Man plans horseback trip from Washington to Michigan reunion

HOWELL, Mich. (AP) — A cancer survivor has embarked on a roughly 2,200-mile journey on horseback from Washington to his 50th high school reunion in Michigan.

Vern Herrst, 67, began his trip Friday from the Methow Valley in northern Washington in hopes of reaching Howell before the reunion in August, the Livingston Daily Press & Argus of Howell (http://bit.ly/1XTGjpW ) reported. He plans to ride his 12-year-old horse, Nikki, through Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

“I always wanted to do something like this — and who knows how many more chances I’ll have,” he said.

The trip is also a fundraiser to support agencies that helped in Herrst’s fight against myeloproliferative disease, a blood disorder similar to leukemia. Herrst hopes to bring in $1 or more per mile on behalf of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Washington/Alaska Chapter.

“They were great to me, and I wanted to do something for them,” he said.

Herrst expects to travel between 20 and 25 miles per day until he enters Michigan sometime in July at a point near Iron Mountain in the western Upper Peninsula. But he’s still not quite sure how he’ll make it across the Mackinac Bridge to get to the Lower Peninsula.

As a former long-haul trucker, Herrst has seen thousands of miles of countryside, but he’s is looking seeing the country from a different perspective as he passes through mountains, plains, and farmlands on horseback. At night, he plans to roll out a sleeping bag and sleep under the stars or climb into a tent if it’s raining.

Herrst will post updates from the road on his Facebook page, 2016 Great Northern Horse Adventure, so friends, family and anyone else who’s interested can keep up with his adventure.

Information from: Livingston Daily Press & Argus, http://www.livingstondaily.com

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