In downtown Truth or Consequences Sierra County New Mexico I ran into a full timing friend I hadn't seen in two years. We excitedly ran through some options for getting together. It's a bit of a long story but the friend was able to quickly set up a book tour stop for an author and Long Rider, Bernice Ende.
This friend can also be credited for the photos here - thank you Deirdre! Grapes Gallery was kind enough to put the event together and voila, plans were made.
If you are googling "Long Rider" right now, don't feel all alone. As I learned more about the concept of long riding, it became clear to me that there were a lot of similarities with the thru-hiking that Patrick has been undertaking. But instead of being alone you travel with horses and, in Bernice's case, a dog!
Bernice describes a rural MInnesota upbringing that was blessed with people who were artists, intellectuals, and the activists of their time. Her adult life took her west, all the way to the Pacific coast of the state of Washington. I could visualize her living in Long Beach as we had been able to visit this charming town over the summer. There were moves and life changes, love and loss. Bernice Ende was teaching ballet and dance in Montana, combining innovation with classical training. How did she end up on horses covering tens of thousands of miles?
"Lady Long Rider" is an amazing story that blazes right onto the trail with Bernice and a Tennessee Walking Horse. Bernice is currently partnered with Fjord horses and states she would never have another horse. The are small sturdy Norwegians. They have bangs. They also have the kind of steady personality that remains friendly and calm with the crowds they sometimes attract.
Throughout the evening we learned amazing details about life on the trail. From foraging for food to blacksmithery the author outlines the ups and downs of her extensive travels. Bernice also offers messages of hope for those who despair for the state of humanity by reassuring us that kindness and community is alive and well. "Lady Long Rider" allows us to be voyeurs on Bernice Ende's journeys.