Adventure Specialists inc
and Bear Basin Pack Trips LLC.
A CLASSIC FIVE-DAY WILDERNESS HORSE TRIP TO A HISTORIC NATURAL HOT SPRINGS
Crossing the backbone of the continent on seldom traveled trails through the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness, we descend into the broad San Luis Valley to camp two relaxing nights at the historic Valley View Hot Springs. The trails are steep and challenging, camps remote and scenic. We may see elk,deer, and bear. Participants must have some familiarity with horses, be ingood health and physical condition. This is a journey for experienced riders, although a confident beginner with some experience can enjoy thetrip. The horses are surefooted, no- nonsense and willing. We assign apersonal horse and teach how to saddle, picket and care for it. Mountain riding techniques are taught as we travel. We share our extensive knowledgeof geology, plants, history, and minimal impact wilderness travel. Tasty camp meals are served around the campfire beneath a weatherproof kitchen canopy. At the hot springs, we have camp tables, chairs, a wood-firedsauna, heated bathhouse and numerous hot soaking pools in a natural setting of wildflowers, birds and wandering deer. Be prepared: like most western hot springs, many soak without clothes. Bathing suits are optional, to wearor not is your choice.
HOT SPRINGS PACKTRIP ITINERARY (drive yourself or ride with us...round trip transfer $25)
DAY 1 Meeting in Colorado Springs, we drive two hours to a trailhead on the eastern slope of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. As the pack string is carefully loaded with duffels and supplies, one of twocolorful wrangler/guides picked for the adventure (our staff fight to go onthis one) gives detailed instructions on riding, saddling and caring for your mount. Setting out around midday, we wind up through aspen groves, Gambel oak and lodgepole pine, up and into a long glaciated valley. Thetrail is almost lost as we work around downfall Engelmann spruce, fording the tumbling stream that gurgles down toward the Arkansas river and eventually the Mississippi. We stop to rebuild a section of trail that has slid away from a section of muddy down-sloping rock. A dark tassel-eared squirrel chatters indignantly as we pass. Higher up, a cow elk with ungainly calf in tow ambles across a meadow lush with purple larkspur and yellow composites. We set camp below a gigantic rock glacier just at timberline. The horses are picketed out. The tents are up in carefully selected flat areas well away from each other, and the small campfire is glowing cheerfully as we sip happy hour spirits while awaiting dinner.
DAY 2 The aroma of brewing coffee and the fluttering of Steller'sjays signals the start of the day. After a leisurely breakfast, thepackhorses are carefully packed with balanced loads, tightly secured byGary Ziegler's Bear Basin Hitch or perhaps an old fashioned diamond. Staff competes to tie the best load. If perfectly packed, the load should not have to be touched until we unpack at the end of the day. Not much is worse than a load sliding off on the steep pass, creating a scene from a Charlie Russell painting! Leaving the last twisted spruce and bristlecone pine behind, our train winds up and over a wind sweep 12,500' pass. Awestruck, we silently stare at the immense vast grandeur of the San Luis Valley stretching beyond vision to the hills of Taos far to the south. Then, down, down winding switchbacks to lunch in an alpine meadow. A small herd of elk scramble indignantly down into the dense timber below. Leaving the forest behind, we ride out on a vast open prairie framed by towering peaks. We wait for the burst of orchestral music that Hollywood would surely furnish, but only the quiet whisper of the afternoon wind disturbs the solitude. Evening finds us soaking peacefully in a warm pool, favorite beverage inhand, as the orange-red globe of the Sun settles behind the western mountains.
DAY 3 We camp among the aspen along a warm water stream, minutesf rom the pools. Valley View is a private, minimally developed resort with limited public access. (Of course, we are members.) The Springs were considered sacred by the Mountain Ute who came to revitalize and give thanks after a successful buffalo hunt. Although quiet during the week, we share the resort with other members coming to soak in this magical spot.The day is set aside to soak, take saunas, to relax. Numerous natural pools offer a choice of soaking with others or finding a private small pool. You may decide to hike or explore the old Orient Iron mine nearby, returning intime for another sunset soak.
DAY 4 Breakfast, a last early morning dip, then back in the saddle again. Relaxed and stress-free we ride quietly up into the silent pine forest to make a late afternoon camp at the base of the great pass. Around the evening camp fire, our wranglers share tales of the days when The Ute hunted these high valleys or when John Fremont's ill-fated expedition wintered here. A horse whinnies in the darkness, an owl hoots out a reply, the camp Winchester rests nearby as we drift off in restful sleep.
DAY 5 Up early, we help break camp, catch the horses, pack loads.Now a seasoned, trained outfit, we are soon moving across the meadow and up the pass. Thunderclouds threaten, so we hasten along, stopping only to check chinches and loads. Dropping easterly over the crest, we stay well above timberline to find the beginning of an old cow trail leading down past a series of blue green glacial lakes. Finding a better trail below, we hurry into the valley as the high ridges erupt in claps of rolling thunderand electric display. We are, too soon, back at the road and waiting transport to urban reality.
Due to factors beyond our control, we occasionally find it necessary to change the order or the route of these activities.
POST TRIP INFORMATION
At the end of your trip you will be brought back to the hotel sometime between 5:00 and 8:00 pm. We recommend making prior lodging reservations if you plan to spend the night. If you must fly out that evening, please do not schedule a flight before 8:30 pm, to make certain you can make your flight.
ADVENTURE SPECIALISTS... WHO WE ARE:
We are a small company based at an 1890s working ranch in the heart of Colorado. Owners Amy Finger, Gary Ziegler, and a staff of hardworking guide/wranglers run a selection of horse pack trips, wilderness programs, guided climbs,combination trips, research adventures in Colorado's Sangre de Cristo Wilderness, Peru and Mexico's Copper Canyon.
Gary and Amy combine extensive outdoor experience to make Adventure Specialists a successful and unique operation. Gary's unusual background includes a Ph.D. in archaeology, discovery of archaeological sites in remote Peru, first ascents of seven Andean peaks above 18,000 ft. and extensive exploration of the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico by horseback.. Along the way, he did a stint with U.S. Army Special Forces in Viet Nam, instructed for Colorado Outward Bound, staffed for the Peace Corps, worked for National Geographic, and chased bad guys as County Sheriff.
Amy has led more than one hundred groups into Mexico's rugged Copper Canyon since 1980, and countless more in Colorado, Spain and Peru. She brings a lifetime involvement with horses to our programs. She has been guiding pack trips into the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness since 1981. Amy's degrees in geology, climatology and her studies of flora and ecology strongly influence our emphasis on natural history and environmental awareness. The Adventure Specialists staff form the Ranchs vital core. Most have been with us for many years. A talented, colorful crew of well-educated, experienced guide/wranglers help insure an exciting and memorable mountain vacation.
During summer months Amy, Gary and the Ranch staff don boots, spurs and crumpled cowboy hats to disappear with a string of pack ponies into the Sangre De Cristo Wilderness Area. Or, on occasion, with rope and ice ax, to stand on the airy summit of nearby 14,000 foot high Crestone Needle.
RESERVATIONS: 719-783-2076 . Call the Adventure Specialists staff at Bear Basin Ranch for booking information. Or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit us at our website at; www.gorp.com/adventur for information on other Adventure Specialist offerings.
MEETING TIME AND PLACE
Time: 7:30 a.m. on the first morning of the trip.Place: Radisson Inn Colorado Springs Airport 1645 N Newport Rd Colorado Springs, CO 80916 719/597-7000 800/333-3333
Please meet in the lobby with your duffel bag, and your day pack or saddlebags packed. Travel to and from the Ranch in our van, or follow to the Ranch in your car.
Hotel: We recommend that you stay at the Radisson Inn Colorado Springs Airporton 1645 N Newport Rd in Colorado Springs. Call 719/597-7000 or 800/333-3333 for reservations and mention you are with Bear Basin Ranch to receive the special discount rate.
CAR: You can drive to the Radisson Inn Colorado Springs Airport and, with prior notice, leave your car in the parking lot while on the trip. Arrangements can also be made to drive to Bear Basin Ranch where the trip is based. Let us know and we will send you details and a map, or you can meet the van in Colorado Springs andfollow us to the Ranch.
TRAVEL INSURANCE: We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance when you book. This can reimburse you if you need to cancel last minute due to sickness, forexample, or other trip emergencies. (See AIR above.)
EXCLUSIONS Items listed on the equipment list, alcoholic beverages, and tips are excluded.
In order to best acclimate to our higher altitude, we recommend that youbegin increasing your water intake to 8 or more glasses of water per day atleast 24 hours before you are due to arrive. This will help your body toadapt to the higher altitude.
Pants ___ 2 pr. long___ 2 pr. shorts
Shirts___ 1 heavy long sleeve (cotton is cold when wet) sweater (wool or
___ 1 lightweight long sleeve
___ 1 short sleeve
___ 3 T-shirts or tank tops
___ Long underwear bottoms (to combat saddle sores)
Footwear___ boots for riding (lightweight narrower hiking boots are more versatile)
___ tennis shoes or tevas (for around camp)
___ Socks -- 4 or 5 pairs of heavy wool, liners also help prevent chaffing
___ Warm parka or jacket
___ Windproof outer jacket (optional)
___ Two-piece rain suit (poncho or slicker with rain pants)
___ Gloves (for warmth)
___ Hat with brim (for sun, hail, and snow protection - must have some
form of stampede string if wearing while riding)
___ Wool hat (for warmth)
OTHER ITEMS___ Day pack or saddlebags (to carry things during the day)
___ Warm sleeping bag (good at least to 30° F. - we can rent bags and
thinsolite pads if they are reserved in advance)
___ Foam pad or air mattress
___ Sunglasses (all glasses must have string/elastic strap)
___ Pocket knife
___ Canteen or plastic water bottles
Toiletries___ Towel & washcloth
___ Biodegradable soap
___ Toothbrush and toothpaste
___ Sun screen
___ Lip balm
___ Hand lotion
___ Shaving kit
___ Personal medication
___ Insect repellent
OPTIONAL___ Candy, gum or tobacco items
___ Camera and extra film (you may wish to include a disposable
waterproof camera for wet days, or those around the hot springs)
___ Note pad, field guides & field glasses
___ Cocktail liquor (place in unbreakable containers)
___ Cash for incidentals, fishing license, tips, alcohol, etc.
Pack your gear into your duffel bag, daypack or saddlebags, and a third,optional bag. The maximum weight allowable for your duffel bag is 40pounds (for the sake of the packhorses.) Your duffel bag will not beavailable during the day. Your daypack or saddlebags should hold raingear, water bottles, sunscreen, gloves and any other items you will wantduring the day. Your guide will show you how to best strap it to yoursaddle. Line the duffelbag and day bag with a garbage bag or ziplock. Tohelp reduce the weight on the pack horses, please separate out anything inyour luggage that you do not need to take on the packtrip with you andplace it in a separate, third bag marked with your name. We will be gladto keep it for you at the ranch until you return. The weather isunpredictable; it can snow even in August, so be prepared for anything.Use the layer system of clothing, where items can be added or taken offwith changes in temperature. On May, June or Sept trips snow and hail arecommon. The most important thing to bring is your cheerful acceptance ofwhatever surprises the wilderness may hold in store!
HAVE A GREAT TRIP!