I was looking for an off-the-beaten-track adventure. Something different; a unique experience to talk about. So my girlfriend and I saddled up for a pack horse trip into BC’s Chilcotin mountain range!
When we arrived at Chilcotin Holidays Guest Ranch in Gold Bridge, BC, I knew we were in a for a real cowboy adventure. Complete with a local saloon and general store, it was as if we’d been imported into an old Western.
We met Kevan, the ranch owner and our fearless guide who would be taking us on our three-day journey into the wilderness. Before we could embark on our adventure, first thing was first; a crash course on how to ride a horse. Meet Molson, my escort. Having ridden only once in my life, I wasn’t so sure how I felt about my new partner. It wasn’t until our first adrenaline-rushing moment, when we successfully crossed the first steep traverse, that I realized these horses – bred and trained to keep you safe – are definitely trustworthy riding companions.
At daybreak, we hit the trail. With beautiful vista after beautiful vista it didn’t take long to realize that this is a unique way to truly get away from it all. From rolling hills and valleys dotted with colourful wildflowers, to narrow forest trails, to cliffs overlooking meandering rivers, to snow-covered alpine peaks; we covered it all over our three days in the Chilcotin outback. So this is what it feels like to be a roving cowboy.
After a long ride, our bodies needed rest and we were glad to see our base camp at the end of the day. Spruce Lake, just one of the numerous camps in the area, was our home base. There, we were spoiled rotten with enough food to feed a horse. After dinner, Kevan and the rest of the crew shared some wildlife tales with us around the campfire before we hit the hay.
Early to rise again; this time our goal was to track a grizzly bear. That we did. After several hours on the move, learning the ins and outs of grizzly bear tracking, we had our first encounter – a pair of grizzlies grazing on a nearby ridge, unaware of our presence. Not to worry though; as Kevan foresaw, our furry friends soon caught wind of our scent and headed across the meadow, giving us an unforgettable memory and a wilderness tale of our own to share.
See this pack horse trip showing the grizzly bears in the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Adventures BC Trip Idea video.