Riding the Pony Express trail

More than 50 riders from across the United States are following the historic Pony Express Trail.

The riders are part of the American Endurance Riders Conference and began their journey June 5 in St. Joseph, Mo., covering 50 miles a day.

"The challenge of the trail and the adventure of a lifetime," is why Alex Higgins of Olancha, Calif., said he is riding the trail.

The Nevada section of the trail is almost as barren today as it was during a mail carrier's ride a century ago.

Skip Dyke, of Arroyo Grande Calif., said he has been doing endurance rides since the early 1970s.

"I enjoy just being able to see all the country and appreciate what Pony Express riders went through," he said.

The riders leave camp every morning at 5 a.m., but crew member Ralph Blair said he starts his day at 3:30 a.m. cooking breakfast and preparing for the day.

Jane Wilson of Saratoga Calif., has been riding horses since she was eight.

"I've learned a lot about managing horses over long distances on this trip," she said. "I've also learned a lot of history and geology that's very different from where I'm from."

Jeff Briscoe of Bakersfield Calif., has been doing endurance rides since 1971, but said this time he was the number one ferrier having shod more than 150 horses this trip.

The riders will leave camp at Silver Springs today for their finishing point in Virginia City.

Higgins said there is not enough shoulder room on the highway to travel the rest of the trail to Sacramento.


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