Recently, we trailered our entire herd of horses down to the western slope of Colorado for winter pasture and care. Through that process of working with the horses, getting them loaded, and hauling them 5 hours away, I began to think about what guests enjoy most about the ranch and the western experience we offer.
While many activities and adventures come to mind, one in particular kept reoccurring in my thought processes but not for the reason you might think. In the eyes of a 'transformational traveler' (one searching for a more immersive experience in culture and place that challenges and inspires on a more deeply, personal level), trail riding may very well be at the heart of what’s so appealing about the Elk River Guest Ranch.
A Fresh Lens for Trail Riding
A June survey by AAA revealed that “79 percent of Americans say they are as likely (42 percent) or more likely (37 percent) to visit a national park in the next 12 months.” Based on traveler statistics similar to this one, it’s safe to say that the growing trend is for people to visit more natural settings over urban areas. But, I propose that there is a profound difference in spectating nature and experiencing nature, which leads us back to trail riding.
The motivation for the ride varies as vastly as the differences between the personalities of each rider. However, I believe that the motivation of the ride for our ‘transformational traveler’ is geared toward finding a sense of liberation once the ride is over. The terrain, the scenery, and the horse all are a catalyst by which we, as wranglers, can deliver guests into the national forest and into our ranching lifestyle. The immersion in this western experience allows riders to overcome challenges, to be inspired, and to connect with the people involved in this lifestyle in a more meaningful way.
Rooted in a deep history of cowboys and cowgirls sharing their lives and ranches with others, the Elk River Guest Ranch breathes new life into an experience that offers our guests the space to transform their travel adventures and, more often than not, themselves.