After spending 2 months at the ranch learning all the procedures from the kitchen to the office and using my personal time to practice the useful skills to become a guide, like the bowline or packing, my time was finally set up to go up the mountains on a 7 days pack trip!
I have been on a 7 days pack trip as an assistant guide for the first time, and all I can say is that I want to do it again. It is a tough job with no personal time unless what you do all day long is what you want to be doing. Fortunately that was my case and as much as I like the challenges, I enjoyed the tough parts, when you know you are close to breaking down but you don’t. After this 7 days pack trip, I know myself better. I used to think I was the clumsiest person around and born with no coordination. From day 1 I proved myself I was wrong. First of all I could lead a pack horse and still control the one I was riding. It gets tricky in some situation especially when you also need to free one of your hands to use the loose reins to make your unstoppable eater horse moving.
On top of that, as an assistant guide I am also responsible for my guests and their horses. This responsibility has to be taken seriously as I have to check their saddles, make sure they follow the instructions to help the horse as we go up, down or through dangerous ground. And because we are in the wild, I have to make sure I keep my eyes open to spot any wildlife. In one day I realized how much my personal skills were going to improve that week, being multitask physically was only the first step. Indeed in this 7 days pack trip we went to Spruce Lake where we have a well furnished cabin. There I kept developing my cooking skills as I had never had to cut wood, to burn it in the stove in order to have a cooking tool or no electronic whisk to make some delicious pancakes.
But none the less, everyone was well fed and happy which means I did a great job. Sometimes the first time can be that easy, all I had to do was embrace the challenge and keep the end result in mind : yummy pancakes and people wanting some more. This mind set also worked for another skills I developed : hiking in the beautiful meadows at 6AM on the morning or at night after a very long day. Our horses were hobbled and staked in the meadows for the night. These ways of taking case of the horses are definitely 2 new skills I have to keep developing.
In the end, I’m proud of myself. I stand up to the challenge and did minors mistakes that I have learnt a lot from. I developed new skills as an assistant guide but also as an individual part of a team. I will keep learning, taking all the responsibilities I can possibly take and keep working on my weaknesses. I have no more excuses now because I know myself better and know what skills need to be improved. So I keep practicing to be more efficient for my next 7 days pack trip.