Redwood Creek Buckarettes
09/25/2017 11:00AM ● Published by Jordan Venema
By Jordan Venema
Photos courtesy of Redwood Creek Buckarettes
Orick natives Kimberly Frick and Kristina Comb are more than just sisters – they’re Buckarettes. As children, their father owned a construction company, so the sisters often worked together growing up.
“Yeah, my sister and I grew up in the construction business,” says Kimberly. “So we’ve worked together our entire lives.”
They continued that tradition by taking over a business that offers guided horseback rides through Redwood National Park. As Kimberly is the older sister, it begs the question: Does that make her the boss?
“No, not really,” she laughs. “We just love to be with each other.”
In fact, the two sisters have been giving guided horseback tours through Redwood National Park since they were in high school.
“Our dad always had horses and he would take us riding,” Kimberly says. “But when this other family moved to town, they had a daughter about our age and we became really close with that family and started helping them out with their business.”
That family began offering guided horseback tours in 1991, but Kimberly and Kristina were fifth-generation residents. They knew the park inside and out – and “definitely the horse trail,” says Kimberly.
The sisters purchased the company nine years ago, and continue to offer three guided tours: a 90-minute ride, a two-hour ride, and a four-hour picnic ride, which includes lunch, ranging from $70 to $195 a person.
The interpretive tours offer lessons about the plants and trees, and a stop at “the goose pen,” a burnt-out hollow of a redwood, “where you can back your horse into and get your picture taken.”
Over the years, even Kimberly has learned a thing or two about the redwoods. “A lot of people don’t realize the redwood trees are unique in that their roots soak up water and give nutrients to the bottom half of the tree, while the top half of the tree gets its water through the needles by the rain and the fog,” she says.
Though the sisters have been riding since childhood, about 80 percent of their guests have never been on a horse. But Buckarettes’ horses aren’t wild stallions: they’re good with people, assures Kimberly.
Riding horseback over a trail offers a different experience than hiking by foot. “Almost everybody says that it’s a very different experience,” Kimberly says. “You’re three feet up off the ground, and there’s something about nature and horses that can relax people.”
Plus, you don’t have to spend time watching where you step, “so you don’t have to worry about tripping on something like a root.”
The ride might be calming and relaxing in its own way, but even after decades on the trail, the sisters still love it.
“I’ve been going up and down the same trail for 30 years, but no, you definitely do not get tired of it. The beauty is constantly changing with the seasons and the weather, whether it’s a foggy or sunny day,” says Kimberly. “I especially love to ride in May because there’s no dust on the trail and the rhododendrons are in bloom, and that pink color against the redwoods is gorgeous.”
Neither do they tire of the feedback from their guests. “We constantly are hearing that we’ve made their day,” says Kimberly, adding that the word “magnificent” is one they hear a lot.
As for the name Buckarettes, Kimberly explains, “My sister also has two teenage daughters, and that’s why we’re Buckarettes: ‘cause we’re all girls.”
“We made our own name because our neighbor, who was a woman and started the business, deliberately named it a man’s name. She said that some people don’t want to come to a business that’s owned by a woman,” continues Kimberly. “So we wanted to make sure that it’s known ahead of time that it’s a woman’s business. ‘Cause if anybody feels like that, we don’t want them to come,” she says with a laugh.
Redwood Creek Buckarettes