Column: Bucket list filled with mountain experiences

We just got back from riding and horse packing in the Ilgachuz part of the Itcha-Ilgachuz Provincial Park.

We just got back from riding and horse packing in the Ilgachuz part of the Itcha-Ilgachuz Provincial Park.

This experience is only a day away. We are fortunate to be able to do this so close.

My bucket list is filled with mountain experiences that I want to have while I can still get on a horse, albeit as the years go on those big tall horses are less attractive than the shorter ones.

I really like to be able to swing up gracefully.

There are so many rides out there just waiting to be taken.

Might just have to turn over the summer ranching to someone else just to get it done.

A world travelling friend who has hiked the major popular hiking areas of the world said, when I was talking about the Pyrenees and the Alps as possible destinations, from his perspective  nothing in the world beats the South Chilcotins.

I would add the North Chilcotin to this list.

Each time we have been on a pack trip, we have seen no other visitors to the area, even in the areas accessible to car traffic.

So this is wilderness at its best.

Even on holiday weekends few people frequent these spectacular places.

No “wall to wall” villages and ski/hiking facilities like there is in Europe where we were earlier this year on holiday.

We were fortunate to see a small herd of caribou (about 60 head) that travelled past one of our camps.

We expected to see them followed by predators but did not see them.

It seemed there weren’t many calves. Wolves?

There was a group of goats on Pipe Organ Mountain, which is aptly named.

We were able to walk fairly close to them on a hike the day we rested the horses.

Thanks to a hundreds of years of trail use by First Nations, settlers and hunters there are many good trails to follow.

We like to combine  horse packing and hiking, horses doing the heavy lifting.

David Zirnhelt is a member of the Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association and chair of the advisory committee for the Applied Sustainable Ranching program which is starting at Thompson Rivers University in Williams Lake this January.