German equestrian explorer Günter Wamser has finished an epic journey on horseback from Patagonia to Alaska. 20 years after he started his journey he reached his final destination: Mt. Denali in the heart of Alaska. Guenter covered more than 25,000 km (15,535 miles) during two decades of his life. Quite a bit further than kickasstrips biggest horseback ride to date “the Trail of Genghis Khan: from Mongolia to Hungary by horse”
Günter started his traveling life as a motorcycle enthusiast, first driving between North Africa and the North cape, then on a four year long moto trip through North and Central America. In Guatemala he switched to horses discovering traveling from a new perspective and the slow pace of life. He felt he could better feel, comprehend and understand the country. It was then that his idea ‘to cross the Americas on horseback’ was born.
Back in 1994, Günter set out from Patagonia on horseback with the intention of riding north to the very top of Alaska. When he was planning his journey Europe and America were celebrating “500 years discovery of America”. In Guenter’s eyes this discovery was nothing else as the start of the exploitation of men and nature that still exists today. To distance himself from this exploitation Guenter wanted to cross the American continent in a way that fully respected man and nature. This was what initiated his “TRANSHUMANICA” horseback expedition across the Americas. He dubbed himself the ‘Abenteuer Reiter’ (Adventure Rider) covering his trip on his website ‘Abenteuerreiter.de’.
From Patagonia to Mexico, 20.000km
Günter planned to ride from Patagonia to Alaska in about 4-5 years together with his friend Barbara Kohmanns. However it took him already 11 years to reach Mexico. The delay was caused by the fact that he found out that the most beautiful aspect of travelling by horseback were the stops along the way. So Guenter decided to just take it easy and adopt a slower, more nomadic type of lifestyle. The journey therefore did not just become a chapter of his life, but it became his way of life.
Günter started his trip with the horses Gaucho “The Boss”, Rebelde “The Professor”, Maxl “The New One”, Samurai “The Tough One” and Pumuckl “El Panamenio”. More info on his horses can be found here.
The Transhumanica expedition has taken taken Günter and his partner to some wild and remote places. His path began in Argentina and wandered into Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador, carrying him to the top of South America, which he reached in 1999 after five years in the saddle. He ‘settled down’ for a bit but the ride didn’t end there. In 2001 the German set off once again, passing through Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and eventually Mexico which he reached in 2005 together with his horses.
The journey across Mexico was a long and rewarding one that Günter thoroughly enjoyed. When he reached the border with the U.S. he ran into quite some trouble. There it seemed that his horses had contracted a tropical disease on the journey and they were not allowed to enter the States. The horses were found a good home in Mexico instead and Guenter found new mounts across the border in the form of four mustangs that he adopted from the US Bureau of Land Management. Those horses – together with have been his companions throughout the final phase of his journey, a ride along the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) through the USA up to Alaska.
In 2007 Guenter and his new traveling companion Sonja Endlweber, began traveling north on the CDT, passing through New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana before eventually passing into Canada. In the fall of 2012 they reached the Yukon territory, where they settled in for the winter. In 2013 they returned to the trail with the goal of reaching the Northern border of the Alaskan wilderness which they eventually reached in August 2013.
Guenter is one of the founding members of the Long Rider’s Guild – a long distance horseback traveling platform – and as such his journey by horseback has been an exemplary one both in terms of distance and time on the trail, but also for how he has treated the animals that have helped him along the way. His horses have been cared for very well and not treated simply as beasts of burden but as companions and partners who came along on this adventure like any other teammate.