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Knowing Nevada: "Don't Fence Me In" - The Journey through our public lands

Samantha Szesciorka and her horse Sage, traveled a total of 1,600 miles across and around the state of Nevada.{ }
Samantha Szesciorka and her horse Sage, traveled a total of 1,600 miles across and around the state of Nevada.
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There is something majestic about the Great Basin that covers and surrounds the state of Nevada. For Samantha Szesciorka, a native Nevadan, the majesty has become her life. She had the spirit for travelling ever since she was a military combat photographer.

After her time oversea, she began working as a news producer at a local television station in Reno. She helped produce a series that allowed her travel across the state, which inspired her to start brainstorming a trip that she couldn't do alone.

In 2011, she began mapping out where and when she would take a trip across Nevada. This inspired her to visit the Northern Nevada Correctional Center's Wild Horse & Burro auction. She wanted a horse that was born on the Great Basin and saddled trained in a well managed environment.

"I wanted a mustang. A Nevada mustang," says Szeciorka. "Sage was only five years old and there was something I liked about this presence. He actually reached his head over the railing, grabbed the auction pamphlet from my hand a threw it. That point I knew this was the horse I wanted."

She named the brown mustang Sage, for the sagebrush that surrounds her favorite state. After two years of training with Sage, Szeciorka was ready to saddle up for a journey unlike any other.

The First Journey

In late May of 2013, Samantha, Sage and Bella, her trail dog; set out in the small town of Baker on the Nevada-Utah border and rode 500 miles to Reno, Nevada. They rode 20 mile days and crossing challenging back country to encourage wild horse adoption.

Stats from the First Journey:

  • One woman, one horse, one dog
  • 1 support crew member
  • 452 miles (as routed)
  • 30 days to complete -- average of 20 miles a day
  • 14 mountain ranges
  • 5 state parks
  • 8 counties: White Pine, Nye, Eureka, Mineral, Churchill, Lyon, Storey, Washoe
  • Environment: paved roads, dirt roads, no roads, occupied towns, ghosts towns, sage brush, rocks, forests, and sand dunes

After a month on the trail, she finished the ride.

The Second Journey

Three years later, Szesciorka felt the urge to take 'ole Sage back out on the back-roads once again. In late August of 2016, she began her journey from the geographical center of Nevada to all around the northern part of the state.

Stats from the Second Journey:

  • 1,122 miles (as routed)
  • Start: Geographic center of Nevada
  • End: Reno, Nevada
  • 74 days to complete
  • Average of 20 miles per day
  • One rider, one horse, one dog
  • One support person.

"All of the roads I traveled on were Bureau of Land Management access roads," says Szesciorka. "There's something gratifying about Nevada and when you travel this public land with a horse, there's nothing better."

According to the BLM, they own 75 percent of the land in Nevada but a good majority of that land can be accessed - by you.

"I think people don't realize how much is out there," says Szesciorka. "There are mountains, valleys, and areas around this state that feel like they have been untouched."

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Knowing Nevada is a historical heritage series that highlights some of the interesting, unknown, and known tales about the state of Nevada. This series is researched and put together by our own native Nevadan, Miles Buergin. If you have any suggestions for our next Knowing Nevada, please e-mail him at:

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