From Old Entrance we followed the Forestry Trunk Road south.
The gravel road offered some gorgeous views of the mountains and the lack of traffic was a welcome break. On average, we had about 10 to 15 cars drive by a day. On the weekends, things got a little crazy as Calgarians drove up to camp, but it was still better than following a highway.
On this stretch there was also many places to camp for the night. They offered shade for the horses, tons of grass, and most of the time water. It was long riding heaven!
“We could stay here for a month,” Clara said as we camped one night in a gorgeous spot overlooking the Rocky Mountains. I agreed!
On our 6th day on Forestry Trunk Road, Dana Peers, president of the Calgary Stampede and his wife Laura, came to spend the day with us.
“I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks,” said Dana while we tacked up the horses.
We spent an amazing day riding through the foothills together while Clara and Laura drove ahead and found a place for lunch. With Dana atop Mac and me on Smokey, we discussed politics, the economy, the global pandemic and life. I loved every second of it.
“I hope you’re hungry,” said Laura when we finally stopped for our lunch break.
She wasn’t joking! The Canadian-Italian hairdresser bought enough food for a soccer team.
“Laura, now I know you really are Italian,” I joked as she kept pulling out Tupperware containers from a blue cooler.
We ate the delicious lunch while the horses munched on green grass in a corral nearby. We rarely found corrals on this journey, especially ones with knee high pasture. Clara and I agreed this was the best day ever!
After eating way too much we continued our ride south, and in the early afternoon we arrived at Chungo Creek Outfitters — our home for 2 nights.
After tending to the horses, Dana went over the plan for my arrival in Calgary in a few weeks.
The organization had to apply for special permission to have a “procession,” to safely escort me to Stampede Park. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the rodeo and parade had been cancelled for the first time in 108 years and the city of Calgary was worried people would congregate to watch my arrival.
“We had to assure the city we would not release our route ahead of time,” said Dana while we looked over the plan and the streets we would be traveling through.
The thought of entering a city with 1.3 million residents with two wild horses made me swallow with a dry mouth. After crossing metal grate bridges, the Yukon, encountering herds of bison, bears – a lot of bears – this would be our final hurdle. Maybe it would be the most dangerous of them all.
But there was no turning back now! We were only 350 kilometers away from the end.