Adventure Horseback, Horse Pack trips, Tours, Treks, Travel,
Climbs, Archaeological Expeditions, Exploration Vacations

Colorado, Peru, Mexico's Copper Canyon
Since 1970

MountaineeringAdventure SpecialistsAdventure Specialists inc
Sailing Adventuresand Bear Basin Ranch
Discovery and Adventure!

That describes us best. You may already know us, but for those
who have yet to share an adventure, here is the story:



We are a small company based at an 1880s 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, adventure wilderness treks, guided climbs, educational trips, research expeditions in Colorado's Sangre de Cristo Wilderness, Peru's Vilcabamba range, the Copper Canyon, Spain and Argentina.

Building on education and experiences, Gary teamed up with local families in1970 to do burro supported treks and horseback trips into Mexico's Copper Canyon. Gary started climbing while studying philosophy and geology at Colorado College. He later studied archaeology in Peru, eventually earning a Ph.d. Choosing a path of adventure, He has spent several decades exploring and leading research expeditions in the remote Andes that have rediscovered the improtant Inca sites of Cota Coca, Llactapata and Corihuayracina. He is a world recognized authority on the Inca and Machu Picchu.
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Gary is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society of London and the Explorers Club of New York.

His accomplishments include the discovery of important new archaeological sites and the first ascents of seven major ice peaks in Peru. 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. He trained the Mounted Posse unit and is a team leader of the local Search and Rescue.

Arriving on the scene in 1980, Amy Finger finished her degree in geology from the University of Colorado becoming a partner in the fledgling adventure company. With strong concerns for environmental protection and preservation of native cultures, Amy influenced our programs in the direction of low impact and positive contribution long before this became cool. Supported by Copper Canyon natives Geronimo and Jilo Mancinas, Amy has now led more than 100 trips to the depths of this great canyon. When home at Bear Basin Ranch, she heads the sheriff's mounted search and rescue team and manages the ranch's ramuda of horses and cows.

Meanwhile Gary continued our focus in Peru, guiding, leading expeditions and organizing groups. Joining British author, film maker, explorer Hugh Thomson, he put together the ongoing Andean Research Project to locate and study Inca ruins associated with Machu Picchu.

He has helped produce and has been featured in specials for the Discovery Channel, BBC, the History Channel and has been a guest expert on NPR's Science Friday.


Using the concept of archaeo tourism to fund studies, we continue planning research expeditions to remote areas while publishing findings. As an accredited archaeologist in Peru, Gary has access to projects and sites not available to tour companies.Over years of operation we have trained and retained the very best support staff, Guides, cooks, wranglers,drivers, program assistants available. We have deliberately avoided over used tourist areas such as The Inca Trail that every tour operator offers. Each year, we cook up a new exploratory adventure to keep life exciting

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.

BEAR BASIN RANCH is our home in southern Colorado. First utilized as a hunting ground for roaming bands of buffalo hunters, then as summer home to the Mountain Ute, Bear Basin was settled as part of the Silver Park Prospect in the 1860's becoming a homestead, cattle ranch, and finally, the home of our 70+ head of western horses, assorted long horn cows, deer and elk. Maintaining a true western flavor, the log buildings, bunkhouse, and barns look much as they did when early settlers came to dance to Mrs. Rickett's fiddle.

Bear Basin Ranch


In a beautiful hidden pocket of Colorado, Bear Basin Ranch lies in the shadow of the magnificent Sangre de Cristo Mountains. This range, stretching from Salida to Santa Fe, thrusts its peaks 14,000+ feet into the sky in one tremendous linear monument between the historic San Luis
and Wet Mountain valleys.

In an effort to maintain the land surrounding the Ranch in its historically remote and beautiful state, Bear Basin's 4000 acres are bound together by a Conservation easement which protects
the land from subdivision and development.

So--that's our story. We're not the big city travel company with 800 numbers and a staff of dozens ready to sell you a trip. When you call or e-mail, you reach our solar-powered, wood stove-heated, 1886 log cabin office at Bear Basin Ranch.

Perhaps Gary is in Peru, Amy in Spain or out pushing cows, but one of us will soon return your call. You can however, count on talking personally with someone who genuinely lives adventure with hands on knowledge of our programs.

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Phone 719 783-2076

Adventure Specialists
Bear Basin Ranch
Westcliffe, Colorado 81252

Copyright 1996 Adventure Specialists Inc.
Updated 2012