Making wild places accessible to people with disabilities.
When John Muir first arrived in California by ship, he was bewildered and overwhelmed by the raucous energy of San Francisco in 1869. He asked a passerby the quickest way out of the city. “Well, where do you want to go?” the stranger inquired.
“Anywhere Wild!” said Muir.
John Muir’s great-grandson is blazing a new trail into the wilderness, opening a path to be traveled by people with disabilities. Napa, California horseman Michael Muir has lived with multiple sclerosis since 1967, when he was 15 years old. Refusing to be daunted by the relentless course of his disease, Muir believes in challenging the limits of disability. In 2001, he led an international team of people with disabilities driving wheelchair accessible horsedrawn carriages on a three thousand mile, ten month Journey Across America.
Now, after traveling by horse and carriage through seven countries, the extraordinary adventures of HorseJourney have led to the founding of Anywhere Wild!. Muir says, “We have shown that people with disabilities can accomplish amazing things. Horses, combined with innovative adaptive equipment are the links that carry us back into a close relationship with nature and wild places. I know how important this has proven to be in my own life. It is something I want to share with others.”
Anywhere Wild! uses Thornlea carriages with a solar powered battery operated lift that accommodates up to 500 pounds, to bring aboard people with mobility problems, including those in wheelchairs. A simple lockdown device secures the wheelchair in place. The program has a more traditional covered wagon and a twelve passenger trolley that can carry five wheelchairs. Anywhere Wild! offers remote, scenic, multi-day wilderness experiences several times a year, for people living with mobility challenges.