Bernice Ende has traveled more than 20,000 miles across North America on the back of a horse, earning her the title of Lady Long Rider.
The Minnesota native has been wandering the plains from Montana to New Mexico and back again since 2005. She’s gone on adventures as short as 600 miles and as long as 6,000, but this time, she’s taking on a much bigger challenge.
Lady Long Rider is now in the midst of an 8,000-mile trek that’ll keep her on the road for two and a half years, traveling from coast to coast twice through the United states and Canada. But Bernice says it’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey.
“I love the nomadic life, I love the challenges of it. I mean its not easy, there’s no easy, there’s never, its just not about easy. But its so interesting. Its just like life, you’re just chewing on it all the time. Its like slam dam, now we got hail, now we got bugs, okay now where am I going to sleep, now what am I going to eat, what am I going to drink, its like that all the time. Life is right there all the time and I love that,” she said.
But not living in a house definitely has its down sides. Bernice is almost always at the mercy of Mother Nature and is often far removed from normal and needed services like a veterinarian or grocery store. Still, she’s found ways to deal with what most would consider impassable obstacles.
“I’m not interested in going out there and being a mountain woman, I’m not. I enjoy the sophistication of life. I enjoy meeting people. I want to be comfortable, clean up at night, read, write, stretch, and I’ve found a way to do it by evolving my campsite into something that’s nice, and it’s pretty, and I can cook and I’m warm, and I can weather most all storms,” Bernice added.
As the only person in the world to complete multiple journeys spanning thousands of miles on horseback, the difficulties and discomfort must be worth it.
“You know, once you let go of anything, it’s like magic starts to happen, and it’s like, ‘where’d that come from? How’d that happen?’ And you start to wonder…’huh?’,” she said. “And it just happens like that all the time.”