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Great Excursions gives adventurers a sense of local flavour

Great Excursions gives adventurers a sense of local flavour.

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Loved the horses and I am not a horse person! - Adventure travel vacation

By Alison Reid, United Kingdom


1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Watching a grizzly bear playing with her cubs, we had decided to go out with the horses for an early morning ride to see if we could spot any grizzly bears. Our guide Bernie suggested the early morning as this was the most active time for the bears. Luckily he was right and we spotted a mother and two cubs playing in a meadow. A very special moment!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

The journey to the camp is quite a trek, it took us about 9 hours on the horses over some tough terrain, it is hard work and I would advise that people need to be prepared for this if they want the camp based experience in the mountains. I would also suggest that people travelling at this time of year prepare for mosquitoes. When we were there the mosquito's were quite bad, luckily we had repellant!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

I think this is a very environment friendly trek, waste is kept to a minimum and local Canadians get to work at the ranch and learn new skills.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Loved the horses and I am not a horse person! Thought Bernie and Liz our guides were wonderful and very knowledgeable. Only downside is I think the camp is very basic, the shower is cold unless you spend an hour or so heating the fire to get the boiler going and the communal hut is in need of some renovation as are the surrounding areas and tents. For example there is no lighting in the wash hut and a shower using a torch is not very easy!

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you Alison for taking the time to share with us your comments about this camp-based grizzly viewing trip. We certainly do our best to prepare our guests for the long horse riding experience up to the camp. Some participants will take extra riding lessons ahead of time over the winter. This allows them to get ready physically and mentally for the experience. Families bond further in the process - the trip actually starts before guests leave home in a way. But no matter how much preparation people go through, there are very few settings where people get to ride up a mountain for a whole day like this... and you will feel it in your body as the hours pass. As for the mosquitoes, I find them more of a minor annoyance at camp than on the trails. Bug juice makes them more bearable as you found.

We try to make that first day easier by taking frequent breaks along picturesque spots. Still... your right leg will feel like a log when you get it over the saddle after 8 hours. As you probably noticed, your body eventually adjusts after a couple of days... and suddenly you feel your tummy muscles become tighter... I know this is something I get much satisfaction out of... You feel healthier, stronger as a result, more alive!

As for the camp situation. It is true that that the wall tents are rustic, the beds are rudimentary but remarkably comfortable to sleep on when using a sleeping bag. The shower is still a work in progress, I'll admit... I myself just take a dip in a lake usually. Using propane fuel in this kind of remote setting involves the consideration of hauling tanks up the mountains on pack horses... I guess one of the choices we make is to favour the ability to cook hot meals over taking a hot shower. It makes the hot shower back at the ranch on the last night all the more precious. I am glad that you felt the bear viewing opportunities were worth the journey... You both got to participate in a very special experience that very few people get to do in their lifetime. I hope you cherish the memories of this trip for years to come.

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