I’ve spent the last week at an amazing place named Black Mountain Colorado Dude Ranch. It sits in the mountains between Vail and Steamboat Springs.
I’ve ridden horses up and down steep terrain (even jumped a stream), shot shotguns like a city slicker channeling their inner Billy Crystal and ate some pretty amazing food by my friend Kris May. This is a family-run establishment with Kris doing the cooking and her brother (Ryan) and dad (Nowell, pronounced Nole) leading the rest of the ranch. They do week-long, all-inclusive vacation packages for around $2,500 (a steal in my opinion). This includes wranglers to saddle up your horse (and you can try a few out during the week) as well as gourmet food.
I’m happy to help and support them. Win all around. Here is their hair raising promotional video:
They have old ski lift chairs to sit on beside the open fire every night, including my favorite dog, Coda, who will join you if you say “Load up.”
Why am I writing about this? Because I planned on being here for a day or two and have now been here for two weeks with no plans of leaving. It’s relaxing but also offers challenges. I’m learning new things, like what to do when your horse spooks, how to cook for 50 or how to run at 10,000 feet without burning your lungs up.
I’m having a blast. I’m impressed with the May family and what they have built in the last 19 years. Check out their awesome Colorado Dude Ranch website and perhaps check out some photos on their Dude Ranch Facebook.
Or perhaps my priorities are shifting. Have you done something new this week? I should do more of that.
Three weeks ago, I would spend hours traveling to have a place in nature and be a bit alone.
Now, the nearest town is 10 miles away and has two lights. Not stoplights, actual lightbulbs.
My grandfather was a rancher (read this book if you want to know more about him). Perhaps this is in my blood – and tech just feels unnatural now. Perhaps I just stopped trying to learn and settled into specializing on product. Perhaps riding a horse is more fun than work.
Oh, and Black Mountain Ranch has a rad brand (an actual “We heat this up and mark cows” type of brand):
Don’t just take my word for it. Carrie wrote about the Colorado Dude Ranch and so did Jen with her post: An all American Colorado Dude Ranch. James Azure also put up some stunning Dude Ranch Photography.