Read-the-land – Hiking trip

Read-the-land – Hiking trip

Kristin Read the land trip -mt. truaxMount Truax (“True-ax”) is a majestic mountain in the Bendor Range and an iconic sight of the Bridge River Valley. If you have ever been to the Chilcotin ranch, or in the South Chilcotin Mountains facing south to behold the view of it’s pointy peak, you will know what I’m talking about. Being a beautiful sight to marvel at from the ranch, it almost comes to no surprise, that it had been my wish for a long time to climb this mountain. And, finally it would happen!

The whole trip came as a bit of a surprise, as I realized one weekend that I had only so much time left to achieve my goal before my departure, and that as a matter of fact it would have to happen in the next days. From the moment of realization to the moment of making it happen, I had exactly one day. I spend all day studying official government maps and online maps to plan ‘the hike’, which in reality were ‘hiking options’ as there are no official trails up there. There might be routes, but most of the time, from the moment we would leave the old logging road, until the peak, we would be going to ‘read the land’ and travel accordingly. I was super excited, this was a challenge that would push me slightly out of my comfort zone, as I would be the lead and would be in charge of bringing my comrade and me in and out safely. I really wanted to do this! It was going to bring my orientation skills up a notch and same for my wilderness skills and knowledge as it would certainly involve following game trails, bushwhacking and studying maps closely to avoid dead ends.

Luckily, the mountains here are different than mountains elsewhere. The sandy-shale slopes allow for ‘easy’ travelling across ridges and slopes, as long as the traveller would have the required surefooted-ness. And I was confident that I had it. Next day we drove up. We were forced to stop earlier as planned as a big deadfall was blocking the road. Luckily, it was not very far from the place where we had planned to start our journey anyways. Leaving the truck behind, we walked around the first corner to be welcomed by wildlife – some coyotes who quickly ran away, a grouse and many ‘friendly’ deer flies. I could spend hours describing every part of our trip and every drop of sweat we went through, but I will try to keep it short. Before we reached the end of the logging road that we followed initially, we soon found a piece of wildfire-damaged forest that allowed for better orientation to scramble up the first ridge. 600M elevation gain and about 3hours later, we stood at a little peak on the ridge, 2.200m above sea level, enjoying the amazing views over Mt. Williams and Truax peak. There it was, so close and yet so far! We continued, followed by a hungry hoard of bugs. I had not expected that, but it seemed that the smoke, which had rolled in only 2 days earlier from far away wildfires in British Columbia, was making the bug situation worse, which usually is not bad at all for Canadian standards. We ended up spending the night at the first creek we came across, that had not dried out yet, with a world class view of the peak. Refreshed we headed on the next day. Today’s lesson was simple: Reading a map and reading the land by looking at it can give you two completely opposite outcomes of possible routes. The map did not show the rocky surface of one of the smaller peaks of mount Truax, nor did it show the big snowbank on the alternate route with a decent, not too steep gradient. We ended up avoiding the rocky peak and snow bank, scrambling up on big rocks instead, while heading for the radio tower up there.

The view was spectacular, despite the smoke denying me the amazing long-distance views that I had hoped for. But right there behind me were 3 crystal blue glacier lakes in a big bowl, surrounded by a high ridge with few access points into the bowl. Here we were, my brave comrade and me, possibly the first two females ever, who were travelling by themselves and had made it here. As our time was limited to three days, I made the decision to descend to the ponds, rather than pushing on and following the ridge to the true peak of Mt. Truax. Of course, I was a bit disappointed to not accomplish my initial goal, but how often do you get to stay in a place with three private ponds all to yourself? The descent was steep and along the way we found several mountain goat beds. We did not see a single animal, but their tracks and beds were everywhere, so they must have stayed in here for quite some time before moving on. We were in real mountain goat habitat and had done some climbing, that only mountain goats do to get there – what an amazing achievement!

Read the land trip -mt. truaxThe last day proved to be the most challenging of all. To get out of the bowl, we had to descend a huge slope with big boulders, continued onto a huge scree slope, and from halfway down to the valley bottom we started cutting across, as we had been recommended to stay well off the valley bottom to avoid its likely inhabitants (grizzly bears and black bears looking for berries). Staying up high also helped with the orientation. Indeed, it was pretty easy to keep the direction. Much more challenging were the forested areas, young thick forest made it hard to travel and there was a big avalanche area with crushed trees along the way. Moving forward in there reminded me of the game ‘Mikado’, but we made it through without much hassle. We pushed on, finally carefully following a big scree slope down to the valley bottom, from where we soon found our way to an old cut block. From here it was easy to find the way to the logging road and in no time we found ourselves back at the truck: Our reading the land adventure was over, but in my heart I knew, this kind of hiking trip would not be my last one, and in my mind I was already planning my return trip!

KNLU, Germany

Hiking all four seasons

Hiking all four seasons

What an experience winter hiking can be! Your surroundings are quiet. The only sound is the beating of your heart as you take in the incredible mountain scenery, or maybe the rat-tat-tat-tat of a woodpecker. There are no insects to bug you. The bears are hibernating. So no need for insect repellant or bear spray. At the Chilcotin Mountains you have a low risk if avalanches.

A true Wilderness Trekking Adventure, one that will take you to one of the most beautiful places in the wolr: The South Chilcotin Mountains offer breathtaking scenery in an untouched wilderness with incredible vies over endless mountain tops, Coast Mountains glaciers, or alpine valleys.
All our trips are customized according to your interests, abilities and schedule. And they are suited for families, groups of friends, singles and couples.

If winter isn’t your favourite season, plan for a Guided Wilderness Alpine Hut-to-Hut Hiking Adventure to our three alpine camps with pack horses. This trip is all-inclusive and an unforgettable wilderness experience, trekking the original route of gold seekers in the 1800’s, with pack horses on the leeward side of the southwestern British Columbia’s pristine Chilcotin Mountain park.
You’ll spend days hiking in the famous alpine meadows where the wildflowers number in the hundreds and bloom from May to September. Wildlife viewing, bird watching and photography are just some of the pleasures you could enjoy!

Hiking 4 seasons

Hiking with a pack horse

Hiking with a pack horse

It’s a beautiful sunday morning in June and the Guide School pupils pack the pack horses with food and personal gear, saddle their riding horses and leave for the bush. After a couple of hours they stop for lunch – and one of them doesn’t get up on her horse again. She decides to walk for a few kilometres. And with every day the hiked sections get longer until she walks almost all the way back from Leckie Camp to the ranch. Choosing foot over horse back, going for a hike with a pack horse – weird, isnt’ it?No, it’s not weird! Hiking along creeks, through blooming meadows, on mountain ridges and through valleys – that’s what walking in the Chilcotin Mountains means. At least to me. And there is no time when I’m happier than when I’m walking. Ideally through beautiful scenery like here.

And last week I got to experience hiking with a pack horse. What seemed impossible at first ended up being a lot of fun! Walking a horse is basically like walking a dog that carries your pack for you. That is if the horse behaves well and doesn’t drag you around. But then you have to stand up and show it who’s the boss (to be honest: I had problems with that at first, too. One of the horses dragged me around quite a bit, I still hold a grudge against him for this).

So what is there to pay attention to while hiking with a horse? Well, at first you should check regularly if the pack moved and if so repack. Secondly the horse should walk behind you which also means that it respects you as the pack leader (pretty good feeling actually!). Thirdly you shouldn’t hold the rope too short so it can still see where it’s going. Also make sure that there are no knots where the rope could get stuck in your hand (wear gloves!) – and never wrap the rope around your hand! If the horse spooks you will hurt your hand and that’s not very pleasant. And last but not least (and it’s really annoying) avoid having to drag your horse behind you and make it walk!

That’s about it, now you’re ready to set out for walking adventures with your pack horse!

-Simone, GermanyHiking with a pack horse

Hike to Lover’s Bluff

Hike to Lover’s Bluff

Backcountry hiking is a special way to connect with nature and feel good about yourself. Chilcotin Holidays provides amazing views and trails that make the best hiking vacations. Nothing is better than hiking to a lookout with good company in the middle of the BC wilderness. Everything around from the flowers to mountains are breath taking. Hiking in British Columbia is something everyone needs to experience. Pictures do not capture the feeling you get when you have just climbed a mountain or the true beauty that can be seen with your own two eyes. For anyone who is looking for a real backcountry hiking experience, I would highly recommend the south chilcotin mountains.

At Chilcotin Holidays we had five wonderful guests come for two days. They experienced almost everything we have to offer. They went bear viewing and drove to a ghost town not too far away, had fun lassoing and shooting a gun. They had a riding, packing, and bareback riding orientation. There were a lot of different activities they participated in but they all thought the view at the end of their wilderness hiking adventure was the best part.

Kevan had the idea to go hiking to Lovers Bluff with the guests. I had previously done the trail on horseback and knew that the trail went straight up the mountain for a couple kilometres. I was not sure if I was going to be able to lead a group of five guests and three interns up to Lovers Bluff. The straight up climb was a little intimidating. but I knew how breathtaking the view is from the top. As we were hiking up the mountain one of the interns along the way talked about the different trees and flowers, adding some bushcraft survival techniques to the hiking experience. As we got closer to the top, the steeper the trail seemed. When we finally arrived at the lookout everyone instantly forgot about how hard the wilderness hiking experience was and fell in love with the view. We all spent a long time taking photos and taking in the view of the mountains, carpenter lake, and three ponds. Hiking back down to the ranch seemed to be a lot harder. We all had to do a lot of zigzagging back down which ended with all of us having very shaky legs. Everyone, still in awe about the view, did not seem to mind. BC hiking is truly spectacular and can be the perk to anyone day.

At Chilcotin Holidays there are endless amounts of trails for hiking. Each are just as beautiful as the next. The trails are full of all kinds of flowers, trees, and wildlife. BC hiking is as good as it gets. With the grasslands, sub alpine, alpine meadows, and mountain peaks the south chilcotin mountains create the best opportunity for real backcountry hiking.

-Karalee, BCLover's Bluff

A small story about our hike to Pearson’s lookout

A small story about our hike to Pearson’s lookout

When Georgina picked me up and told me about going on a hike to Pearson’s lookout with our guests, I was a little bit more excited than usual. I have never been on a hike in Canada before and I had not been out with the guests either, but I was really happy to see some new parts of the area around our ranch.

We started out on the hike right after dinner. First I just had to pick up some warm clothes, lace up my hiking boots and then I was finally ready to start. But “Whoa”, I wasn’t really ready. Georgina told us what needs to be prepared before you can go out with the guests. “Grab the radio and don’t forget your bear spray, if you go out on your own next time! I almost forgot it but after these last instructions we were ready to go.

It was 1PM when we went to Pearson’s lookout. We walked over the field behind the ranch and through the gate. Through the forest, over a small bridge made out of wood that lead above a stream. It was nice to be surrounded by nature. Before this we hadn’t been able to properly breathe the fresh air of the wilderness. On our hike we also saw some mule deer, frogs, Humming birds and some footprints of horses while walking the trail.

It was 40 Minutes later that we finally arrived at Pearson’s lookout. It was a beautiful view when we looked down from the top of the mountain. There was big valley right in front of us. There were several lakes and mountains on each side with snow on top, and a shiny blue sky above us without a single cloud. Of course we took a lot of pictures until we had to go back to the ranch to be back in time for lunch.

When we were halfway back one of our guests discovered some bones and hair next to the trail. It seemed like it was from a deer and we were searching for more signs of animals to take some samples with us. We looked around the trail and suddenly someone discovered a strange looking footprint. It wasn’t from a horse and it looked similar to a footprint of a bear. It was a dried footprint and although none of us has ever seen a footprint of a bear in the wilderness before, we were sure that it had to be one. We weren’t even able to see the toes of the print but we were able to see some of the dried claw prints in the mud. We took some pictures of the footprint and we took some hair samples with us as well. It was exciting to see such a footprint for the first time but we were very glad that it was already dried and that we didn’t actually see a bear crossing our trail.

As we arrived at the ranch I was really glad to be back. We missed the lunch but we had a beautiful view from Pearson’s lookout. We were able to see some animals and we also saw our first real bear footprint in the wilderness. It was a trip that I will definitely not forget!

-Mike, Germany

A small story about our hike (Mike)

Jogging in the wilderness

Jogging in the wilderness

I’m used to practicing sport when I’m at home in the french downtown, it’s always good to have a bit of exercise to stay fit!

When I came in the Ranch my sport routine was very improved, because of what? The wilderness!
Can you imagine yourself running in the Canadian forest with this huge feeling of freedom ? that’s why I moved here.

First of all I started alone in doing a small loop around the ranch just to practice my daily sport. I can enjoy the pure air and have a good view of the snowy top of the Chilcotin’s Mountain.
After my first few jogs some other colleges saw me run and they proposed for me to have one ! Of course yes!

So we went for a bigger sport time in the wilderness in some places around that I didn’t know yet! During this one, I really had a huge feeling of freedom.
Running in the forest, smell the different flavors between flowers, grass and ground. Feel your body in a healthy effort and feel the wilderness all around you, that is what you can expect if you go for a sport session in Chilcotin Holidays.

After that I was used to practicing 3 times a week my freedom sport session between my works hours or during my days off and all the time I had the same feeling.

Moreover, sport is really important for your health, mentally and physically. Here you can appreciate a healthy way to practice it, no pollution in the air, no sound of any car, just you and the wilderness.

Also, if you come here at the end of spring you will be able to appreciate the wake up of the nature, you will see all of these trees growing green, the grass growing up, the snow melting from the top of the mountain and all the wilderness coming to life, once again.

To sum up I can say that a sport session in the the wilderness here will give you a lot of unforgettable memories and you will feel free for sure.

Melvin, France

Jogging in the wilderness