Whether it’s people or cargo, if you want to explore Alaska’s most remote areas, often an airplane is your only option.
Rainy Pass lodge is the oldest hunting lodge in Alaska. This year, owner Steven Perrins says they’re celebrating their 80th year in business. The lodge itself is is situated more than 120-miles from Anchorage, and according to Perrins, everything at the lodge has had to be flown in, except for the logs to build the cabins.
Last Saturday, Rainy Pass received another load of cargo, but instead of shipments of food or perhaps a 4-wheeler, on board the Alaska Charter and Transport Skyvan were a total of four Norwegian Fjord horses, which Perrins says will serve as hunting guides.
“We get clients from all over the world and the uniqueness to them is to be able to hunt on horseback,” Perrins said. “They’re a great breed of horse for us because they do extremely well in the winter. They eat just about anything out here, and they eat about half as much as a regular horse.”
Norwegian Fjords are typically smaller in size, but weigh about 800 lbs. Generally, farrier Joshua Morris says this breed is laid back, hardy, and thrive in harsh environments.
In order to make the trip, the horses were sedated and loaded up two a time. But to make sure it was a smooth flight, Morris flew in the back of the Skyvan armed with a gloc, saying with horses in a small space, you have to be ready for anything.
“If we have a problem with the horse that we can’t take care of with just trying to calm them down, our last option would be to put the horse down in mid flight,” said Morris. “We don’t want a hole kicked in the plane or things getting torn up.”
“If you’ve got horses that are slightly tranquilized, you don’t know how they’re going to act in that plane,” said Perrins. “If they get turbulence, if they get nervous, you could have a load shift. If they act up, it could be a deadly situation. It is the scariest thing we do.”