Long rider Bernice Ende traveled to Terry from Fallon last week along the frontage road. She is on the last leg of her 6,000-mile journey and hopes to be back home in Trego Mont.
By Kay Braddock
With only about 500 miles left on her 6,000-mile journey, long rider Bernice Ende rode into Terry Thursday morning after a night’s stay in the Fallon Park.
Ende, a Minnesota native, who now calls Trego, Mont. home, has been journeying on long rides since 2005. She has accumulated a total of almost 16,000 miles since that time.
“I certainly did not think I was going to ride 6 years and 16,000 miles,” Ende told a gathering of about 30 people at the Prairie Community Center. “I hope I’ve got another five years left in me,” she added smiling.
Her previous rides include a 2,000-mile trek in 2005, a 5,000-mile journey in 2006-07 and 3,000 miles in 2008.
Ende says her current journey began when she left Kalispell in March of last year with two feet of snow on the ground, heading towards Portland, Oregon to visit three elderly ladies. Arriving in June, nearly 800 miles later, she then turned around and headed towards Austin, Texas. From there she rode to Minnesota. She plans to winter with friends near Rosebud and return home in the spring of 2011.
Along the way she has visited family and friends, slept in ditches, shacks and abandoned houses and experienced what she likes to refer to as the “legendary romantic image of the horse and rider.”
“It embodies the most important thing that we have in our United States, and that is freedom,” Ende said.
She believes she serves as a reminder of how people once lived and traveled, a reminder to slow down and that 70 miles once meant not an hour’s drive, but rather a three-day journey.
“And I remind the children that I speak to in many, many schools that we didn’t always have telephones and computers and GPS,” Ende said.
Riding an average of about 25 miles a day, she and her two horses and a dog, take a three-day break every five days and a three week break every three months.
The former ballet teacher, who calls herself an advocate for small town life and traditions, says her journeys have also provided her with reminders.
“I have met such goodness and kindness from the people of our country,” Ende said.