Get Out and Go horseback riding
I have been getting out and exploring Alaska for the last 17 weeks.
For this "Get Out" I traded in my hiking shoes for cowboy boots to hit the trails along the Knik River.
We went to Alaska Horse Adventures' stable in Palmer and took a scenic route through the woods, rode along the Knik River with the fog rolling across the water and saw the magnificent Knik Glacier. The trail is fully surrounded by mountains and greenery.
We went early in the morning, which we were told is the best time of day to go. The air was crisp with the evening rain on its way.
The trail rides can last from 1.5 hours to a full day. The forested trails are traveled by moose, lynx and coyotes. You can also see migrating birds, hawks and eagles along the way.
Joshua Hale started Alaska Horse Adventures and he says people visit his ranch from near by communities as well as Lower 48 states, Europe and Asia.
"We have a lot of local people that come here and ride with us and we have a large portion of people from Texas," Hale said. "We have a lot of Texans that are riding here for the first time in their life, some of them are in their forties and I'm like why did you choose Alaska to ride a a horse their like we've always wanted to and thought this was a great spot."
He says his favorite thing about leading the tours is getting people connected to horses.
"I have discovered that the biggest reason why riding is therapy for people is your in a relationship with the horse, and you have rhythm, rhythm is something that we all thrive on quite a bit," Hale said.
Alaska Horse Adventures offers rides year-round. If you don't want to ride a horse, there are also sleigh rides in the winter.
There are many trails and features in the area including the Knik Glacier, Knik River, Pioneer Peak, Jim Creek, Bodenburg Creek, Friday Creek, Metal Creek, and Hunter Creek. The high-elevation Chugach Mountains that form the Knik River Valley make for a dramatic backdrop to the alluvial gravel bars and winding braids of the Knik River.
Overall the area is rugged and remote, which is what makes it such a popular destination for campers, off-road enthusiasts, fixed-wing aviators, horseback riders and boaters. The lakes and wetlands on the north side of the river is popular among bird watchers, boaters, anglers, and hunters.
I really enjoyed this peaceful ride. One of my favorite part of having the two-month-old baby foal, Ginger, joining us for the ride. Part of the tour goes through the water with the horses and that was something I have never tried.
If you go, bring appropriate gear for all weather and rides through water: boots; long pants; light rain gear. Trips are geared toward experienced riders, like myself, but also new riders like KTVA photographer Rick Rysso, who balanced tasks of getting video footage and guiding the horse.
If you do want to saddle up, visit Alaska Horse Adventures' website.
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