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Back Country riders made it from Norco to Bishop!
Follow their journey…

After months of planning—and training—Mike Williams and Rebekah Wan completed a 320-plus mile trek from Norco to Bishop. A foursome of Mike, Rebekah, Linda Wesch and Carol Kelly left SoCal Equine Hospital on Sixth Street at 8:02 a.m., Friday, May 3, and Mike and Rebekah reached Bishop Wednesday, May 22.


Day 20:  Made it!…we arrived in Bishop!

Wednesday, May 22
20.2 miles / 5 hours, 21 minutes / 482 ft. / 3.8 mph

We made it! 320-plus miles in 19 days through mountain ranges, desert, flood plains, aqueducts, streams, train tracks, trestles, wind, rain, heat … and patience. All the horses are showing the wear-and-tear, as are the riders, but they all made it! Mike and Rebekah are ready for some good R&R —  no more midnight waterings, 4 a.m. feedings, 7-8 a.m. starts in the saddle, and riding from dawn to dusk. The horses are ready to relax, heal up from some minor scrapes and soreness. After 320-plus miles, Mike has lost weight, Rebekah is already talking about another ride, and the horses all look healthy. They have kept their weight and look stoic, and the spouses are ready for their loved ones to be home.

Upon their arrival in Bishop, Mike and Rebekah were greeted by Backcountry Horsemen of California members Alan Sanderson, the Moslers, and Terry Jorgenson. What a day! Here’s the final leg of the journey: http://bit.ly/190522-Day20

Mike Williams and Cowboy look good at the end of the 320-mile trail

Day 19: It’s the homestretch

Tuesday, May 21
14.5 miles / 3 hours, 55 minutes / 446 ft. / 3.7 mph

We trailered out to Taboose to pick up the trail Mike and Rebekah left yesterday. All four horses are with them.  http://bit.ly/190521-Day19

Mike and Rebekah near Independence

Day 18: Going in circles!

Monday, May 20
21.8 miles / 5 hours, 57 minutes / 312 feet / 3.7 mph

Today’s ride took Mike and Rebekah to Taboose where they were picked up and taken back to Independence to spend one more night. Only took two of the four horses today and left two in camp to have a break from yesterday. Land-locked on several occasions, we had to go in what seemed like circles! You can follow the crazy route here:  http://bit.ly/190520-Day18

Just a couple days away after Day 18.

Day 17: An extremely HARD ride

Sunday, May 19
26.9 miles / 8 hours, 18 minutes / 1,234 ft. / 3.2 mph

Today’s ride was extremely hard. Between the wind, locked gates, inaccessibility because of floods and washouts, and again wind, it became a hard day for horses, riders, and our ground crew. We had over 50-mph gusts and were told that some gusts exceeded 70 mph. We were all exhausted when we arrived in Lone Pine. The longest day yet. Tomorrow will bring us a shorter day — 17 miles and three days away from our final destination. Follow our challenging day here: http://bit.ly/190519-Day17

Day 17…the longest, windiest day of the trip.

Days 15-16: Let’s give horses a break

Friday, May 17

Time for a layover and let the horses have a break, get laundry done and have some down time. Sigrid came up and made our meals and then we all enjoyed a movie (The Man From Snowy River) and popcorn along with some liquid refreshments.

Saturday, May 18

Another layover day to relax. Another movie (“Return to Snowy River”). Sigrid made tri-tip today with baked potatoes and beans. No one can say we didn’t eat right on this trip. Some shopping done earlier this morning to buy the rest of the food supplies for our last week.

 


Day 14: Slight change of route today

Thursday, May 16
26.3 miles / 7 hours, 57 minutes / 1,644 ft. / 3.3 mph

Last night was a cold windy night. Rain in the forecast and 50 mph gusts. Mike and Rebekah have decided not to trailblaze today and use the DWP access road to take them into Lone Pine.  Follow the day here:  http://bit.ly/190516-Day14


Day 13: Steak & Eggs

Wednesday, May 15
21.4 miles / 6 hours, 22 minutes / 801 ft. / 3.4 mph

Riding to Olancha tonight. Breakfast this morning consisted of steak and eggs. Only the best for our loved ones. Mike, Rebekah and the horses had to go through a boulder field and had to rock hop for several miles. Horses were quite tired after their day. They rode a little over 21 miles.
Relive the day here: http://bit.ly/190515-Day13


Day 12: Sharing the trail with sheep

Tuesday, May 14
17.4 miles / 5 hours, 13 minutes / 1762 ft. / 3.3 mph

Riding toward Lonepine today. Staying in Coso Junction tonight. Shorter day than normal—only 17 miles. Mike, Rebekah and their horses Cowboy, Razor, Jack and Fancy had to ride among the sheep that were on the DWP trail.
Relive the day here: http://bit.ly/190513-Day12


Day 11: Today was a HOT one!

Monday, May 13
16.8 miles / 4 hours, 52 minutes / 384 ft. / 3.5 mph

Extremely hot day riding through the desert. Over 90°. Had to stop several times to allow the horses to rest. Water was limited. Staged at 9-mile. Heavy wind. Dale Crawford joined the team today to provide ground support for the next several days.
Relive the day here: http://bit.ly/190513-Day11


Day 10: Time to rest… and add horses

Sunday, May 12

Day off for the horses in Inyokern, to re-up on supplies and do laundry. Sigrid arrived with a second horse for Mike. Both Mike and Rebekah are ponying a second horse so they can switch off every few days. All four horses are now on the journey.


Day 9: Happy Birthday, Mike!

Saturday, May 11
24.7 miles / 6 hours, 55 minutes / 922 ft. / 3.6 mph

Long day in the saddle but it was beautiful. That evening Misha surprised Mike with a homemade birthday cake. 58 candles, no fire permit needed. Relive the day here: http://bit.ly/190511-Day9


Day 8: Rest day following a night of heavy rain

Friday, May 10

Rained like crazy last night. Everything got wet. The group decided to take today off and ride tomorrow instead. Misha, Rebekah’s daughter came out to help this morning with the trailer and moved horses to Ridgecrest for the day and overnight so they would be under cover instead of in the open desert. Today was the last day that Carol and Linda are riding with Mike and Rebekah. Tomorrow it becomes a two-person ride unless others decide to join. Pete also leaves as ground crew support and Misha and Nolan begin the chore of keeping everything in order.

Just 158 miles to Bishop!

Day 7: Halfway to Bishop! Trek continues…

Thursday, May 9
25.3 miles / 6 hours, 37 minutes / 1,270 ft. / 3.8 mph

After a week’s worth of riding, the halfway point has been reached! Relive the day here: http://bit.ly/190509-Day7


Day 6: Making progress along Highway 395

Wednesday, May 8
23.8 miles / 6 hours, 20 minutes / 692 ft. / 3.8 mph

Today, the group traveled about 300 yards off of west side of Highway 395, finishing two miles north of Kramer Junction. According to Mike, the day was uneventful. The day got warm, but they had two water stops. They crossed the 58 behind the truck stop which turned out to be pretty easy. Everything worked in their favor! Relive their day with this link: http://bit.ly/190508-Day6


Day 5: After a windy, damp start…sunshine

Tuesday, May 7
24.8 miles / 6 hours, 31 minutes / 220 ft. / 3.8 mph

Horses and riders took a one-day break on a Day 4 layover in Phelan, and it also marked the first day of cold wind and rain. Day 5 started with Mike and the group in thick fog—everything was damp. They rode through heavy wind which made for a long ride, but eventually it warmed up. They stayed on trail until they got north of Adelanto and then cut across the desert to their overnight destination. Relive their day on the link!: http://bit.ly/190507-Day5


Sunday, May 5

Day 3: Through the Cajon Pass

Sunday, May 5
21.8 miles / 6 hrs, 11 mins / 2,789 ft. / 3.5 mph

The group traveled along Highway 66 through Cajon Pass to Phelan. Water stop for the horses and lunch stop for the riders along the PCT at the 138. 21.8 miles / 6 hours, 11 minutes / 2,789 ft. / 3.5 mph. Follow their Day 3 route with this link!: http://bit.ly/190506-TrailRide


Saturday, May 4

Day 2: Along the Santa Ana River basin

Saturday, May 4
18.8 miles / 5 hrs, 25 mins / 1,325 ft. / 3.5 mph

An uneventful day… after leaving Grand Terrace, they traveled through the Santa Ana River Basin and the city of Colton to reach Saturday’s final destination, Devore. Ride along with the day’s link: http://bit.ly/190504-TrailRide


Friday, May 3

Day 1: Journey begins!

Friday, May 3
19.6 miles / 5 hrs, 18 mins / 909 ft. / 3.7 mph

Mike Williams, Rebecca Wan, Linda Wesch and Carol Kelly left Socal Equine Hospital at 8:02 a.m. on the 320-plus mile ride from Norco to Bishop. First night’s camp: Grand Terrace. Relive the first day: http://bit.ly/190503-TrailRide


Get the story! Here’s background on the riders and the ride…

If you missed the California Horsetrader’s Feb. 1 cover article on the ride, get the story by clicking here: http://bit.ly/1902-TrailRide

Mike Williams, Rebekah Wan and “Cowboy” on Feb. 1 Horsetrader cover

5 comments have been made on “300 miles… with a mission!”

  1. Warren Says:

    Well done! Congratulations Mike, Rebekah, Sigrid and all the team that contributed to this accomplishment.

  2. Sigrid Williams Says:

    What an adventure! It could not have happened without the many people that supported our riders along the way. The groundcrew was amazing – thank you Pete, Nolan, Mesha, Dale and Kris who helped along various stretches of the ride. Also a big thanks to all those who opened up their properties for the riders and horses to bed down for a night or two: J. Rich, R. Montoya, D. Sharmack, N. Ross, J. & M. Ernst, J. Davis, G. Fogerty, S. Navarro, D. & T. Winchester and J. Steward. Your hospitality was second to none.
    What’s next?!

  3. Mike Williams Says:

    Thanks, Warren for tracking and sharing our adventure. We’ll let you know when we’re doing the next one!

  4. Warren Says:

    It was a privilege to work with you guys, Mike. Thanks for the inspiration. Looking forward to the next challenge.

  5. Thaddeus Chodakauskas Says:

    Congrats on your fantastic adventure. WOW !!!!
    You need to write a short story on your adventure to share your experiences on the trail. So next adventure Pacific Northwest ?
    Thad

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