do a long trip again when I finished my 5,000-mile trip, then I ended up going on an 8,000 mile trip,” Ende laughs.
The plans are still piling up for the Montana rider. She has an east coast trip planned so she can speak at Harvard and explore New England. The only place she hasn’t been is the deep Southeast. She also has plans to train a new horse but first she has to take care of a little business at home and catch up on all the mail piling up.
“I know I’ll get back out there,” she said. “I’m always moving forward, you can’t stay still to long otherwise you’re in the doldrums. You’ve got to catch another wind”
Ende said she’s extremely thankful of the Chewelah community and it has become one of her favorite stopping spots.
For more info on Lady Long Rider, you can go to www.endofthetrail.com.
By Brandon Hansen/The Independent Staff