My Chilcotin Holidays vacation took place in June. It was a level I pack trip with a twist. They made time for me to go fishing in the evenings, and my group overlapped with a Guide training group. I have been on a horse back riding vacation before, so I thought I knew what to expect. I must admit, I was pleasantly suprised at how good this trip was.
Once at the Ranch, I received a very friendly welcome. We were introduced to the horse we would be teamed up with for the week, and were sized- up for our saddles. We went for an introductory ride to make sure we understood the basic skills of mountain riding and knew our horse. My horse, Linda was well behaved. During the ride, we had the chance to watch two of Chilcotin Holidays guides horse logging. The strength of the horses and the control of the handler dragging the logs out the bush is quite unbelievable. That night we had a chance to sit and talk to the fellow vacationers and the ranch staff. We were also briefed on the trip ahead.
The second day had an early start. Pack horses were loaded and we were given a big breakfast. With lunches packed, we headed out on a full day ride for the base camp. This was the first glimpse of what we were going to experience for the next few days. Wildlife viewing, spectacular scenery and lots of horseback riding. If you can do some riding prior to this trip, it would be a good idea. Your body will thank you. When we arrived at the base camp, the horses were unloaded and we made ourselves at home in the tent cabins.
The next three days included all day rides. The places we rode to and the riding along the way exceeded all the expectation. We rode up and down rather steep hillsides, through snow, mud and creeks, along steep slide areas and through bush. I found all of this very exciting because it wasn’t just trail riding. Lunches were eaten out on the trail with good old fashion campfire coffee. The scenery was outstanding. The meadows flowers were in full bloom. The wildlife was seen up close, and included deer, marmots and lots of birds. If you enjoy birds as I do, you will get a chance to see some that are not in the urban areas. Mountain bluebirds, hawks, bald eagles, cross bills, owls. The owls would hoot to one another all night. We saw the biggest Grizzly bear prints. In the evenings, the wood burning stoves in our tent cabins kept us quite warm. We were spoiled, I think, because our guide would come and build a morning fire in our stove, which made it easy to get up in the morning.
I can not say enough about how good the guides were. They were fun, flexible and very hard working. They were the first one up every morning, starting fires and cooking breakfast. They tended to the horses, made our lunches, took us riding all day and then fishing in the evening. They made campfires at night after cooking dinner. They would let you help or just sit back and relax. They would show you how to care for your horse and let you do as much as you were comfortable with. They made the vacation truly enjoyable.
The time to head back to the Ranch came far too quickly. Although I must admit a hot shower never felt so good. We had a chance in the evening to share our stories with Kevan after a wonderful dinner. We only had the next morning before having to leave the Ranch and the vacations would be over. But this didn’t prevent Kevan from trying to pack as much fun into the holidays as possible. In the morning, we had a chance to bareback in the front pasture. If you weren’t sore after six days of riding, this would make sure you didn’t miss out on the experience. But, don’t let this stop you from trying bareback riding. Next, we had an opportunity to experience target practice. This was something I had never done before.
Looking back at the vacation, I must say the one thing that stands out in my mind is the exceptional riding experience. Your safety was always kept in mind, but this did not prevent you from experiencing mountain riding. The guides did an outstanding job at making sure the vacations was at the level you wanted. It’s a vacation I would highly recommend.