The Grand Explorer combines the best of both the Pioneer and the Explorer and adds three more valleys including the Ottarasco, Storm , and Jamison. Culminating with a raft trip across Tatlayoko Lake (3 miles).
Arrive at the lodge around noon, settle in and match a horse for you. We will take a short ride before supper to ensure that you are comfortable with your horse.
Early the next morning after a hearty breakfast mount up and ride up Potato Mt. to the 2 story cabin, at 6100 feet, approx. 9 miles. Unpack and settle in there, after lunch, go for a ride to Lingfield lake and check out the fishing, and back to the cabin for a waiting supper and camaraderie around the blazing campfire. ( your choice of sleeping arrangements, Cabin, Tent or under the stars).
The next morning after breakfast, head off to Chilco lake rim with views of impressive Chilco Lake ( Tsylos Park ), Tsuniah Lake, Nemaia Valley and surrounding Coast Mt. Having lunch and spotting for wildlife bedded down in the breaks. Maybe a closer inspection of a fossil outcrop. Back to the cabin by the long way looking for and stalking wildlife for some excellent photographs. Supper awaits.
This morning we are going to the north end of the Mt. 10 miles or so through Marmot Basin with its whistling pigs and Monkey head flowers and on to the grave of Killer of white men, the last Native from the Wadington massacre then ride back along the rim overlooking Tatlayoko Lake, Niut Mt. and the coast range with views of Mt. Wadington, our highest mountain in BC. Across the moonscape and if the snow banks are there, traverse across them to the main fossil beds with 50 to 75 million year old fossilized clams. Home feels pretty good this night and a sauna may be in order with a cool dip into Echo lake after.
After a hearty breakfast we head off the mountain via the south end and stay the night at the lodge , pleasent relaxing with private room.
With pack horses in tow ,it's off to Stikelan we go. Through Billy goat wash and on past the towering peaks. Mountain Goats on the crags looking down at us and the river crashing over the falls to our right. Finally at the lush meadows 2/3 of the way to the end we make our first camp (16 miles). With a natural mineral lick just across the river to attract them, the wildlife watch us from a safe distance. We will be using this camp for two nights so make your bed comfy. By the time you have finished, a piping hot supper and its smells attract you to the roaring fire. I think you gotta call this living.
After gathering the picketed horses and saddling up we go to the end of the valley. There is a family of Wolverine living there in the open alpine, dining on the Marmot (or Whistling Pig). Seeing Maggi's Ice field and the glaciers that create the Stikelan River impresses the eye and stimulates the mind.
Packing camp we travel the west side of the river up through the pass behind Lone Mt. with its clear brooks crashing down the steep slopes, occasionally dashing you with spray. Camping at tree line in Rafertys Basin and taking a hike up to the original mining claim, staked in 1937. If you can catch the sunset from here its a beauty. Back to camp for dinner and relax.
Riding some trails that I can't explain and give justice to, we get to the Copper Zone with its seven switch backs taking us down to the bottom and rocky Goat trail that takes us out the other side to an old mine road and the Morris Mine with its two tunnels, one 750 feet and the other 270 feet, all done by hand. Getting to Copper Creek Ranch at the base of the Mt. by evening.
Now this is a place where you can play, and we stay here this day and just have fun. You can ride four miles on a old mine road that is great for running the horses, (and they love it) and go fishing for two to five lb. Rainbow trout in Tatlayoko Lake. Or ride down to the original mining camp with its remnants of a dream long ago. At the right time of year the berries are lush and diverse, Saskatoon, Raspberry, Strawberries, Goose Berries, Thimble Berries and some Choke Cherries.
We have a long way to go today, 15 miles of trail, some is an old mining trail for horses which turns off into Enchantment Valley, we continue on a cattle trail to our destination. Hesches Haven. Tonight everybody sleeps well.
Well lets go exploring today, up Enchantment valley, some bushwhacking to do and possibly seeing a Grizzly bear, back for supper.
Pack up and we are outa here, up the Storm creek trail to Jamison Valley and its fields of flowers. It's good to get back up to the alpine again. Some pretty little aquamarine lakes set against sheer rock bluffs towering 1000 feet above.
There are some really nice places to explore, ride off to the head of Storm Creek and look over the pass to West Branch and the Mosley Creek drainage, lots of wildlife and scenic views.
Today we leave the alpine and head down the Jamison trail, arriving at the shores of Tatlayoko lake. There waits our transportation, a 80 by 22 foot log raft. First check the wind and if all is ok then load up 1/2 the horses and all our camping gear and push off. It takes about 3 hours to get across to where the lodge team waits with the vehicle to haul all of the gear to the lodge. Your choice, ride horses the 4 miles back or ride in the vehicle. Hot bath and a big supper rounds off the day.
Relaxing and some light riding and a chance to bid good by to your transportation for the last two weeks, what is much more than just a horse, now is one of the best friends you will ever have.