Flock to Houston, B.C., to ride with mountain sheep

Houston has much to offer—trail riding, meadow riding and mountain riding

by Karissa Gall

A snowmobile overlooking the Telkwa Range.
Photo by Stephen Ringland Viewpoint of Telkwa Range.

While Ringland said he enjoys all that Houston has to offer—trail riding, meadow riding and mountain riding—the best memory he is able to recall came last year on a blue-sky spring day riding with friends.

Spotting mountain sheep

“We were up in the Telkwa Range and we went into one area and counted at least five mountain sheep,” said Ringland. “There was a herd of them that must have migrated from the Telkwa Range through to Morice Mountain and wherever else they can manage to go.”

He said the sighting was special because, besides the animals themselves, there is nothing sheepish about riding the area he and his friends were in.

“That area there is a fairly moderate to extreme riding area, so not everybody will go down there and find them,” he said. “The terrain is a lot steeper and not everybody wants to try and go into those areas.”

While Ringland said that he and his friends were quite a ways from the mountain sheep at the time of the sighting, he added that he was able to enjoy the moment and even snap a few photos.

“They keep their distance pretty well; they’re really almost cagey,” he said. “They’ll see you or hear you and then they’ll just take right off, and they’ve got such great footing they can go pretty much anywhere.
“It’s enjoyable to see those animals.”

Groomers up to the Telkwa cabin

Ringland said that the Houston Snowmobile Club, of which he is a member, routinely pulls groomers up Telkwa Mountain, making it suitable for less experienced riders for about 11 kilometres up to “where the alpine basically starts at the cabin” at about 4,400 feet.

He said the groomed mountain trail is a good ride, well worth the $20 per day trail fee for non-members.

And with one of his favourite things about living and riding in Houston being that “everything is so close,” he said there are several other options for less experienced riders in the area, including Dungate Meadows just east of town.

“I would say the Dungate Meadows area is a really good area for beginners,” he said. “It’s mostly flat ground; a big meadow ride with almost 50 miles of trail system.
“It’s a great beginner riding area.”

Name: Stephen Ringland

Lives in: Houston, B.C.

Sledding since: 1990

First sled: 1991 Yamaha Exciter

Current sled: 2009 Dragon 800

Favourite riding area: I don’t have a particular favourite riding area, but there are four or five spots around the province that I go to: Bulkley Valley, the Okanagan, Squamish and other mountain areas

Riding style: I'd describe myself as an “all-arounder,” I guess

What is it that keeps you coming back, year after year? Enjoying winter sport


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