Saddle Up for an Adventure

     Many families will spend an hour or two riding horses in Sierra National Forest this year.
     My family did this as well. Then, 41 years ago this summer, I climbed aboard a horse to begin a six day pack trip into the backcountry with my kids.
     Although I had been camping and fishing since childhood, I figured I knew what to expect. Boy, was I wrong. The alpine lakes, rushing streams, lush meadows, wildlife, granite formations and sounds of the forest were incredible.
     But, hey don’t take my word for it. Go see for yourself!
     Packing outfitters typically offer the following:
     All Expense Trips. A deluxe service that includes stock, packers, cooks, food and camping equipment. A custom itinerary is created for you. It covers the menu, livestock, guides and trip objectives.
     Base Camps: Ride to your predesignated campsite where your tent camp has been moved
in by mule prior to your arrival. Stay in one location. All meals are provided. You have your own personal horse for daily rides.      Spot Trips: You ride to your destination. Your provisions are moved by pack animal to your preferred location. The stock and packer return for you on a predetermined date. You provide your own camping gear and food.
     Continuous Hire: Packer and livestock stay with your party during your trip. You provide your own camping gear, provisions and meals. including packers.
Bring Your Own Stock
     For those with their own riding stock, the Sierra National Forest provides excellent opportunities for trail riding and overnight camping.
     Horseback riders will share trails with hikers. Practice trail courtesy, traveling single file to avoid widening trails or damage to vegetation. Do not cut switchbacks. Pack out what you bring in.
     Only 25 pack stock are permitted in the wilderness with any group. You must pack in all of the feed for your animals. Supplemental certified weed-free feed such as alfalfa pellets or crimped oats, are recommended.
     Pack and saddle stock must NOT be tied within 100 feet of any water, trails, or campsites. Don’t tie stock to small trees, trees must be 18 inches and over.
     In wilderness areas several areas on the forest provide camping facilities and corrals for equestrian users.
Overnight stays in the wilderness require a Wilderness Permit.