To some of you, going on our overnight camp trip this summer on your vacation is no dilemma at all. You're all for dust-covered jeans, listening to coyotes howling after dark, and sleeping on the "padded" ground. For others, your opinions may trend toward camping being hard work, cold, filthy--and dreadful if you have to sing songs or tell stories. If your feelings align more with the latter, this blog's for you.
Obviously we want you to have an amazing vacation. And while you attending the overnight may create more work for us, we would highly recommend that you attend. Here are three things you'll be missing out on if you don't...
1) You miss out on becoming a little more human
Tim Dowling in his article "If camping is so tough, why do we like it so much?" says, "There is something so primally satisfying about escaping from our reliance on infrastructure that it turns the most tedious chore into an adventure." In other words, cooking biscuits over the campfire is interesting, just because it's so hard. Further, he mentions, "When you're out in the elements even good weather can be bad weather. Hot and sunny, cold and rainy, whatever: it all comes under the general heading of exposure...Camping is exciting because even at its most tame it's still a tiny bit dangerous..."
When you're out camping with us, things aren't luxurious but they also aren't too hard. The tents, bags, pads, flashlights, and smore fixins' are ready to go when you show up on your horse, but you'll need to whittle your own stick for your marshmallow and, well, you'll have to dig your own hole to go to the bathroom.
2) You miss out on a chance to reduce stress and unplug
Did I mention that you may sleep better when you're at camp than in your cabin? While it's not a guarantee since you don't have that Serta mattress topper working for you, sleeping at the overnight lets you go to bed when it's dark and wake up when it gets light. Sort of a novel concept, huh? Getting you away from your computer and phone screens may prove more beneficial than you think.
3) You miss out on becoming smarter
Okay, maybe this one is a stretch depending on your definition of 'smart'. However, studies have shown that your brain functioning may sharpen. According to Business Insider, a 2008 paper in Psychological Science demonstrated that "when college students were asked to repeat sequences of numbers back to the researchers, they were much more accurate after a walk in nature. This finding is built on previous research that showed how nature can restore attention and memory." For more scientific benefits, check Business Insider's article out HERE.
There may still be plenty of snow on the ground, but it feels like summer is just around the corner. We're busy making preparations, talking to new and return guests, completing cabin updates, and hiring our summer staff. We have a few openings in June and July for couples or families. And, if you're looking for a family reunion vacation, August will be your best bet as we have only two weeks left that can accommodate a larger family. Be sure and give us a call or email if you are interested in a summer vacation!
Sometimes in the winter I lose sight of how special this place is and what it represents. Several inches of snow had piled up, so yesterday I went out to plow. Living on the flat, valley floor, there aren't many areas to get yourself in trouble. And yet just as I was beginning, I managed to get the plow truck stuck on an icy slope just past the barn. Scott and Tori were both off to work, so I proceeded to handle things myself. I was able to pull the truck out with the tractor just before I slipped and fell picking a rock up out of the snow. Luckily a little shoulder soreness is all I have to show for it.
My anecdote is a bit boring, but also a testament to ranch life. There's a lesson there that has taken me a long time to learn.
Theodore Roosevelt once said, "Nowhere else does one feel so far off from mankind; the plains stretch out in deathless and measureless expanse, and . . . will for many miles be lacking in all signs of life.... Black care [cares of the world] rarely sits behind a rider whose pace is fast enough."
The romance of the west has largely been characterized by separating yourself from stresses of the world. In a nutshell, leaving urban life to experience nature, to explore something untouched by mankind. And, while in an increasingly populated world we may never be able to completely mirror Theodore Roosevelt's experience, we still have enough of the natural world among us to be able to feel that solitude. Oh, the solitude of ranch life.
The lesson that has taken me a long time to learn is this: That solitude is two-fold. The best way to experience the 'romance of the west' is to embrace both the pain and happiness that comes from solitude. I believe that's why a ranch vacation can often be so powerful for guests. It's not that you are leaving all your worldly cares behind, as I've often thought before. Instead, you are facing them head-on. Being in nature can create moments of fear, of wonder, of hurt, of joy. Solitude can bring tears to your eyes, can bring you to your knees. Solitude can bring you peace that lifts you like the wings of an eagle. So, in moments of frustration that things aren't going my way, it's ever important that I appreciate the solitude. That I appreciate it both when it's glamorous and when it's not. That may be a truer representation of the romance of the west.
As much as Scott and I love how peaceful the winter season is, we continuously look forward to the summer months. Warm days, sipping coffee on the lodge patio, clearing trails, working on fences, and cool evenings around the campfire are only a few of the enjoyable things that make up our spring and summers. It's worth noting that what really makes for the perfect day around here (in my opinion) is one that requires a decent amount of physical exertion. And once we're home, we can unwind with a great meal and relaxed evening around the fire together.
You know, the summer experience for our guests is not a far cry from that. While you don't have to have a 'decent amount of physical exertion,' you still are choosing to participate in an active vacation here. Instead of lounging on the beach, you opt to ride, hike, kayak, raft, dance, and shoot. Then again, we create a balance together. We enter the natural world with an activity, and before we know it, we have an opportunity to step back a pace and reflect. Our activity leads us to our peace.
New in 2018
With an increase in popularity for our fall season stays and since most of our staff leave us to return to college, we have decided to shorten our season for all-inclusive stays. Our summer season will now be June 3rd to August 25th. So, instead of continuing our traditional 'all-adults' weeks in September, we can work with those wanting that experience to choose weeks that will trend toward having all adults within the summer season.
Our availability in June and July is getting slim, so if you are set on coming either of those two months, be sure and reach out to us soon. As of the end of December, August has more options available for larger families or reunion groups.
The summer will be here before you know it! If you're interested in learning more about us, give us a call at (970) 879-1946 or email at email@example.com. We'd love to hear from you!
The Zirkel Mountains, the big range that you see from the ranch, are covered in snow, but only a few patches are on the ground here today. We’ve had a couple of snowy systems come through dropping several inches, but warm weather keeps following. As I look out my office window, the dogs are basking on the porch in 50 degree, sunny weather. This may very well be the perfect Sunday.
We’ve had a great fall mixed with hunters, leaf peepers, hikers, and a few simply looking for a little R&R. In the off-season, our guests seem to really love going up to South Fork trail or Fish Creek Falls to hike, take a dip at the Strawberry Park Hot Springs, and stroll around downtown Steamboat. Back at the ranch, we’ve had countless starry-night hot tub frequenters and fires in the wood stove.
Scott and I have settled back into fall life. He goes to work in town everyday and travels occasionally to sell, introduce, or train others on how to use his products for Assess2Perform. I’ve begun a new business on the side called Brown Maverick Equine Transport, and I’m enjoying taking trips to haul horses and have also begun to volunteer coach with the Steamboat Springs High School Girls’ basketball team. With taking care of ranch items and my other two new projects, I’m staying busy, to say the least. Tori (wrangler-summers ’16 and ’17) is staying with us through the winter, and she’s a big help around the ranch.
Scott and I took several trips down to Paonia, Colorado, to drop our horses off at their pasture for the winter. There’s a caretaker there, and a large green pasture where they graze, sleep, play and eat all day.
Speaking of horses, it’s always amazing how quickly the winter turns into spring and we begin readying the ranch once again for another wonderful summer. Whether you’ve never vacationed with us before or it’s been a few years, we’d love to have you! We are continuously striving to improve upon the experience and the property, and we’d love to share this beautiful place with you. So, if you have any questions about what that experience entails, don’t hesitate to reach out to me by phone or email. We can't wait to see you for the summer of 2018!
1) Organization, stimulation, and providing the opportunity to disengage. Studies seem to demonstrate that one of the greatest aspects of your vacation is the anticipation of it. In other words, by the time you've begun your trip, you've already experienced the best part.
That's not what we want for our guests. While we do want you to have a ball looking forward to vacationing with us, as do all guest ranches, we also want you to have an incredible time while you're here. Huffington Post shares from a research journal that "While all vacationers enjoyed pre-trip happiness, the study’s authors found that people only experienced a boost in happiness post-vacation if their trip was relaxing. If their vacation was deemed “stressful” or “neutral,” their post-trip happiness levels were comparable to those who hadn’t taken a vacation at all."
The take-a-way for ranches is that in order to be top-notch, we have to provide our guests with a stay that offers all the organization and stimulation they need to keep their family happy. But, the guests must also have the opportunity to disengage. The best guest ranches are able to provide your lodging, meals, and all your activities in a way where you don't have to worry about the details. You can just sit back, relax, and hang your boot heels over the porch railing.