Westward Ho!

Posted on: 26 March 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Live like a real cowboy during a fantastic family adventure.

Every child growing up in the 1950s and 60s will remember playing cowboys and Indians. The proliferation of Western movies and the advent of television brought the American West, complete with gunslingers, Indians and gold rush towns, into the homes of everyone in the UK, sparking a fascination with the American West. In later years the spaghetti Westerns of Serge Leone - A Fistful of Dollars, A Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - which launched Clint Eastwood into Hollywood mythology, only reinforced the world's fascination with the American West.

While most of us would not like the reality of life in the frontier West, to sample some of its delights, and hardships, would be a dream come true. Reminicent of the popular film from the 90s, City Slickers, visitors to the U.S this summer can now saddle-up and ride the range like a real cowboy, with the whole family in tow.

Footloose, a company which offers a wide selection of outdoor holidays for adventure-minded people of all ages, have just launched a 'Cowboy and Indians Discovery Tour,' which promises to show travellers the real wild west. The tour includes a visit to the ghost town where ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ was filmed, a hike to the Emerald Pools of the Virgin River as well as a taste of the great outdoors in Zion National Park.

You can then hit the trail again and sample cowboy life on a mountain ranch, riding the range, tucking into some typical western chow (beans around the campfiree maybe!) then getting some shut-eye in a rustic log cabin. Shake off the dust of the trail and head towards Navajo territory and the cooling blue waters of Lake Powell, for swimming and all kinds of watersports.

From Lake Powell it’s just a short drive to Monument Valley, instantly recognisable from countless western movies. Get off the beaten track on a guided jeep tour that offers a great insight into the native culture and way of life of the Navajo and their ancestors, who have inhabited these lands for generations. The adventure concludes in one of the world’s greatest natural wonders – the Grand Canyon, where you can take an optional helicopter flight or get a fascinating glimpse of some of its hidden secrets during an included I-MAX movie.

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