BC author Tania Millen is coming to Castlegar to promote her new book Pack Em Up, Ride Em Out: Classic Horse Pack Trips in British Columbia and Alberta. Millen will be presenting a free talk and slideshow “How to Plan a Pack Trip” at Chances Casino on April 17 at 7 p.m.
Millen has been horse back riding since she was ten years old. She spent a lot of time in competitive performance riding, but also loved hiking and spending time in the bush. She determined that when she was done with competitive riding, she would combine her passions and take on the challenge of packing trips.
“Six years ago I took a one-week course. By day three of the course I thought, I can’t possibly learn all these new skills and not go packing. So a couple of weeks later I did my first pack trip and I have been hooked ever since.” And so began Millen’s adventures.
When Millen began doing horse pack trips in western Canada she encountered a problem with finding information on the trails. “I had not planned to write a book. Trying to find out where to go and do pack trips was really challenging. There is no guide book in Canada for pack trips.”
Millen received a multitude of inquiries following the publishing of several articles on her journeys, so she decided to translate her knowledge into a book. Pack Em Up, Ride Em Out covers fourteen multi-day horse pack trips. The guidebook covers all the details necessary to plan a successful trip including directions to the trailhead, length and difficulty, permit requirements, camping and grazing areas, maps, photographs and historical anecdotes.
Millen’s favourite rides are in the Rockies. “I love the Rockies because you start at higher elevations. These trails are made for horses and they were made by horses.”
The closest ride to Castlegar is the Mount Assiniboine trail. “That’s an awesome trip.” said Millen. “It is six days. It’s a loop ride. It’s suitable for your first pack trip. The views are spectacular, it is very straightforward.”
The event is organized by Rick Filmore of the Backcountry Horsemen of BC, Kootenay chapter. Of her new book, which will be available for purchase at the event, Millen said, “I hope it inspires people to go out a give it a whirl.”