Holiday-ing on Horseback

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Banff, Alberta, Canada, North America
By Jill Moellering

This summer I enjoyed one of the greatest vacations of my life! Being a horseback enthusiast, I have always envisioned a horseback vacation – this was the year to try it.

Our guide on the way to Rainbow Lake
Our guide on the way to Rainbow Lake
I booked onto a 6 day wilderness tenting ride with Warner Guiding and Outfitting in the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains – Banff National Park. Getting to Banff was easy due to the convenience of an airpoter shuttle, which brought me right to my hotel in Banff. Though the town is a highly visited area and relies mainly on tourists, I soon found myself farther away from the tourists and busy streets of the small mountain town.

Check in at the Trail Rider Store on Banff avenue was quick, and in less than 2 hours I was on my horse ready to face the outdoors. My able companion for my 6 days in the wilderness was ‘Ace’, a fully black quarter horse – short enough to make mounting a breeze!

Over the next 6 days we spent time in 3 tent camps set up in remote areas of the backcountry, we passed less than a handful of hikers in our travels destined for their own tent camps miles away from a public road or hotel. The tent camps are quaint with cozy A-frame canvas tents, large kitchen tents, ouhouses, rail corrals, and an electric fence to keep the bears out! Meals were home cooked – ranch style meals at camp and picnic style for our lunches on the trail.

The beautiful Rainbow Lake!
The beautiful Rainbow Lake!
Daily riding brought myself and 5 other guests around the Cascade and Vermillian Mntn ranges and stopped everyday for lunch at a nice river, viewpoint, or lake. The highlight of the trip was our stop at Rainbow Lake. We learned from our guide, Barry, that this lake was created by glaciers. The water was certainly cold enough! The ride to Rainbow Lake showed off Ace’s extroadinary navigational skills as we climbed higher and higher to a ridge overlooking 2 valleys and Sawback Lake. Standing on top of the world!

I have partaken in lots of guided hiking trips to areas all over the world – but nothing has compared to my experiences on the back of Ace! I plan to head back next year for an Adventure Expedition, even more rugged, with new camp sites established daily. I strongly reccommend checking out their website at www.horseback.com if anyone is looking for a horseback adventure.





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