The road to Grande Cache reminded me a lot of our time riding through the Yukon and Alaska.
Muskeg began a few feet from the highway on both sides and there were no ranches, farms or towns in sight. Black spruce trees and raging rivers of all sizes, dotted the way.
On our second day out from Grande Prairie it started to rain and for three days it did not stop. It was a cold and miserable ride as the Smoky and Mac fought their way through the mud. All while oil and gas trucks flew down the road next to us. It was not a pleasurable experience, but like many times before, all I could do was put my head down and ride on.
My wild horses handled the first week back on the road extremely well! Thanks to the time we spent in Osoyoos getting them into shape, they were feeling great and looking great as well. With their muscles bulging, we trekked about 25 – 30 kilometers a day.
On the third day out I found a moose antler in the high grass. I have found a lot of things these past 8 years, like money, license plates, underwear, shoes and gloves for instance… But this was a real treat! Having fallen off a young male, it had 5 points on it. Unfortunately, the top point had broken off but other than that it was still intact. Hard to believe they grow these every year.
While chatting with a friendly stranger in his early 30’s, originally from Ottawa, I was told to be careful of the grizzlies in the area.
“This area you are crossing has the largest number of grizzly bears in the world,” he said to me sitting atop his ATV next to the road.
“Are you sure, because I think there are more in the Yukon,” I said to him explaining how many bears we had seen last year — at certain points 3 a day.
He didn’t buy it. Luckily, we never saw any bears but did get warned once that there was a large grizzly a few kilometers up ahead. He was gone by the time we got there.
After 7 long days in the saddle, with my body out of long riding shape from the long winter off — in pain — we arrived in the stunning town of Grande Cache.
With the snow capped Rocky Mountain cordillera in the horizon, I thanked Smokey and Mac for getting me this far by renting a corral for them at U Bar Ranch and buying extra hay from the owner.
“Now we rest kids,” I said before giving each horse his grain.