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Over the Hill Outfitters will team up with renowned photographer Christopher Marona to offer an opportunity to improve your photography skills while experiencing the spectacular Weminuche Wilderness on horseback. These basecamp pack trips are simply the finest horseback adventures anywhere. You will travel into one of the most spectacular areas of the Western United States, deep in the Weminuche Wilderness of the San Juan Mountains. This area was heavily glaciated and the valleys are textbook geologic featuring meandering streams through enormous valleys with hanging waterfalls on the valley walls, great expanses of exposed granite and huge moraines.
You will spend one day in Durango and four days in the remote and wild areas of the Weminuche Wilderness. The full-service camps are equipped with wall tents, cots, and pads.
This is a five-day workshop with one day in Durango at the Palmer Quarter Horse Ranch and at Christopher’s studio, and four days of horseback adventure out of the comfort of Over the Hill Outfitter’s high country basecamp. Horses will transport you and your equipment to remote and wild areas of the Weminuche Wilderness. Christopher’s enthusiasm and patience will fire you up to expand your horizons in outdoor photography while you are completely submerged in nature. Wranglers and horses will be available to create authentic western scenes in the most beautiful mountains anywhere.
Gourmet meals await at the camp as you will take in the last shooting opportunities at dusk followed by fireside question and answer sessions, far out stories and general mayhem. Digital photographic techniques are encouraged and all types of equipment are welcome. Christopher has experience with everything from large format to pocket digital cameras. He keeps abreast of the rapidly advancing digital photographic field and is a wealth of knowledge for both those overwhelmed by the capabilities of this new medium and those who want to push its limits.
The list of activities to do is endless. Among the favorites is a ride to one of many high mountain ridges, enjoying incredible views, wildflowers, and of course, elk. Chicago Basin is one of the most sought out destinations in the San Juans but one of the most crowded. You will ride horses to the rim where you will have the most spectacular view of the Basin and the fourteen-thousand-foot mountains surrounding it - and you won’t see another person. Trimble Pass is another spot that you will never forget. If you’re up for it, you can climb to the top of Mount Sheridan for a view that is unmatched.
The other aspect of the business on the Palmer Quarter Horse Ranch is to breed, raise, and sell Quarter Horses that are ideally suited to the endeavors that are important to working and living in the mountains. The bloodlines are true foundation bred performance horses such as Two Eyed Jack and Gay Bar King. Because Over the Hill Outfitters uses these horses in the operations, they pay special attention to disposition in addition to great confirmation in the breeding program.
Note: The rider weight limit is 200 pounds if the height is less than six feet and 225 pounds if the height is over six feet / 91 kilograms if the height is less than 183 centimeters and 102 kilograms if the height is over 183 centimeters.
Christopher Marona grew up in cowboy country and has spent his life learning the western ways and documenting them with his photography. He is a staff photographer at Cowboys and Indians Magazine and his work often adorns the pages of Western Horseman and other Western magazines. His work is vividly displayed in the coffee table book Colorado Cowboys by Westcliffe Publishers. He is also accomplished and has earned national awards in fashion, studio, and architectural photography.
Lower Park Camp sits at 10,500 feet in a beautiful meadow in the glaciated canyon of the Florida River. Fifteen minutes upstream from camp is City Reservoir built in the late 1800s by the city of Durango to store water. Today, it no longer is used by Durango. The fish are not always big, but they are lively. Less than a mile downstream, the canyon boxes off and is unpassable. You can feel the presence of bear and elk in the air as you wander through this true wilderness.
All meals are prepared, cooked and served by fantastic chefs and cooks. Breakfast, lunch, appetizers, dinner, and dessert are included. Meals are primarily hearty western cuisine with sparing no expense to include steak and potatoes, fresh vegetables and fruits, hamburgers and chicken, homemade cobblers and pies. Breakfasts may consist of sausage and egg breakfast burritos, pancakes and bacon, French toast or even crepes! Meals are prepared over open fires and in dutch ovens, the grill, ovens, and stovetops packed into camp via horseback. Special dietary needs may be met if communicated in advance. Beverages included are water, Gatorade, sodas, coffee, juice, milk, tea, and hot cocoa.
Over the Hill Outfitters does not provide alcohol on any of the trips. They will pack in a beverage of your choice (within reason). Since the effects of alcohol are multiplied at altitude, please use common sense. Under no circumstances will anyone be allowed to ride a horse under the influence of alcohol.
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