Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Chilcotin Holidays

Riding the Mountain Tops with Hope


I have had a few bad experiences with horses in the past before I came to Chilcotin Holidays. I fell off twice and never felt very confident around them. At Chilcotin Holidays I went on a pack trip for five days to visit their Spruce Lake Campsite and spent my time exploring the surroundings on horseback. I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous. Thinking of spending five days riding horses through mountainous terrain terrified me a little bit. The horse I was going to ride was called Hope. She was a beautiful dark brown female that had a calm character.

The first ride to Spruce Lake took us about eight hours in total. At the beginning we were following a roaring river through a beautiful forest. At one point, we had to cross a stony slope, my first challenge of the trip. Hope carried me safely to the other side and with every surefooted step she took I gained more trust in her. After our lunch we entered a beautiful dark and dense forest area. On our right side we could see a Mountain Goat billy climbing up a steep slope. The dark forest quickly transformed into a forest of white bark trees and beautiful flowers surrounding them making it look like a forest straight out of a fairytale. We then left the forests and entered the open meadows. Unfortunately, the yellow balsam root flowers were already withered, however it was still a stunning view. When we arrived at the camp I was surprised. The eight hours flew by without me even noticing.

Riding was not the only thing I experienced at Spruce Lake. As we arrived at the camp we got ready to bring our horses to the meadows to graze for the night. I learned how to stake and hobble them, so they wouldn't walk too far away while we were sleeping. It was very interesting to get an insight on all the work the guides do when going on a pack trip.

On the next day, we rode the Open Heart Trail, working our way up through another stretch of meadows. We had a beautiful view of Spruce Lake from the meadows, always climbing up higher and higher until we reached an elevation where snow was still lying around in patches. It was also getting a bit cool until we reached the old, broken in volcano. There we were riding on more stony terrain however I was already more confident in my horse and we made it to the top.

On our last ride we went to the Eldorado Camp. It was the hardest ride of my trip but the most stunning. First, we rode up a steep slope through the forest until we reached a more open area with meadows, scattered tree patches and a beautiful creek with crystal clear water. Next to us we saw a snowy slope and an occasional marmot. We climbed up a little more and reached a plateau. The view was breathtakingly beautiful as we could see all the surrounding mountains. We continued over Windy Pass, traversing through snow and fighting on against the cold wind downwards again. The camp is a little hidden, making it one of the most remote camps.

On Thursday, we left the Spruce Lake camp to ride back to the Ranch again. At that point I had a lot of confidence in Hope, having gone through so much difficult terrain with her. So I was ready to lead another horse while riding my own. The horse I lead was called Steel. At the beginning I experienced a few problems with holding on to the rope but with a few tips and Steel following nicely I was able to lead her with no problems.

During these five days at Spruce Lake I definitely learned a lot about how to act around horses and gained more confidence in them and myself as well. The Cayoosh horses at Chilcotin Holidays are used to the mountainous terrain and will master it without any problems. They are surefooted and calm and the staff will choose the perfect horse for their guests.

Chilcotin Holidays

About Chilcotin Holidays

We are a licensed guide outfitter and we conduct guided wilderness adventures throughout our 5,000 square km operating area. This guide area has been operational since 1880, making it the oldest in British Columbia. More about us HERE.

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