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Back country riders make it from Norco to Bishop—retrace their journey!

From Horsetrader staff reports


Mike Williams and Rebekah Wan near Independence

After months of planning—and training—Mike Williams and Rebekah Wan completed a 320-plus mile trek from Norco to Bishop.

Day 20: Made it!…we arrived in Bishop!
Wednesday, May 22 • 20.2 miles

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! No more midnight waterings, 4 a.m. feedings, 7-8 a.m. starts in the saddle, and riding from dawn to dusk.

Day 19: It’s the homestretch
Tuesday, May 21 • 14.5 miles

We trailered out to Taboose to pick up the trail Mike and Rebekah left yesterday.

Day 18: Going in circles!
Monday, May 20 • 21.8 miles

Land-locked on several occasions, we had to go in what seemed like circles!

Day 17: An extremely HARD ride
Sunday, May 19 • 26.9 miles

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.

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”).

Day 14: Slight change of route today
Thursday, May 16 • 26.3 miles

Last night was a cold windy night. Rain in the forecast and 50 mph gusts.

Day 13: Steak & Eggs
Wednesday, May 15 • 21.4 miles

Riding to Olancha tonight. Breakfast this morning consisted of steak and eggs. Horses were quite tired after their day. They rode a little over 21 miles.

Day 12: Sharing the trail with sheep
Tuesday, May 14 • 17.4 miles

Riding toward Lonepine today. Staying in Coso Junction tonight. Shorter day than normal—only 17 miles.

Day 11: Today was a HOT one!
Monday, May 13 • 16.8 miles

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.

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

Long day in the saddle, but it was beautiful. In the evening, Misha surprised Mike with a homemade birthday cake. 58 candles, no fire permit needed.

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. Just 158 miles to Bishop!

Day 7: Halfway to Bishop! Trek continues…
Thursday, May 9 • 25.3 miles

After a week’s worth of riding, the halfway point has been reached!

Day 6: Making progress along Highway 395
Wednesday, May 8 • 23.8 miles

Today, the group traveled about 300 yards off of west side of Highway 395, finishing two miles north of Kramer Junction.

Day 5: After a windy, damp start…sunshine
Tuesday, May 7 • 24.8 miles

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.

Day 3: Through the Cajon Pass
Sunday, May 5 • 21.8 miles

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.

Day 2: Along the Santa Ana River basin
Saturday, May 4 • 18.8 miles

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.

Day 1: Journey begins!
Friday, May 3 • 19.6 miles

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.

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

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