Mountain & Prairie Spring Edition

Alberta Canada: (RTAB18-C-SE)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/ab_kananaskis_mountains_prairie_spring_edition.aspx

Introduction
Alberta Canada
During this special tour we will ride through some of the best country Southern Alberta has to offer.  We will spend 3 days in the Rocky Mountains showing you some of the best riding trails in this area. The mountains are typically still snow capped at that time of the year, but Spring has arrived in the lower elevations with the bright green aspen trees coming into leaf. Then we change scenery and ride 140 kms in 5 days across the open plains of Southern Alberta, 400 km south of our home base. The route will take us from Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park near the Sweetgrass Hills on the Montana border to the Cypress Hills in Saskatchewan. Explore the magical coulees and badlands of the Milk River, and ride along routes that were once used by Indians, whiskey traders, fugitive outlaws, and the North-West Mounted Police.

At historic Writing-On-Stone, you’ll find a badlands landscape that has been sacred to Native Americans for thousands of years. Much of this country has not changed since the time of the buffalo. The Prairies are excellent riding country, with unlimited opportunity for experienced riders to move at a faster pace. Riding through the Prairies is an unforgettable experience.

Accomodation


Accommodations

This is a pack trip/ progressive ride so nights will be spent in a mixture of guesthouses, hotel, and different campsites.

Description
You will spend a total of 5 nights at the ranch, 3 nights camping and 1 night in a hotel.

Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes
Night 1 - 4: Ranch
Night 5 & 6: Camping
Night 7: Hotel in Manyberries
Night 8: Camping
Night 9: Ranch


Ranch

The ranch lies in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, 13km south of the picturesque hamlet of Bragg Creek and roughly 60 kilometers southwest of Calgary - a wilderness area stretching to the Continental Divide! Landscape changes from one of rolling ridges and open forests to one of high alpine meadows, thick primal forests, and shear limestone cliffs.
The heart of the guest quarters is a large, bright communal space where we socialize, eat, cook, listen to stories or just enjoy the view over the horse pasture. The guesthouse has 5 rooms (2 single rooms with one double bed, and 3 rooms with king bed, two twins, or two double beds). There are 2 full bathrooms, which are shared amongst all guests. We provide all bed linen and towels, but please bring your own soap and shampoo. There is a hairdryer in each bathroom.
We have an outdoor fireplace with picnic area. Smoking is prohibited anywhere on the property except for around the outdoor fire pit. There is no TV in the guest house, but there is complimentary WIFI. You are welcome use the i-pod docking station, boards games, and a large selection of books and magazines available.
Laundry is available for an additional fee at certain times of the day.


Camping
On the trail we stay in simple but comfortable camps, their locations are well chosen within the given geography. We sleep in large wall tents on cots, which are big enough for 6 people. Most camps have several tents so the group can split up if necessary. Sleeping bags and mats are provided. We always camp within easy walking distance of a clear stream or river where you can swim or wash yourself. Bathroom facilities are pit latrines dug in each camp a short walk from the tenting area. They aren’t quite out-houses (only tarps for walls), but they have toilet seats. There is no electricity in camp, we recommend power bars or solar chargers.

Hotel
We will be staying in a small-prairie-style hotel in Manyberries with a real saloon. It is a cozy atmosphere with a warm shower.

Room Occupancy
The single supplement fee will be waived if you are willing to share.
Note we don't normally offer private tents unless people want to bring their own. Space on the packhorses is limited.


Meals
All meals are included from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on the last day.

At the Lodge: Full breakfast and dinner, prepared with local and fresh ingredients. Breakfast is typically served around 8.30 AM, dinner around 6.30 PM.

In camp: all meals are cooked over an open campfire and prepared with fresh ingredients. The menu changes daily. The menu changes daily and offers typical local dishes but also internationally inspired cuisine. Ingredients include locally raised organic beef and pork, fresh vegetables and fruits. Breakfast is typically hot and dinner is typically a main course with a salad and dessert. Lunch is picnic-style with sandwiches or wraps, fruit and granola bars. Coffee, teas, water, juice for breakfast, and hot chocolate are complimentary while you stay with us.

Please note that we do not serve alcohol, but feel free to bring your own as well as any other favourite drink you like.

Dietary Restrictions
We cater to most dietary restrictions with prior notice. Gluten-free requests are $10 extra per day.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding


Riding Experience

This vacation is for intermediate to advanced riders, and a keen sense of adventures. Riders need to be comfortable riding at all paces, balanced at canter, and confident in the saddle.
Since the pack train uses different trails we will often canter where the trail is suitable, especially in the prairies. This trip is designed for keen riders who are up to the challenge. Over the duration of the trek you will learn the basics of horse packing, wilderness horsemanship, low impact horse camping and a myriad of other skills to fully enjoy horse trekking. The guests are expected to help in tending to the horses and other camp duties.

There are some trails we use where it is necessary to hike over rocky terrain, either to avoid undue risk or to enjoy a vista that cannot be ridden to. For most people this is a refreshing change that allows them to stretch their legs. We recommend that you bring or wear comfortable footwear that you can hike for a kilometer or two in.

Pace
5-7 hours per day will be spent on trail, riding up to 25 miles (40km) per day. We will spend 3 days in the Rocky Mountains showing you some of the best riding trails in this area. Then we change scenery and ride 140km in 5 days across the open plains of Southern Alberta. Walk over moderate to difficult terrain, many trots and canters for several miles, river crossings, grassy slopes.

Horses
The horses have been chosen for their endurance, spirit, and reliability in the mountains. Our horses are trained western style (neck-reining), but most English trained riders adapt very quickly to this style of riding with a bit of instruction and advice! The guests are expected to help in tending to the horses and other camp duties. Most horses will be fitted with western style saddles but those with a distinct preference for English riding may be accommodated.

Guides
Interesting and entertaining guides share their knowledge of the different areas we visit. You can learn about horsemanship, back-country navigation, survival skills, and living in nature.
 Depending on the group size you will have one or two backcountry guides with you at all times. Wranglers lead the packhorses with your gear into camp, usually on a different, easier and less scenic route than the one the group takes. We all share the same love and pride for this country and are delighted to pass it on to our guests.

Requirements
We consider 8 to be optimal maximum group size for our back-country trips, but can handle groups as large as 10 if you are one big group who book together!
The minimum age for pack trips is 8 years old. Anyone under 15 should be a regular and enthusiastic rider and be adventurous, and must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. We have  also had people in their 70's on pack trips, but again, they were fit, in good health, and rode regularly prior to their holiday. We ask that you judge yourself (and your children) honestly in this regard, as we will take your word for it and plan the trip accordingly. 
The maximum weight for riders is 220 lbs. Exceptions may be made for very experienced/athletic riders!
For all age groups: It is important that you feel fit and healthy before going on the trail. We are traveling in the wilderness, and medical services (beyond first aid) will not be readily available.
 

Itinerary

Sample Itinerary - subject to changes

Note: While we have a route planned at the outset of every trip, changes are sometimes forced upon us by weather, bear activity or other environmental hazards. The guides reserve the option of changing the day's activity from the published schedule based on any concern they have for the safety of the party. In these cases, various alternatives will normally be presented to the group and a decision made in consultation with them.

Day 1 (Saturday): Arrival
Guests arrive in Calgary, transfer to Bragg Creek, reception, accommodation in guesthouse at ranch
Meals included: Dinner
Overnight at the Ranch


Day 2 (Sunday): Introductory Ride
Meet “your” horse, explore the Foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Kananaskis Country on a 5-6 hour day ride.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Ranch


Day 3 (Monday): Kananaskis Day Ride
We are getting deeper into the mountains, cross rivers and climb up to view points
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Ranch


Day 4 (Tuesday): Last Ride in Kananaskis
Your last day in the mountains will be another spectacular ride through Kananaskis Country
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Ranch


Day 5 (Wednesday): Transfer to Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park
Transfer to Writing-on-Stone in Southern Alberta, afternoon ride through the Provincial Park.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping at Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park


Day 6 (Thursday): Ride to Ross Bridge (approx. 25 miles)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping at Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park


Day 7 (Friday): Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park to Manyberries (approx. 25 miles)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hotel in Manyberries


Day 8 (Saturday): Manyberries to Bare Creek Reservoir (approx. 15 miles)
Opportunity to swim with the horses
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping near Bare Creek Reservoir


Day 9 (Sunday): Back to the Ranch
Ride into Highway 40, return to the Ranch in late afternoon.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at the Ranch


Day 10 (Monday): Departure
Depart for Calgary Airport approx 9:30am
Meals included: Breakfast


Rates and Dates for Mountain & Prairie Spring Edition

Rates include:

Accommodations, All meals, 8 days of guided riding with historical and natural interpretation & Transfers
All camping gear, sleeping bags, mats, and duffels provided

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionCan$ ~US$
    A
    202010 day trip, APCan$4200$3275
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 0.78

GST (VAT): 6% (12% for Canadian Resident) * prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy
    GST (VAT) 6% (12% for Canadian Resident)

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionCan$~US$
2020 Transfer from/to Calgary Airport at 4 pm included Can$ 0 $0
2020 Special diet (gluten-free) supplement Can$ 100 $80
2020 Transfer from hotel in Calgary at 5pm included Can$ 0 $0
2020 Single supplement (requested) Can$ 230 $180

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Alcoholic drinks, Special diet request, Taxes & Gratuities

Note:

Due to COVID-19 Corona virus pandemic and certain travel restrictions we are applying some temporary policy changes to some of our tours.

For Kananaskis Mountains & Prairies Spring Edition (RTAB18-C-SE):

We share your anxiety for the summer holidays. With so much unknown we are not cancelling any trips yet, but are continuously evaluating the situation. We will make a “go/no go” decision one month before each scheduled ride.
If you are unable to come this summer but plan to reschedule your holiday for the 2021 season, we would be happy to postpone your trip.

We hope our August trips will go as scheduled, although they are still very vulnerable to border closures. Though all the scheduled July rides are cancelled, we are open to doing custom ones for groups of 4 or more.

New safety precautions include:

  • We have stopped using large group tents. People will be given single/double/triple pup tents so they don’t have to share sleeping space with people outside their own cohort.
  • For now we are only renting the lodge to people in one cohort (i.e. not mixing strangers). That will likely change in August.
  • Personal hand sanitizer bottles are now being given to all guests.
  • Hand washing will be made easier & encouraged more in camp
  • Food will be plated rather than “self-serve”
  • Since masks are required when in confined space with others, like driving in a company truck, people should bring one. Our first aid kits now have masks in case emergency treatment of someone is required. We don’t use them otherwise.
  • People who show covid symptoms are asked not to come riding. If people need to cancel on short notice due to either illness or border closures we are refunding all but 10% of payment if we get notice before the trip begins.

For more information please visit our COVID-19 Updates page at https://www.hiddentrails.com/article/covid19update.aspx

Other Info
Meeting: Bragg Creek
Airport: Calgary International Airport (YYC)
Transfer: Calgary Airport/ hotels

Climate:
                                            Bragg Creek area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

30

36

41

50

59

66

72

71

62

54

40

32

Average Low Temperature (°F)

1

7

13

23

31

38

41

40

32

24

11

4

Average High Temperature (°C)

-1

2

5

10

15

19

22

22

17

12

4

0

Average Low Temperature (°C)

-17

-14

-11

-5

-1

3

5

4

0

-5

-11

-16

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

4

4

6

7

10

10

8

8

7

5

4

3

Source: NOAA


Seasons
During the riding season of June to September, temperatures will range widely, with the hottest daytime temperatures reaching 30 C (85 F). We are riding at elevations ranging from 1400 m (4400') to well above the tree line at 2700m (8400'), so wide fluctuations in temperature can be expected. This region always cools off at night, and frequently experiences frost even in mid-summer. We always take our rain gear with us on the saddle. Even if it doesn't rain, it may be necessary to cut the wind when we're above the tree line

What To Bring:
On day 1 you will receive a Duffle bag with a warm sleeping bag and mat. All you personal gear will have to go into this duffle bag including mat and sleeping bag.

We suggest to bring
- 2 pair of jeans or riding pants
- 3 long sleeve shirts
- Fleece or sweater (fleece is lighter)
- Jacket or vest as wind breaker
- Brimmed hat (protects from rain, sun and low branches) **we have helmets to borrow should you request one
- Healed, ankle-high, water-repellant boots
- Gloves
- Toque (warm hat)
- Warm socks (1 pair per day)
- Underwear (1 set per day)
- Towel and swimsuit (optional)
- Personal hygiene items
- Comfortable camp shoes
- Warm underwear
- Camera (please not that there is no possibility to charge batteries!)
- Flashlight
- Knife
- Chaps (if available)
* If you have any medical condition like allergies, or are on medication, please tell your guide.

Available to rent for additional fee
- Rainwear (oil-skin slicker)

Weight of Gear
Because everything must be loaded on pack-horses, guests must pack their gear in 1 standard sized duffel bag, weighing no more than 25 lbs (11 kg) - not including what you wear and carry on your saddle horse.
If you have luggage that is not required for the horse trip you may leave that at the ranch

Saddle bags
Your trail horse will have 2 saddlebags tied to the saddle. One is for your personal items to carry on the trail, such as camera, sun protection, water bottle, extra layer of clothes, etc. The other bag is reserved for "group items" such as lunch or first aid kit. Your rain wear will also travel with you tied behind the saddle.