Nearly two decades after setting off, Gunter Wamser is nearing the endpoint of his journey: the base of Mount Denali, the tallest mountain in North America.
Wamser is somewhere in the heart of wild Alaska right now, but it’s impossible to know exactly. He hasn’t left breadcrumbs (or GPS coordinates) on the trail since he left Tierra del Fuego, an archipelago on the southernmost tip of South America, on horseback in 1994. Additionally, he’s only checked into his website occasionally.
Photo Credit: Gilad Rom / Flickr.com
Getting this far hasn’t been easy. From the southern tip of Argentina, over the Andes to Ecuador, it took Wamser 5 years to cross South America by horseback. After a year-long rest, he was at it again, continuing his journey northward across into Central America. He continued on through Mexico and, in May 2005, reached the US-Mexico border. He would have to say goodbye to his beloved Criollo horses, Gaucho, Rebelde, Maxl, Samurai and Pumuckl, as they were stopped at the border for fear they would carry diseases into the states. After 11 years and 20,000 km, Wamser parted with the animals, leaving them in the care of a Mexican rancher he had befriended along the way.
Photo Credit: Bergistheword / Flickr.com
His old horses stayed in Mexico, where Wamser said he will one day return to retrieve them. In 2007, it was time to continue his journey with new steeds. Once in the US, Wamser quickly adopted four new horses, mustangs tamed by prisoners in the Colorado correctional system. These four horses, Dino, Lightfoot, Azabache, and Rusty, have taken Wamser (and his girlfriend who joined him along the way) up the continental divide and into Alaska where the couple can be found today. For more on the man and his 20-year journey on horseback, check out Gunter Wamser’s Facebook page.
Cover photo credit: Nic McPhee / Flickr.com