In case Dave and I were considering changing our careers to fugitives on the run, we may have to rethink our options after our recent showing in the Red Deer Ranch Tracker game in Alberta.
For years friends have encouraged us to try out for TV shows such as the reality destination contest Amazing Race or Man Tracker, where contestants are pitted against an expert wilderness tracker on horseback.
When we found out that Heritage Ranch in Red Deer had a Ranch Tracker adventure challenge much like the popular Man Tracker show, we were keen to try the hide and seek survivor type game on steroids. Perhaps reality TV would be our next calling.
Arriving at Heritage Ranch we were greeted by Ranch Tracker Joel and his beautiful horse Hummer. An aptly named stallion known for loving the hunt and running like the wind. Hummer’s eager attributes did not inspire our confidence in being declared the winners.
We, the prey, were then driven out into the middle of the 200 acre wilderness that makes up Heritage Ranch. Given a map marked with 4 stars, the paper held the only clues to the location of the four ‘flags’ we needed to find before Hummer and Ranch Tracker hunted us down. No compass, no GPS and a fifteen minute head start before Joel and his stallion would begin galloping in search of us.
I will add that for me, the invention of GPS ranks right up with the invention of Penicillin. Prior to GPS I spent days wandering lost in nearby neighborhoods thinking I might perish in urban wilderness. Let’s say map reading is not one of my strong points.
The four flags we survivors were charged with finding were brightly colored green leis. You know leis, the flowered necklaces one might wear while sipping a Mai Tai in Hawaii?
Did I mention that the lei ‘flags’ were green? Green like the trees, the grass and the moss. Did I mention one of us is color blind? There was not a Mai Tai in sight either.
Can you spot the flag? You can? Where were you when we needed you?
Dave and I worked exceedingly well together. There was no arguing about what we should do or which direction to run, crawl or slither. We were in complete agreement that we were practically useless and had very little skill in finding the treasured flags.
Slightly better at cowering in the Red Deer forest, we managed to evade Ranch Tracker for quite some time. During our quest we cooperatively shrugged at each other and giggled, (I might have done more of the giggling I admit) while wandering about the dense bush in our frantic search of the green leis. The flags did their best impression of being tree branches and we whizzed by each of them.
At the time of our ‘arrest’ by Ranch Tracker, we had been circling an area we felt absolutely had to hold a flag. Surely we could find at least one of the hidden markers. Then the gut wrenching sound of Hummer’s horsey footsteps nearby bounced off the trees.
In a less than elegant act, similar to two elephants trying to hide in the the dense cover of three inch grass, we attempted to make ourselves flat as pancakes. Hummer whinnied with pure delight at the smell of us and galloped over in approximately 1.2 seconds.
Trying my best not to snort from laughing, I held my nose tightly and my shoulders shook as though an earthquake had erupted directly below me. A less than optimal hiding technique. Ranch Tracker and hummer were the victors.
Following the game, win or lose, the Ranch Tracker game includes a steak dinner and beverage of choice at the West Lake Grill. Famous for their delicious steak, the menu of the restaurant at Heritage Ranch has lots of variety including options for veggie lovers like myself. We went for ice cold beer with dinner but they might make you a Mai Tai if you ask nicely.
Special Tips for Playing Ranch Tracker
Wear long sleeved shirts and full length pants to protect you from the branches and bush while doing elephant hiding impressions. Wear sunscreen, insect repellant and dark or camouflage clothes and closed toed shoes. Heritage Ranch provides bottles of water or you can bring your own.
Stay low, avoid open areas whenever possible but run like mad if you find yourself with no cover.
Who would like the Red Deer Ranch Tracker Game?
The game is active so being reasonably fit is important. A love of outdoors, adventure or just wanting to try something different make Ranch Tracker the game for you. Children, if accompanied by an adult, can play as well.
For more information or to book your own Ranch Tracker game click here. Directions and a map to Heritage Ranch can be found here. From there on it’s just you and Ranch Tracker. Let us know if you out run Hummer.