- RIDERS OF THE NORTHERN ROCKIES -
Muskwa-Kechika Alumni Tell Us Why They Ride · Page 2
Chris Gale, Fort Nelson BC, Canada
My name is Chris Gale. I'm a wildlife and nature photographer from Fort Nelson, British Columbia. The first time I heard about Wayne Sawchuck was in 2005 when I received his book called the Muskwa-Kechika. I was a beginner photographer at the time and was amazed by his photographs of Nature and Wildlife in the Northern Rocky Mountains.
It was 2013 when I finally got to meet Wayne. After talks on the phone and conversations on Facebook, I had my trip booked with Muskwa-Kechika Adventures, so on June 19th we left Summit Lake on the Alaska Highway and headed up into the high country with about 15 pack horses and five riders. During my two weeks on Horseback I got to experience majestic mountains, wild rivers, campfire stories and old cowboy trails that I hope will lead me back there again someday.
I now understand why we need to keep protecting the MK. There aren't many places left in the world as pristine and wild as the Muskwa-Kechika. I recommend this trip to anyone who wants to get away from it all and experience life on the trail. Enjoy!
Maryann Emery, Golden BC, Canada
I'm a grandmother and a retired elementary school teacher living on a rural acreage near Golden, BC. Since my teen years, experiencing the wilderness and outdoor life, and wilderness conservation have been of prime importance to me. Until I read about Wayne and the M-K this involved hiking, backpacking, camping, extended wilderness canoe trips and skiing. From the first time I learned of the M-K during the campaign to protect the Northern Rockies I had dreamed of going there.
I have been privileged to participate in five different 14-day horseback expeditions into the Northern Rockies with Wayne. It has been an experience like no other! Heading off into a pristine wilderness with the horses feels like a journey back in time, when all the earth was wilderness. The trips combine everything; physical challenge, beautiful mountain peaks, alpine meadows, river crossings, animals such as grizzlies, caribou, elk, stone sheep and moose, friendship and camaraderie around the campfire and in working together with the horses and the thrill of riding along wilderness trails day after day seeing very few signs of human activity. Wayne's good nature, love of wilderness and knowledge of the ecology and history of the Northern Rockies, and conservation ethic have made these expeditions some of the best and most memorable experiences of my life.
Michael Coon, Victoria BC, Canada
My name is Michael Coon. I am a 68 year old marine biologist and former Director of Land Use Planning for the Province of BC. I met Wayne in 2000 during the negotiation of the Mackenzie LRMP, which added the last third to the Muskwa-Kechika Management Area. In 2003, the year I retired, I started riding with Wayne. 2015 will be my 13th consecutive annual expedition with Wayne and I look forward to many more years of trail-riding adventure with him.
The pristine wilderness of the M-K must be directly experienced to be appreciated. For me it is as spiritual an experience as it is a physical one. Interacting with all the elements (geological, biological, atmospheric, etc) of this untrammeled wilderness wakens my senses. The silence lying under the sounds of wind, water and wildlife is huge and deep. Immersed in the M-K I experience the natural world in a way unavailable in most of this man-modified world.
I treasure the memories of each expedition, including the joys of sharing them with such fine trail-riding companions (human and equine).
Wendy Bush, Canmore, Alberta
Professional writer, collector of regional folklore, dog-driver, teamster and outdoor guide/naturalist, Wendy brings character to all her projects, whether books, guiding events or... making antler buttons with her multi-tool on the trail. She lives in Canmore, Alberta with her partner, Doug, two dogs and five horses.
Alex Lepp, Chetwynd BC, Canada
I work for Wayne as his head wrangler, and absolutely love doing so. I ride to get somewhere; over that next ridge, up the river, across the swamp. Being in the wilderness is both a way to test myself as well as to relax, and this is real wilderness.
Brian Jungen, Armstrong BC, Canada
I'm Brian Jungen, and I am originally from the Peace country of BC. I have been out in the MK since before it formally existed. I travelled in the backcountry in the Sikanni, Halfway and Graham rivers with my uncles years ago, but I had never ventured so deep and so remote as with Wayne and his horses.
The MK is pure wilderness and it is a privilege to be able to experience this treasure on horseback with my friend Wayne and his endless knowledge.
*Brian is one of the world's foremost aboriginal artists. [editor]
Sheri Bakes, Vancouver BC, Canada
My name is Sheri Bakes and I'm a Canadian landscape painter living and working in Vancouver British Columbia.
I rode along with Wayne through a leg of the Muskwa-Kechika to experience
pristine, untouched wilderness painted in nature, by nature. It's hard to put into words what this experience meant to me as 2+ years later I'm still processing the incredible depth and richness this adventure offered. Have to go back to make sure I wasn't dreaming.
Deryk Houston, Victoria BC, Canada
I am a Canadian artist living in Victoria BC, and the idea of an adventure into the Northern Rockies was impossible to ignore.
Much of my artwork is focused on peace and few things compare to the pleasure of travelling by horseback through high mountain passes and star filled nights.
If you have been on an Muskwa-Kechika Adventure and would like to add your name and experiences to this page, please send a message to our webmaster.