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Riding Into the Wilderness: Horseback Journey in the Rocky Mountains

Program Number: 17417RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/11/2014 - 7/16/2014; 7/10/2015 - 7/15/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Gunnison, Colorado
Price starting at: $949.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Intergenerational; Outdoor Adventures, Misc.
Intergenerational
Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 15; 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; None; None; None    

Program intended for grandchildren from 9 - 14 years of age.

Saddle up with your grandchild to experience the cowboy life in the remote wilderness of the West Elk Mountains in the Gunnison National Forest. Take a field trip to a working ranch, then journey to one of the most spectacular areas of the Rockies to camp with seasoned outfitters and learn about nature, wildlife and orienteering. Go on nature explorations via horseback, and learn how to care for the animals. Enjoy cowboy games, Western-style meals and star gaze next to the campfire on clear nights.




Highlights

• Attend Cattleman’s Day Rodeo and learn about rodeo events and traditions.
• Learn animal-tracking skills, and be on the lookout for elk, bighorn sheep and more.
• Practice the ethics of “Leave No Trace” camping during your stay in the backcountry.



Activity Particulars

Elevations of 13,000 feet. Walking on uneven terrain and hills; hikes up to one mile; horseback riding.



Coordinated by Western State College.




Gunnison

Everything from historical attractions and abundant summer sunshine to golf and education draw people to this small onetime mining town in west-central Colorado, though it is as the idyllic gateway to the Gunnison National Forest, the West Elk Wilderness, Crested Butte and other protected areas that Gunnison has truly made its name.



Accommodations
On campus residence hall rooms with two twin beds and private bath; walled camp tents with cots and restroom facilities.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Fred Stinson

Growing up underneath the rock spires of the Western Elk Range of Colorado, Fred Stinson shares his expertise on the lost art of wilderness travel in one of the country’s most secluded areas. He has been sharing his love of the rugged, untamed wilds and his experience with travelers for sometime. As an Eagle Scout and Assistant Scoutmaster at the Boy Scout Jamboree, Fred’s expertise of the land is unmatched—Scout’s honor!
 
Rogene McKiernan

With her master’s in outdoor recreation and leadership from Western Illinois University, hands-on experience and passion for the land and its preservation, Rogene McKiernan combines her two loves of teaching and the outdoors. Former facilitator of Project Wild and Learning Tree and instructor for Outward Bound, learn about her personal philosophies of risk management, leave-no-trace and safety first as Rogene leads you into a world of unspoiled beauty.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Western State College
  Gunnison, Colorado 2 nights
   West Elk Base camp
  West Elk Wilderness 3 nights
 Western State College
Type: Campus/Dorm
  Description: Residence hall apartment with two twin beds, kitchenette, and living room. Furnished with basic furniture. No kitchen utensils, pans or dishes are provided. One set of linens provided.
  Contact info: 600 N . Adams
Gunnison, CO 81231 USA
phone: 970-943-2885
web: www.western.edu/extendedstudies
  Room amenities: Furnished residence hall apartment. Includes two twin beds, dresser, stove, refrigerator - no kitchen utensils, pans or dishes provided.
  Facility amenities: Residence hall apartment with two twin beds, kitchenette, and living room. Furnished with basic furniture. No kitchen utensils, pans or dishes are provided. One set of linens provided.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior:  Not available.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 West Elk Base camp
Type: Tents
  Description: A first-class outfitters camp located in the heart of the West Elk Wilderness. Surrounded by pristine mountains and spectacular scenery, a perfect setting for an adventure-filled trip.
  Contact info: West Elk Wilderness
Gunnison, CO 81230 USA
phone: 970-943-2885
  Room amenities: Camp in wall tents with wall to wall carpeting, spring beds with mattresses, pillows.
  Facility amenities: This is camping at its finest, as close to luxury as camping can be! The camp is equipped with two 12x20 wall tents for sleeping quarters. Furnishings include wall to wall carpeting, spring beds with mattresses and pillows, and propane or solar lanterns. Clean and warm sleeping bags are available for rent or guests can bring their own sleeping bag rated to 20+ degrees. Camp also features a latrine facility, and dining tent where delicious Western style meals will be served.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: Latrine in the woods. Small one person tent with latrine inside.
  Additional nights after: No available 


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
3:00 p.m. You will be staying at Western State College that night.
  End of Program:
3:00 p.m. You will be staying at West Elk Base camp the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Required Western State College liability waivers and Outfitter's waiver required.
  Parking availability:
On-campus parking available for free. Participants can leave their cars on campus during the wilderness portion of the trip.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Gunnison, Colorado
  Nearest city or town:  Gunnison, Colorado
  Nearest highway: Highway 50
  Nearest airport:  Gunnison (GUC)
  From End of Program
  Location: Gunnison, Colorado
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Gunnison

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Alpine Express
phone: 970-641-5074
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Call for prices
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

10 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

2 miles

   

Contact Alpine Express to make arrangements for shuttle service from Gunnison Airport to Western State Colorado University campus housing.

 

Denver

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

None - Car Required
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Varies
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

4.5 hours from Denver 

 

Distance:

 

200 miles from Denver

   

Rental cars are available at Denver International Airport.

 
Driving Directions
  Denver, CO From I-70 west, exit I-470 south towards Colorado Springs. From I-470 , Exit US 285 south towards Fairplay. Follow US 285 to Poncha Springs. Turn right, west, on US 50. Follow US 50 for approximately 60 miles to Gunnison. Turn right (north) on Colorado St. to campus lodging.
  Grand Junction, CO Follow US 50 to Montrose, CO. Head east on US 50 from Montrose to Gunnison. Turn left (north) on Colorado Street to campus lodging.
Elevation Note: Gunnison area elevation ranges from 7700 feet to 13,500.

Equipment Requirements: Warm sleeping bag rated to +20 degrees; clothing for a variety for weather conditions; sturdy walking/hiking shoes and tennis or close toed shoes to wear around camp; day pack; water bottle or hydration pack; personal toiletries and towel; if you own cowboy boots bring them - don't go buy them; helmet for child & adult if you wish, can use bike helmets. For horse packing each pair will receive an army duffel to pack all of your belongings going into base camp.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrive in Gunnison. Check into campus residence halls. Get acquainted with other particpants. Eat dinner in the campus dining hall. Meet the wranglers and learn about the activities planned, horsepacking, and base camp.
(Friday, July 11)

Note: Get acquainted and settled into your room on campus. Meet with your outfitters.



   
 Afternoon: Check into campus residence halls.
 Afternoon: Get acquainted activity
 Dinner: Enjoy dinner in the campus dining hall and get to know our fellow participants.
 Evening: Meet the ranglers! Learn about the horses, horsepacking and life at base camp.
   
Accommodations: Western State College
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Learn cowboy skills such as how to rope with a lasso. Visit a working goat ranch - run by children who live in the Gunnison area. Learn about rodeo events, technique and traditions. Attend the evening Cattleman's Day Rodeo.
(Saturday, July 12)

Note: Practice and perfect your cowboy skills. Participants should be prepared to walk 1/2 mile and do some light physical activity.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the campus dining hall..
 Morning: Visit local attractions which help to understand the ranching in this area. This day will also help with acclimatization to 7,700 feet elevation.
 Lunch: Lunch in campus dining hall.
 Afternoon: Learn about the area from local experts. Travel to nearby locations to see some of what Gunnison Country has to offer.
 Dinner: Dinner at campus dining hall.
 Evening: Attend the Cattleman's Rodeo, one of the oldest in Colorado.
   
Accommodations: Western State College
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Travel by van 20 miles to the trailhead. Enjoy lunch then climb onto your horse. Ride 2.5 hours into the West Elk Wilderness through beautiful forests surrounded by majestic peaks. Arrive at base camp, in the heart of the wilderness.
(Sunday, July 13)

Note: Be ready to pack up and head into the wilderness on horseback. Participants will ride by horseback for 2.5 hours, up to an elevation of 11,000 feet.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the campus dining hall.
 Morning: Pack up your gear and load up the van. Travel 20 miles north to the trailhead. Prepare the horses for the trail ride to base camp.
 Lunch: Enjoy a sack lunch at the trailhead.
 Afternoon: Ride horseback to base camp, approximately 2.5 hour ride. Ride thorugh beautiful meadows and forests, surrounded by spectacular Rocky Mountain scenery. Base camp is equiped with 12x20 wall tents accommodating up to five quests each. Furnishings include wall to wall carpeting, spring beds with mattresses and pillow ( you will need to bring a warm sleep bag rated to 20 degrees), a latrine facility, tack tent, guide quarters, and a shower tent with hot water are also at base camp. Meals will be eaten in the dining tent.
 Dinner: Relax with a campfire dinner prepared by the outfitter guides.
   
Accommodations: West Elk Base camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: If this is your day at base camp, your activities may include horseback riding, cowboy games, tomahawk throwing, archery, campfire cooking, horse shoe throwing and horse shoe art, panning for gold, fishing, pellet gun shooting, nature exploration, campfire and star gazing. Participate in activities from Project Wild.
(Monday, July 14)

Note: Experience the great outdoors in the wilderness. Camp is at 11,000 feet. Activities require moderate exertion.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at camp.
 Morning: Participants explore on a horse ride into the area for one day and the next day the outdoor activities. Camp chores include caring for the horses and tack. Learn how to Leave No Trace in the wilderness area.
 Lunch: Lunch at camp
 Afternoon: Continue with morning's activities.
 Dinner: Dinner
   
Accommodations: West Elk Base camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: If this is your day for riding, expect to groom your horse, help saddle up and spend 2 - 3 hours riding in the wilderness. Expect to learn about the area from your wranglers.
(Tuesday, July 15)

Note: Lots of fun activities at camp. Activities range from easy to moderate and are tailored to the participant's abilities. Elevation 11,000 feet.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in camp.
 Morning: Participants will choose a horse ride into the area for one day and the next day the outdoor activities.
 Lunch: Lunch at camp
 Afternoon: A trip to a working ranch operated by local cowboys is part of the schedule during these two days. Participants will see first hand living quarters of a trail ranch cowboy.
 Dinner: Dinner at camp.
   
Accommodations: West Elk Base camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Celebrate your family and the course. Pack and clean up camp. Lunch and ride horses 2.5 hours back to the trail head. Unload the horses and travel in vans back to campus.
(Wednesday, July 16)

Note: Enjoy your final morning at camp, camp clean up and family celebration. Ride horseback 2.5 hours down the trail to the vans. Travel back to your room on campus. You may clean up before packing if your wish. Check out and turn in keys by 3 pm before heading home.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at camp.
 Morning: The morning will be spent doing activities from Project Wild. As a closing activity, everyone will join in celebrating the experience. . We will pack and clean up the camp.
 Lunch: Lunch at camp
 Afternoon: Leave after lunch for the trail ride back to the trailhead, weather permitting. Ride your horse 2.5 hours back to trail head taking in the last of the mountain scenery. Unload the horses and gear. Get in the vans to travel back to Gunnison and Western State College. Complete course evaluations with a planned ending time of 5:00 pm. There will be no dinner provided.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


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