Besides a variety of different activities, a guided Hiking Trip is one amazing thing you can do in the Chilcotin Mountains. During my first week at Chilcotin Holidays I had the great opportunity to do my very first hike on my day off – of course I didn’t say no. So, one of my team members and I prepared for our tour. That means drawing a map of our route, signing off and taking the necessary safety equipment with us, such as bear spray, a bear banger and a radio for communicating with the ranch.
Once we were ready to go, I left the ranch for the first time since my arrival. After just a few minutes of hiking we arrived at a little river and refreshed our faces with ice cold alpine water. The next surprise wasn’t far away, in the bushes we saw some leftovers of a bear meal. It’s quite overwhelming if you feel the closeness to such impressive animal for the first time in your life.
Back on track we continued hiking towards the Pearson Lookout. It’s a fairly easy hike, without much steep, but great viewpoints in between. It was definitely worth climbing up, because as we reached the lookout we had lunch with a view I will never forget.
I was lucky enough that in the evening, we had another group going on a hike and since it was another destination than at noon, I decided to join. I thought „Well, at home I do my 30 minute workout 5 days a week, so I will be good to go!“. Well, I guess my expectations of that hike quite differed from reality, because it was more climbing than anything else. So apparently I struggled getting up to the „Lovers Bluff“ View Point, but a stick from the bush supported me a lot. I couldn’t wait to finally reach the Lookout, and though it was not the top of the mountain, to me it felt like the top of the world. We had an awesome view of ponds, creeks and the ranch and all effort getting up there paid off a hundred times.
A very special thing about hiking in this area is the „bear aware“. Since we are in a bear country, we always have to be cautious of our environment. If you hear anything in the bushes or recognize movements, it can always happen that you see a bear. It recently happend to one of my team members, Jean, he and one of our guests encountered a black bear eating berries when they hiked up „Lovers Bluff“. In this case it’s important to stay calm, keep talking and wait until the bear runs away, and otherwise prepare to make use of the bear spray. When he came back and I heard the story, I was terrified to go out for my next hike. But still, we went out the next day in a group of 3, because all you can do is face your fear and get over it.
Once we were on the trail, we received a call on the radio, saying: „Just to warn you, the grizzly mum and her 3 cubs are just running further up your direction, so be cautious.“ And this really got me sweating I can tell you. Until now I’ve never seen a bear and even if it’s a natural thing here, for me it’s unknown territory. I was so afraid that we almost turned around and went back home, but I didn’t want my fear to take over, so we continued. At the end, we didn’t encounter any bear and had a great hike.
According to my fear on my last hike, I wanted to get further out of my comfort zone and offered to be the hiking guide to „Pearson Lookout“ for the very first time. And here I go, just after two weeks at the ranch I see myself leading the trail for a new team member, overcoming all my fears and exceeding the expectations I had to myself. In this environment it’s necessary to be cautions and have respect of your surroundings. But if you want to explore, you need to step over your fearful you, take initiative and you will be rewarded with impressions you never imagined.
– Fenja, 23, Germany