A van came around to pick us up to take us out to the backcountry. It was about a 45 minute ride, so we had a lots of time to enjoy the awesome scenery and wildlife. Upon arrival, we were broken up into teams of twos and given a handheld GPS. The first part of the Adventure Trek is Geocaching. We would hike around the woods, looking for various waypoints using the GPS. After a quick lesson on how to use it, we were off! Each guide took about 2-3 teams each under their care, but we pretty much were left to navigate through the woods ourselves (just just followed us and pointed out interesting stuff). After setting the waypoints (the coordinates were already pre set into the GPS), we headed out through some waist high grass together with our guide and another couple.
The first waypoint that we were looking for is called BearBag. This is what we found when we arrived. A camping bag, hung high..way above the ground. This is what you should do when you are out camping. All food, deodorant, trash, anything that gives out a smell attracts bear. Also, the bags must be hung away from the campsite. The guides then went on to tell us all about bears and also gave tips of survival in the woods. Very interesting. Moving on...
We then continued on with the hike. Kevin was leading the group with his GPS most of the time, so I just merrily followed along and enjoyed the outdoors :P Our next waypoint was the "Watering Hole". This was actually an old cattle watering hole. It was pretty cool cos we had a chance to spot salamanders in the pond. It was just filled with salamanders! Also, we saw some of the biggest blue dragonflies ever, just hovering above the pond.
After spending quite a long time looking for salamanders in the pond, we continued on with our hike to find the next waypoint, "Fingers". When we arrived, the name "Fingers" then made sense. The tree was growing in such a weird position that it ended up looking like a palm with fingers. We also found something really interesting at this waypoint. You see, there will be a water bottle hung somewhere near each waypoint, to show us that we are on the right track. When we inspected the water bottle here, we saw that there were bear claws and teeth marks on it. The guide said that it's probably pretty recent. We also saw some bear dung at various places through out our hike. The guides were all prepare with pepper spray, in the event that we really met face to face with a bear. However, most of the bears in this parts are just small black bears, so there is no real danger :D
After that waypoint, our guide took over and lead us uphill towards a clearing. Here, we had a great view of the mountains and rivers. It was simply breathe taking. We also found some wild raspberries along the way, so we had some yummy berries to munch on! From there, we were told that our next waypoint is "Yurt". I knew that a yurt is an easy to set up round tent, used by the nomadic tribes in Mongolia. Hence, I was pretty interested to see why is there yurt in the middle of the woods in Montana!
After hiking for another 15 minutes or so, we saw this! Yeah, true enough, there was a yurt in the middle of a clearing! This also marks the end of the first part of the Adventure Trek. Now, the second part begins. This is where we will suit up in our gear for the zip line.
Since we were the first team to arrive, we had lots of time to rest up and relax. It wasn't that tough a hike anyways, it was downhill most of the time. There were ice cold Powerades, bottled water, coffee and snacks waiting for us inside the yurt.
Over at the other side, there were chairs lined up along the walls with all the equipment needed to go zip lining.
Once everybody arrived, we were taught how to put on the harness and all the other safety equipment. Of course the zip lining guides double checked to make sure that everybody got it right. We then signed our lives away (well, some form that says that we will not hold them responsible in the event of an accident) and headed out towards the zip lines.
All geared up and ready to zip! We came up with a plan on how we would take photos. Since there would be two zip lines, this is what we will do. Kevin would go first and he would take a video while zip lining. Then, we would let a person go in front of me and then I'll go. Kevin will then take a few photos of me while I come in. In the next line, he would pass me the camera to me and I would take a few photos of Kevin leaving. Since I was super terrified of dropping the camera into the river while zip lining, I'll just keep the camera in my pocket (after all, Kevin would have already taken a video of the zip line earlier, right?) when it was my turn to go. Sounds like a great plan, right?
Here is a photo of me coming in. It was really really fun!
He then passed me the camera and we moved along the line and headed towards the next zip line.
This is the river that we will be zipping over. The second line was way cooler than the first. I think it's higher (150ft) and you can see the river and stuff better.
The guide going through the 7 point safety check with Kevin. This is to make sure that everything is safe and ready to go.
And he is off!!! The van that dropped us off earlier in the morning was there at the other side to pick us up after everybody zipped across the river. Isn't that coool? I would just die if we had to hike uphill for about an hour or so to return to the point where he dropped us off earlier :P Another bumpy 45 minutes ride and we were back in town! Woohoo!! I think that the Adventure Trek my favorite activity at the ranch. Now, it's time for some lunch! Oh wait...where was the video that Kevin took??? :D Wellllll, when Kevin jumped off, he THOUGHT that he had already turned on the cam. He was merrily taking the video and when he arrived on the other side, he turned if off (so he thought). In actual fact, he had just turned it on. :( So, all that we had was some video footage of the ground and the voice of the guide asking "Did ya get videos?" and Kevin proudly replying "Yeah, I think so!". Hahaha! Wanna see our zip lining video? Here it is.
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