Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What do I say

I'm sitting here in Beluga, trying to think of what to say about our recent encounter with a real live frontier woman.   A woman with a wanderlust to rival the most devout of us rv'rs.   She travels alone, well not completely alone.    She travels without a human companion or cell phone.   She travels slowly, carefully, taking in every small detail as she passes by.   She pays attention to every thing, her penetrating blue eyes see all.    She meets new people in ways we never will, leans occasionally on their kindness, their curiosity, accepts their hospitality and changes their view of this country, what it is to be a woman, a human being and sometimes even their lives.

She has a ballet dancer's body and posture, an open friendly face with an always ready smile,  and a gaze that looks right into your center.   Her hands are large and competent, her love of life evident in every move she makes.  

Her name is Bernice Ende and she calls herself a Lady Long Rider.   This long trip she will be on the road for 2 l/2 years and will cover 8000 miles before she returns to her cabin in northwest Montana.     Her traveling companions are Essie Pearl, a 13 year old Norwegian Fjord pony and 5 year old Spirit, a Norwegian Fjord Pony/Percheron cross.   Their ample bodies, strong feet and steady temperaments make the trip possible.    She treats them with utmost care, their comfort before hers, always.    

I won't presume to tell her story, please go to her website, if you want to really know who she is and what she does.

She was passing through Geneseo on her way to Rochester to see Susan B. Anthony's home.  Cindy P was outside when Bernice and the girls rode by and couldn't let her pass without offering a bit of shade and perhaps a little pasture rest for the horses.    It turned into a two day visit and we were lucky enough to have happy hour and dinner with them all on Saturday.     Bernice took Cindy's invitation and set up her tent in the back yard next to the girls temporary pasture.    She's one cool lady with so many stories to tell.  

all the comforts of home

Bernice introducing me to Spirit

she covers them with sheets to keep the biting flies away

in the background, Cindy's mini horses wonder where these newcomers came from

Spirit's dorsal stripe (typical marking on Norwegian Fjord ponies).
It runs from between her ears all the way down to the tip of her tail

the girls enjoy a mutual grooming session

Monday morning we went back down to watch her pack up and load the horses for the next part of her journey.    After seeing the Susan B. Anthony House, she'll head east to Seneca Falls and the home of the National Women's Hall of Fame and the Women's Rights National Historic Park.   After that she wants to ride along the Atlantic Ocean and will perhaps winter somewhere in Maine.  Her return trip will take her the entire length of Canada.    She doesn't plan far ahead, she thrives on the unexpected.

a place for everything - everything in its place

Essie Perl has plenty of padding between her and Bernice's saddle

Spirit dons her pack saddle

Bernice gets ready to lift those big saddle bags and secure them to Spirit's pack saddle

a girls got to have a little bling....

Bernice, Essie Pearl and Cindy P - Walter looks on

out the driveway they go

up the hill on Reservoir Road

a last minute adjustment for Spirit

happy trails Bernice.....I hope we'll cross paths again someday

I wonder where they are tonight.....


  1. What a remarkable woman, experiencing the true fullness of life with all of its uncertainties. So few people can hold that determination and drive the way Bernice does. May her travels be safe and rewarding.

  2. Wow that is one adventurous and brave woman! I wish her all the best in her adventures with her two companions. Truly remarkable.

  3. Certainly changes one's perspective doesn't she? Her story is, and will be, exciting and romantic and challenging and difficult. The sights she sees at her pace will be so different from those I view from the highway at 55+ mph. I will see her crossing paths with only generous souls like Cindy P and you, safe paths for the ponies, and a plethora of beautiful experiences. Thanks for sharing your photos and her journey.

  4. That is most definitely one brave woman!! I thought traveling alone with a trailer was scary! But how neat that you got to meet her and spend time talking with Bernice and her traveling companions. I can tell how much you enjoyed being around the horses, Sue:) You captured some great photos.

    As you can see, we are a little behind in our technology world. Boy, Canada just doesn't have the WiFi we are use to in the US.

  5. What an amazing encounter and a beautifully written description of Bernice and her lifestyle. One of my favorite parts is the serendipity of meeting her. It says a lot about Cindy that she offered her and the horses place to rest and it turned into this great opportunity for you to meet her as well. I definitely want to check out her website and learn more about her.