Kootenay youth headed into the backcountry of Height of the Rockies Provincial Park this summer for a six-day wilderness adventure on Wildsight’s Go Wild! trip.

Deep in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, youth ages 14-18 visited some of the most rugged and remote wilderness of the region. Rich in history and wildlife, with soaring mountain peaks, beautiful river valleys and abundant forests and alpine meadows, they learned about the wildlife that the park protects.

A brief, but friendly, encounter with a grizzly bear near their first camp site added to the excitement. But they were safe and in good hands—Wildsight trip leaders Dave Quinn, a wildlife biologist, and Leah Evans, a professional skier, are both certified Mountain Guides.

Trip highlights included being surrounded in a wilderness area where meeting with goat, elk and deer was a daily occurrence. “One evening, we even had a lone billy goat scale a tower right above camp, standing silhouetted against the skyline, looking over us. That was pretty special,” said Quinn.

For many of the participants, the hiking trip opens the door to a lifetime of wilderness adventure. As Quinn shares, “I was lucky to have similar, week-long wilderness hike experiences in my early teens, and I really think these were a key part of my life-long love of wild spaces and wildlife. For me it feels critical and natural to help facilitate similar connections with wilderness for the next generation.”

The hikers learned everything from how to start a fire, read a topographic map, plan a route without trails, staying safe around wildlife, mountain ecology, backcountry ethics and more.

“To travel through these wild spaces, be self-sufficient, and rely on ourselves to cook, camp and travel safely through some iconic Rocky Mountain scenery is the opportunity of a lifetime. This generation will need to decide what we do with these last pockets of connected wilderness, so it is important that they get a chance to experience them to understand their value, and what they offer us” added Quinn.

For more information, visit wildsight.ca/gowild. Wildlight would like to thank the Province of British Columbia for their support.

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