February 01, 2009 | Tips from Travellers >
Quesnel, Guest Ranches & Horseback Riding
View a larger image on flickr.com
In his books, Grass Beyond The Mountains, Nothing Too Good For A Cowboy, and The Rancher Takes A Wife; Richmond P. Hobson, Jr recounts the story of himself and fellow cowboy-adventurer, Panhandle Phillips. In 1934 they traveled from Wyoming to British Columbia in search of the last great North American cattle frontier, finally establishing the Frontier Cattle Company in 1937. Today it is possible to travel the trails blazed by Rich and Pan, guided by a third-generation Cariboo-country rancher who actually overnighted at Pan Phillips' fish camp in 1977, while riding to the Anahim Lake Stampede.
Dale and Yvonne Dunn own the Blackwater-Spruce Ranch, located about 60 Km north-west of Quesnel, on which they raise high quality Angus-Hereford cattle. They also conduct ranch-related activities such as spring branding, cattle drives, and horse trekking. They are the only operators in BC licensed to conduct horse treks on the Alexander Mackenzie Heritage Trail (AMHT). Last summer I joined Dale and Yvonne for a 10-day trek from the ranch to Kluskoil Lake Provincial Park and return, with overnight stops at Blackwater Crossing, at a primitive campsite along the AMHT, at Gillies Crossing Forestry Station on the Euchineko River and at Titetown Lake. The hospitality was outstanding, the scenery magnificent, and the experience unforgettable.
I am returning to the Blackwater-Spruce this summer (24 June - 14 July) for a spectacular 22-day, 400 mile ride to the Anahim Lake Stampede and return. This trek will follow the AMHT and the old Kluskus wagon road that Pan Phillips used until 1969 to drive his cattle to Quesnel. This trek will include overnight stops at Gillies Crossing, Titetown Lake, Kluskoil Lake, Pan Meadow crossing, Kluskus, and the home ranch, among others. For serious horsemen this adventure is unique in Canada. In fact there are very few operators in North America who offer horseback treks of this scope and duration.