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First Nations aboriginal cultural tours in the BC Rocky Mountains


Immerse yourself in the culture of the North American First Nations people on one of these wilderness tours in the BC Rocky Mountains. The native North American culture is a truly fascinating thing to experience, as is their rich history in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Both are inseparable from their environment, those wide expanses of nature and wilderness that gave them reason for being, and these unique adventure packages were created to give you the opportunity to have this experience for yourself-walk away with some of those "beautiful and good things"-instead of just imagining it.  

The Elk Runner package is a unique weekend based on traditional native teachings where adventure will take on many new and exciting dimensions - physical, mental, and emotional. In many cultures, elk teachings are those of reflection and stamina; the ability to engage with your life and decisions in a way of understanding, compassion, community, and acceptance. This weekend, you will first have the opportunity to reflect on and build your connection with the earth and natural world on a nature walk that will allow you to relax and have fun in your new remote surroundings. There is much that nature gives us and much we have forgotten about it. This package can reconnect that bond between the earth and the human spirit, instilling you with the renewed endeavor and understanding of Elk.

The Spirit Walker package was created to give you an exciting wilderness adventure, including hiking, backpacking, exploring, and river rafting, alongside the opportunity to experience the wilderness through native eyes. Connecting with the natural world in this way will be an enlightening and refreshing experience that will also help you relax in your new remote surroundings as we partake in some native ceremonies at the end of the week. The early ancestors of the Kootenay River valley and surrounding areas become our spiritual guides this week as we have fun digging down into the essence of the Canadian Rocky Mountains and beyond.

STARTING AT
$1488.00 CAD
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TRIP DETAILS
DESTINATION
EQUIPMENT/CLOTHING
ACCOMMODATIONS
MEALS & DINING
DATES & PRICING
ITINERARY
TRIP TYPE
Aboriginal Culture
SEASON

June to September

DIFFICULTY
Easy / Moderate
MAXIMUM GROUP SIZE
20
GUIDE INFORMATION

All cultural and wilderness activities are guided by local elders.

RESTRICTIONS
Not Applicable
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Not Applicable
TRANSPORTATION

Trips originate and end in Kootenay National Park, a half hour from the world famous Radium Hot Springs, British Columbia, and one hour from Banff and Lake Louise, Alberta. 

 

WEATHER

Summer temperatures range from 15 to 25 degrees Celsius.

REGION
Southern Rocky Mountains
PROVIDED EQUIPMENT

All equipment for native cultural demonstrations and activities. Permits, use of the main lodge and hot tub.

SUGGESTED CLOTHING

Rain gear, warm jacket, fleece underclothes, long pants, hiking boots, t-shirts, shorts, bathing suit.

SUGGESTED ITEMS

Camera, day pack, sunglasses, sunscreen, water bottle.

ACCOMMODATIONS

The main building is a spacious and clean mountain lodge with kitchen and bathroom facilities, pure mountain water, log-furnished living room, two large decks, outdoor wood-fired hot tub, and a cozy view of the mountains across the Kootenay River valley.

The private cabins are nestled amidst the trees around a picturesque clearing south of the main lodge. All are within a 10-60 second walk from the lodge, and are decorated in various themes that reflect their wilderness setting. Each contain a queen-sized log bed, a twin bed, a three-piece bathroom, and a cozy-corner fireplace. The whole wilderness retreat is a self-sufficient, eco-sensitive facility, powered by solar and hydro energy. It was developed with our environmental responsibility policy in mind, which works to ensure a thriving nature and wildlife, and a more pure enjoyment of the beautiful wilderness around us. 

Tipi accommodations are also available.

MEALS & DINING

MEALS & DINING

All meals are included and prepared at the main lodge.

4 day tour, available July - September
$1488.00 / per person - CAD
Elk Runner. Based on double occupancy. Cabin accommodations.
6 day tour, available mid June - mid September
$2680.00 / per person - CAD
Spirit Walker. Based on double occupancy. Cabin accommodations.
PAYMENT INFORMATION
Pricing does not include: 5.00% GST.

A $150.00 deposit is required to hold your reservation.

Balance of payment is due 30 days before trip commencement.
CANCELLATION POLICY & DETAILS
Deposit - $150.00 CAD upon registration; balance due 30 days prior to your the starting date. Cancel - at least 60 days prior to your starting date: full refund less deposit - 60-30 days prior: 50% refund, less deposit - 29 days, or less, prior: no refund or deposit - Alternatively, if a last minute cancellation is required, funds can also be credited towards another tour package within one year.

4 day tour, available July - September

Day 1

Your arrival to the lodge, followed by introductions and a chance to settle in to your cabin, or tipi (whichever you booked ahead of time). Afterwards, we come together for a delicious meal and some introductions on a walk around the wilderness retreat with our resident elder. We close the day with some relaxation/free time, and/or a campfire.

Day 2

We are busy today with various cultural activities that build on traditions and teachings. We could do a nature walk or spend the afternoon at the teepee encampment learning about some traditional wilderness skills, and possibly some traditional games, and/or crafts. Activities could include making fire with two sticks, traditional drums, dreamcatchers, baskets, or rattles.

Day 3

After the morning talking with the First Nations elder, we feast and come together again around a final campfire for many stories, music and laughs.

Day 4

We part ways until next time.

6 day tour, available mid June - mid September

Day 1

At 8:00am, we will meet at the Cross River Wilderness Centre main lodge for introductions and breakfast together. After breakfast, we will finish up any last-minute packing details, then head out for a two-night backpacking base camp adventure. At the trailhead, we will have an on-location safety talk, and begin the hike with a slow pace, up to a high subalpine mountain pass and ridgeline. We follow a river through dense forest, avalanche slopes, and subalpine marsh and meadow eco-systems. Once up to the pass, we will set up our base camp adjacent to a nearby river or lake. We will have free time in the evening to visit and settle in to our new surroundings.

Day 2

Today presents us with one of the benefits of base camping—out-trip choices. After breakfast, we will pack up some small day packs and head out to probably one of two places. Depending on group circumstances, we can either continue along the ridgeline, to another subalpine lake, which will also allow us to reach above treeline, with moderate physical or mental exertion; or we can challenge ourselves with a somewhat steep climb up a scree slope, well above treeline, to a high alpine mountain shoulder overlooking the entire region. There is no wrong choice; both offer great views and experiences, as well as possible opportunities for wildlife viewing and nature-based activities. Lunch will be taken on the trail and we aim to be back at base camp by around 4:30 p.m.

Day 3

After breakfast and our pack-up, we enjoy a morning stroll and exploration around the surrounding alpine ridges. We will aim to return to the trailhead by 3:00 p.m. at the very latest so that we have time to wash-up before a delicious, home-cooked, dinner back at CrossRiver. The evening is yours to relax at the Wilderness Centre, whether alone with a book, around the campfire, or in the outdoor wood-fired hot tub.

 

Day 4

After an early breakfast, we spend today on a full-day river rafting trip on the Kootenay River. Depending on time of year, the waters may range from Class 2 to 3+, with some short sections of low Class 4 rapids in June. The surrounding cliffs, characteristic waterfalls, and good stories along the way make this trip a fun and unique way to enjoy the mountains. We aim to be back at CrossRiver by 5:00 pm, just in time to wash up before dinner.

 

Day 5

Day 5-6

On these two days we spend our time around the Wilderness Centre, or the surrounding landscape, participating in various inter-cultural sharing experiences with a North American First Nations elder. Possible experiences could include: various nature or medicine walks; nature awareness or inter-cultural sharing activities based on traditional teachings; earth and wilderness skills; and campfire gatherings with camaraderie, stories, and music. All experiences will introduce you to an important nature and community-based way of life. The days evolve out of the relationships that occur in a traditional way, so there is no set schedule, and the experiences themselves end up being different for each person. On Day 6, the activities will come to a close in the afternoon with enough time for you to clean up and repack before parting ways to continue on with your holiday.