Tracking Mountain Lions – Colorado

£500.00£1,895.00

9 days
USA
Hard
Wildlife tracking and trailing
10

This expedition will take you into remote, unspoilt wilderness. It will be an intensive week of tracking and trailing, with each day spent searching out and following trails of mountain lion, bear, coyote, bobcat and other large mammals. You will expand your natural history knowledge and learn all the essentials of good trailing practice, dramatically improve your understanding of wildlife sign interpretation and gain the ability to assess the landscape for animal whereabouts. You will see few other people and be fully immersed in nature. This is a true ‘get away from it all’ trip, there will be no wifi and mobile phones do not work in most of the areas we will be hiking in. We carry a satellite phone in case of emergencies.

 

This semi-arid region is around 2000 metres in altitude so we will take it easy for our first day at our base before going further afield. This gives time to unwind and get in tune with your new surroundings whilst learning the basics of tracking wildlife in this environment. We will cover mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates and explore movement and gaits.

 

This expedition expands on the teaching of our UK Tracking courses but focuses on the bigger predators of North America. We are really excited to be working with Casey McFarland on this expedition. Casey is an expert in this environment having contributed to the book Mammal Tracks and Sign – A Guide to North American Species by Mark Elbroch, and co-authored Peterson Field Guide to North American Bird Nests and Bird Feathers: A Guide to North American Species. Like Ben McNutt, Casey is certified within the CyberTracker system and is also an official assessor. Casey and Ben will be with you for the whole expedition making this an amazing opportunity for learning trailing and geeking-out about track and sign.

 

Contact Us to register your interest for this trip in 2022.

 

 

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Description

This expedition will take you into remote, unspoilt wilderness. It will be an intensive week of tracking and trailing, with each day spent searching out and following trails of mountain lion, bear, coyote, bobcat and other large mammals. You will expand your natural history knowledge and learn all the essentials of good trailing practice, dramatically improve your understanding of wildlife sign interpretation and gain the ability to assess the landscape for animal whereabouts. You will see few other people and be fully immersed in nature. This is a true ‘get away from it all’ trip, there will be no wifi and mobile phones do not work in most of the areas we will be hiking in. We carry a satellite phone in case of emergencies.

This semi-arid region is around 2000 metres in altitude so we will take it easy for our first day at our base before going further afield. This gives time to unwind and get in tune with your new surroundings whilst learning the basics of tracking wildlife in this environment. We will cover mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates and explore movement and gaits.

This expedition expands on the teaching of our UK Tracking courses but focuses on the bigger predators of North America. We are really excited to be working with Casey McFarland on this expedition. Casey is an expert in this environment having contributed to the book Mammal Tracks and Sign – A Guide to North American Species by Mark Elbroch, and co-authored Peterson Field Guide to North American Bird Nests and Bird Feathers: A Guide to North American Species. Like Ben McNutt, Casey is certified within the CyberTracker system and is also an official assessor. Casey and Ben will be with you for the whole expedition making this an amazing opportunity for learning trailing and geeking-out about track and sign.

The first two nights will be acclimatising in comfortable ‘glamping’ tents, then we will venture into the backcountry with lightweight camping gear, carrying our supplies and camping where the wildlife takes us.

We will be based on private land bordering Mesa Verde National park. This was the home of the Ancestral Pueblo people between 600 to 1300 CE. We may see ancient fragments of pottery and pictographs or petroglyphs on the rocks. We plan to hike on Ute Tribal land to be shown ancient cliff dwellings.

This is the transition zone between arid scrublands to the south and the forested montane environment of the Rocky Mountains to the north. The area supports a great diversity of wildlife including resident and migratory mammals and birds. There are a large number of reptiles, but none that are a treat to humans. There is an abundance of wildlife in this beautiful landscape and we should see many species as well as finding plenty of tracks.

  • Days: Tuesday pm – Wednesday am (8 Nights)
  • Location: Colorado Plateau, USA
  • Food & Accommodation: Fully catered and includes camping fees
  • Activity: Wildlife Tracking & Trailing Skills
  • Group Size: 10 (maximum)
  • Physical Rating: Hard
  • 2022 Dates: TBC

Highlights

  • Wildlife behaviour
  • Natural history
  • Sign interpretation
  • Encounter protocols
  • Assessing landscape
  • Moving smoothly
  • Stealth & camouflage
  • Skull & bones
  • Scat & droppings
  • Clear print analysis
  • Trailing skills
  • Track ageing
  • Movement & gaits
  • Lures & calls
  • Landscape evaluation
  • Cliff dwellings

 

Inclusions

Included

  • Casey McFarland’s expert tuition.
  • Two Wild Human expedition leaders and trackers.
  • All food (snacks and meals) and soft drinks.
  • Internal transport as outlined in itinerary.
  • Special in-country permits and permissions.

Not included

  • International flights/ travel.
  • Travel insurance (obligatory).
  • Alcohol
  • Personal equipment (full kit list in the Notes Section).

General Information

Visa and passport requirements: UK citizens require a valid passport and an ‘ESTA’ to visit the USA. This can take up to 72 hours, for more details see https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/usa. Non-UK citizens should check requirements for their country.

Health requirements: If you do not hold a UK passport, please check your government’s health requirements. UK citizens should check: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/usa/health or https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations/north-america/united-states-of-america. Please ensure you have Travel Insurance that covers hiking and includes medical cover in the USA. Please check your insurer’s policies on cancellations due to Covid-19. Please ensure that you are physically fit for hiking carrying a rucksack, before the expedition, contact us if you require further details.

Difficulty rating: This expedition is rated as ‘Hard’ due to steep, rocky sections of hiking. These will be encountered whilst carrying a rucksack. Please ensure, prior to the expedition, that you are comfortable with carrying your full rucksack.

Minimum numbers: This expedition requires a minimum number of 7 to go ahead. We will inform you 8 weeks before the start date whether the expedition will be going ahead to allow time for you to book your flights. Please DO NOT book any flights before hearing from us that the expedition will be going ahead. The balance of payment is due 8 weeks prior to the start date. If you book less than 8 weeks before the start date please pay in full.

Covid-19 regulations: We will make a decision 8 weeks before the start date as to whether the expedition is able to go ahead due to current Covid-19 regulations. if the expedition cannot go ahead at this point, we will refund monies paid in full.

Special requirements: If you have any special requirements, please contact us prior to booking and we will do our best to accommodate them.

Complaints: We are able to consider complaints within 6 months from the date of the conduct complained about.

Variables: We plan to spend a day in Ute Mountain Tribal Park. This area has it’s own regulations regarding Covid-19 and we cannot guarantee that they will allow us to visit. The outline itinerary needs to remain flexible to take into account inclement weather conditions and other unexpected events.

Average temperatures: October – day 16℃, night 2℃

Average rainfall: October – under 5cm

Average snowfall: October – 5cm

Suggested reading: Mammal Tracks & Sign: A Guide to North American Species by Mark Elbroch, Casey McFarland

Personal Equipment:

Rip-stop cotton is ideal due to its evaporative ability, and long-sleeve shirts and trousers made from this material are excellent for desert and semi-arid conditions. Light earth-tone colours should be chosen, to help blend in with the environment, and to provide a degree of solar reflection. A fleece pile jacket or wool sweater is recommended for evenings and a raincoat is advisable.

  • 3-season sleeping bag  – the weather will be average 16C during the day, dropping as low as 2C at night.
  • Rucksack – 60-70 lt. should be fine. Just make sure it is comfortable to walk with when full.
  • Cut-down cheap foam mat (if using with a thermarest, then just a yoga mat will do, to protect from thorns).
  • Thermarest (optional for comfort – a ¾ length would be best)
  • Head torch and spare batteries
  • Toothbrush and small paste
  • Small pack of wet-wipes
  • Small med kit and personal medication (we can send a suggested contents list if you’d like)
  • Leather hiking boots, preferably over ankle for support
  • Wool socks x 3 – ideally loop stitch merino
  • Cotton cargo trousers (no zip-offs… they rub) light colour
  • Tough cotton shirt light colour… think thorns
  • Wide brim hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen – P20 works well
  • A large mug (can double as a bowl)
  • Knife / fork / spoon
  • Swiss army knife
  • Loud whistle – for geographical embarrassment
  • Compass – for geographical embarrassment
  • 4-litre water bladder (MSR and Ortleib are good)
  • 2 x 1-litre water bottles
  • Foil survival blanket
  • 10 mt. Paracord, or similar light cord
  • Camping stove TBC

 

Optional Extras

  • Camera / phone / battery pack
  • Binoculars
  • Kindle
  • Sheath knife
  • Folding saw
  • UV torch (key-ring size) for spotting scorpions at night
  • Swimmers and Towel – there are creeks and small rivers
  • Shorts
  • Sandals, light shoes – for around camp
  • Civvies – travel clothes
  • Wash kit
  • Cash for beers / curios

DO I NEED PRIOR EXPERIENCE? Not at all! If you enjoy being outdoors and are keen to learn – we will welcome your company. Although previous camping experience can be an advantage on the Expeditions, it is not essential. Some of our more advanced courses do have pre-requisites; please see course details.

CAN I ATTEND ON MY OWN? Yes! Our expeditions are aimed at private individuals who have a passion to learn. Although some people attend in pairs or small groups, the vast majority of our groups are made up of individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds.

WHAT ABOUT BAD WEATHER? Courses will run in all but the most extreme weather conditions. Bad weather makes learning the skills more challenging and harder to master, but you will be rewarded with a higher level of ability and a greater sense of achievement.

SANITATION & HYGIENE – It is an essential part of wilderness living and you will be given clear instruction about latrines, considerations for wilderness travel and base camp life, and a few simple protocols about hygienic use upon arrival to base camp.

CAN I ATTEND FROM CONTINENTAL EUROPE AND BEYOND? Yes! We would ask that you find out if you require any special Visas for the country you will be travelling to.

WHERE CAN I STAY BEFORE/AFTER MY COURSE? Please contact us and we will be able to give you some recommendations for places to stay and things to do

WHAT WILL I BE EATING? All meals are cooked on site. Food preparation and cooking will be a joint effort, involving both students and staff. All of our full time staff all hold ‘food handling and hygiene’ certificates. All our courses and expeditions are fully catered, however you may be required to cook for yourself or in groups on occasion.  Course participants are usually pleasantly surprised by the high standard of the food and meals we provide, however please remember that this is an expedition style base camp and therefore has inherent limitations with regards to producing meals to cater for individual tastes. Whilst we are proud of the tasty, nutritious meals we produce with basic amenities, but our focus is to educate, not to compete with restaurants. Alcohol will not be provided during expeditions.

We are happy to cater for medical intolerance’s, allergies and for vegetarian diets, but please let us know when you place your booking. However, we do not cater for preferences or mild intolerance’s.  If you are in doubt then do contact us to discuss options. If you have very specific requirements or very serious allergies then you may be asked to bring your own food and cooking equipment so please inquire about this before booking on-line.

ARE THE COURSES TOUGH? Our Expeditions should be viewed as being a wilderness education experience and not as an ordinary holiday. They are educational courses, but just as importantly, they are a ‘hands on’ experience and at times can be quite challenging. Due to the nature of the location and the course content, you will be expected to take short hikes over uneven terrain, therefore a good level of fitness is required – on occasion you will be wet, muddy, tired, too hot, too cold, frustrated and exhilarated!

IS IT SAFE? “Adventure is a romantic name for trouble…” At Wild Human the opposite is true, as you will get the opportunity to learn wilderness living skills in a safe and controlled environment, where making mistakes will not put you in danger. However you must come in the knowledge that no outdoor activity is entirely without risk, as you may be using sharp tools or walking across uneven terrain. Accidents can happen. We advise you take out adequate adventure travel insurance for the duration of your course or expedition.

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