Underwriting provided by:
Backcountry Horsemen in the Selkirks
Back Country Horsemen is a nationwide organization that has numerous state charters and local chapters. In Idaho there are fifteen chapters throughout the state. The mission of the group is to help maintain trails in the back country so that they will remain open for all users…not just horsemen. The chapters assist various governmental agencies with maintenance on public lands and try to promote wise use of the resources. The Priest River Valley chapter does most of their work in north Idaho. In this area the Selkirk Mountains are one of the prime places for recreation and trail riding. And when members aren't working on trails or education they love to get away for a ride high into the Selkirks.
"The Selkirks..they are a beautiful, inhospitable mountain range and yet you can come up here and feel absolutely at home. It's our life, it's not our livelihood but it's our life. It's what we live for; at least that's what I live for. It's for horseback riding. I'm retired and I've got to have something to do."
"I feel real fortunate and lucky that I can own riding stock and be able to ride into an area like this and enjoy it in relative comfort. I can go to some of these areas that I wouldn't otherwise be able to get to. All of us might have a little different regime for getting our horses ready but for me it's time on the trail. They need the experience and they need conditioning and that's what makes a good trail horse, is just experience."
Horses and riders can hone their skills on rugged trails like the eight mile ride into Fault Lake. On trails like these the animals learn to pace themselves as they climb the steep slopes of mountains. Sure footed horses also learn to step around boulders and make difficult stream crossing.
All the work of crossing streams, negotiating boulders and riding for hours is rewarded when the riders reach the highlight of the trip…Fault Lake. Here jagged peaks, pristine waters, and dramatic vistas welcome the travelers.
"You know when you get up here it's worth the ride and it's worth the walk and you can forget about your chores at home for a half a day and forget about the job if you need to and it's just nice to be up here It's the scenery and the solitude and being able to forget about the rest of the world for just an hour or two."
Whether it's the dramatic backdrop of Fault Lake or another location in the Selkirk Mountains and beyond, the Back Country Horsemen value these amazing places. They believe maintaining trails and preserving access is an important legacy. It's a mission that means a great deal to them.
"When I'm out here I'm next to God. That's it. Don't know how else to say it.