From The winners of the 2015 Nature Canada Photo Contest, Howard and Jackie.
Our adventure with Copper Cayuse Outfitters started with a warm welcome from our hosts Don Coggins and Dudley Kennett, wrangler Julie-Ann, and “our” horses Smokey and Freddy. It wasn’t too long on the first days’ ride before we quickly learned we were in good care with these sure footed horses. The trails we rode covered mountain terrain that provided magnificent views as we continued to higher elevations. Upon our arrival at base camp we enjoyed refreshments before embarking on a short ride to Birkenhead Lake where we cooled off with a late afternoon swim in the lake. Base camp is well equipped with tents and cots, a cook shelter, and shower with hot and cold water! While sitting around the evening campfire we learned about the history of the mines and traded stories. Our second day started with a hearty breakfast, and then we were off to the mines. The horseback ride to the mines passes tree lined mountain lakes and distant grizzly bear recovery areas. Smokey and Freddy were the stars placing each hoof with precision while safely carrying us up steep narrow mountain trails to the mines, and back down. Entering the mine was like stepping back in time to when the ore was carried on horseback down the same trails we traveled. Suppers on both evenings was everything one would expect on a trail ride; baked beans and fresh salads served with thick juicy cuts of meat and home-made desserts. After another hearty breakfast the third day ride back to the ranch covered trails that we purposely hadn’t seen on the previous two days to ensure everyday was a new adventure.
I would like to extend our gratitude to Nature Canada for providing us with this opportunity after winning the 2015 photo contest, and Copper Cayuse Outfitters for donating the prize by providing an authentic Canadian Signature adventure. The historic Li-lik-hel Mine Expedition isn’t an easy horseback ride on flat terrain but is well suited for those who enjoy the great outdoors. The staff and horses ensure all levels of horsemanship will have a unique experience. Don, Dudley and Julie-Ann made us feel at ease and comfortable with the horses while we developed a bond with “our” Smokey and Freddy.