There is nothing quite like the family weeks of June, July and August.  The sounds of little voices through our valley and the sight of little cowboy boots like these makes our hearts happy as we get to share in the life-long memories families form here. But as the summer comes to an end and school comes back in session, we know they have to hit the trail and mosey on back to their everyday routines and we’ll wait anxiously to welcome them back again in the Spring.        Just between you and us, we’re certain the ranch is happiest when all those little people are here basking in the magic of this place. She knows how important these future generations are to preserving the West and the spirit of this way of life that often gets lost in the fast pace of people’s day to day.  Time slows down here.  Your thoughts seem clearer and the sky is literally brighter and the stars magnified by a million. All these kiddos keep her young and give her hope that she’ll be loved for generations to come. So without further ado, here’s a peek at our last family weeks of the summer! Complete with lots and LOTS of …. IMG_0372 Riding and smiles! IMG_0381IMG_0376IMG_0349IMG_0100 Forts to conquer! IMG_0054 Quadrupeds to love! IMG_0338IMG_0320IMG_0313IMG_0284IMG_0299 Cannonballs to complete! IMG_0142IMG_0152 Lessons to soak up! IMG_0138IMG_0121IMG_0072 And new friends made! IMG_0104        We want to especially praise our wonderful Children’s Program staff for their hard work and loving care of all our ranch kids this year. Thank you for keeping them happy, busy, entertained and safe! We pride ourselves in giving everyone the best week we possibly can, but we know one of the best things we can do for parents and grandparents is that extra special care we take of their little ones. Our program allows you to be as involved as you want to with kids activities, but you can also enjoy all YOUR vacation time and be assured that your children are having the time of their lives (without TV!) A special thanks to Mallory and Madison for all their help! No they aren’t identical twins silly. You can see their hair is obviously different… IMG_0089 Katie, “Red” and Morgan—you guys were amazing! Hoping to see some of these faces back next year! IMG_0490IMG_0064IMG_0508IMG_0470         And an especially big hug of gratitude goes out to our 4-legged kid staff! Our horses do an incredible job of taking excellent care of our littlest ranch guests. Through rivers, and across mountains—trotting and loping and gymkhana games too—they deserve the ultimate thanks for all they do. We entrust them with our most precious souls and they earn every rub, kiss, and goodbye tear they get. IMG_0504 wire[6] As a closing week special, here is a short tutorial for you on the proper way to take one last group photo: 1. First gather everyone and arrange according to height, age and shoe size. IMG_0515          2. Next, be sure everyone is looking RIGHT at the camera. No stray  eyeballs. This is the best part  essential.IMG_0516                             3.  Instead of “Say CHEESE!”  you can shout “Say IMG_0518TIDAL WAVE!”                             4.  Try to keep the camera from shaking while you laugh hysterically. This is the hardest part. IMG_0519 5.  Give yourself a safe distance from the water fight that is about to ensue. IMG_0521          6. And finally, but most importantly, be SURE to catch a shot of the cowboy who wins because he already dumped all the rest of the water out-- but is still documented wearing pink “skorts” sooo….. who gets the last laugh??  (We love ya Red!) IMG_0524 wire[6]        A quick shout out to Cody here who earned this prestigious first-ever-given  award while he was here with his family. What a great young man! We were sincerely impressed by his genuine chivalrous and kind nature along with his no-quit attitude. We thought that deserved some recognition! So then what an honor it was for us to see this photo he sent back after he returned home of the frame he found for it! Awesome Cody! We’re so happy it meant so much to you, too! IMG_042961442_411403562294946_1850333151_n        We gave another special award that week to the wonderful Mr. Walter for being the most “mature” thrill seeker we’ve yet to have race down our river zipline—an inspiration to all the young whippersnappers whose nerves get the better of them! Way to zip Walter! Come reclaim your title next year, too! IMG_0012       wire[6]         Now here is a little tidbit we’d like to call “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” See this fancy trailer contraption that gently and effortlessly leans and unloads an entire load of small square bales so that they are stacked perfectly in just seconds? img_5212 Ya, uhhh….sometimes it doesn’t  quite go like that… IMG_0402 Good thing we can call in the Big Guns!  (And we had Dale on hand to fix the fence so the petting farm animals did not escape again—see previous blog postings. Ha!) IMG_0415IMG_0410 wire[6]         A quick photo update of Bear! He’s doing fabulous and getting more and more comfortable every day. Jerry and Cheri are so happy they found him and that he chose them as his forever family. Here are some of our favorites of this “new” dog that we found inside that scared, homeless one who was almost euthanized. We love rescue dogs! IMG_0615IMG_9872IMG_9863IMG_0609IMG_0620IMG_9848IMG_9866 wire[6]         Another just fun fact for ya—these two “twin” horses you see are our Haflinger team who pull the wagon for our guests every week. They are such a fun and funny pair and as you can see—they sometimes even run in sync together when we push the herd! Now that’s a true “team” right there! Amos and Andy are one—err I mean—TWO of a kind! IMG_0538 wire[6]        Well we highlighted some of our favorite kids week photos, but we can’t let you miss out on all the fun our Adult Weeks bring as well! We always look forward to the belly laughs and “grown up adventures” our September weeks bring. Many of our guests return year after year and tell us their trips here are more than a vacation—they’re a family reunion. And we feel the same.  Sunday afternoons are full of lots of hugs as we happily reunite with some of our favorite people. And THEY reunite with their trusty steeds for the week! IMG_0552  Whoops! Shoot. Wrong picture. Sorry. Don’t know how that one slipped in there.                             IMG_0532 Oh here we go. That’s better.            Our guests love our horses almost as much as we do!  Almost. There are some full hearts Sunday night when they come back and get to rub those sweet noses again after a whole year. It’s a sweet sight!              wire[6]        Lots more cocktail hours and pre-parties as well during our adult weeks. And last week our Wisconsin guests shared a special treat from their home state—a cheese party! Throw in some homemade elk jerky from the Yurich family and you’ve got all the best things in life—good horses, good food and good friends! Hard to do better that’s for certain. IMG_0592IMG_0577IMG_0589 Unless you add MORE good friends and MORE good food! Movin’ the pre-party to the actual party! IMG_0630IMG_0638IMG_0642IMG_0635               wire[6] Saloon Night at the Buckhorn. Find your outlaw name and grab your chips cause it’s about to get all western in here… IMG_7314IMG_7350IMG_7331IMG_7341IMG_7349IMG_7325IMG_7319IMG_73211262862_697582323589767_481215262_oIMG_7353IMG_732710126_100861966603260_6835048_nIMG_7335 Another one of Cheri’s humiliating  opportunistic chances to earn extra chips! This round? “Give your best donkey impression!” 560831_697581576923175_881965501_nIMG_7355 (On a side note--We asked Muggs the donkey what he thought of Diane’s impression. He declined to comment at this time.) IMG_0334 IMG_7317 And you too can look like a saloon girl with our 12 step easy tutorial!   Call now! 9897_10201938044401588_600417749_n wire[6] Great shots taken throughout the week and shared by our guests—the riding is our favorite part and theirs too! 1013296_10153179733525571_670837551_n1176350_402538516524976_671910462_n1230021_10153211952075571_1692042456_n1176374_601756136513838_1940478573_n1069351_402538166525011_1514516852_n Hey did anyone see where our wrangler went? 1237911_402539406524887_405859290_n1238324_402538209858340_1855215846_n75918_402540093191485_122662917_n1208911_402540259858135_2001506753_n Not a bad place for lunch. 1174978_402556756523152_1142829571_n1185057_402559373189557_1597003719_n Make a big wish! 1267980_697578230256843_469216085_o1276296_697575513590448_993151660_o And then watch it come true… 1167169_697577510256915_300074080_o Campfires! Oh. My. Goodness. 1234239_697579303590069_226790735_n1267197_697579396923393_479011_o And we know not all our friends can make it every year. But just to let ‘em know we’re thinkin’ of them…they still sometimes make an appearance! Flat Camille had one heck of an adventure! 1234445_402537536525074_1048906035_n        And check out these cool shots our friends David and Diane took while they were here.  Add some fun texture to the photos and you have a new art form! (Click on the photos to see better.) 1237839_602642033091915_109988969_n1274077_602642079758577_786283712_o1264814_602642173091901_88394005_o1236178_602642299758555_1046663572_n1235234_602642369758548_60463926_n Oh dang it—HOW does that picture keep sneaking in there? There must be a blog glitch. We’ll look into it. 1236885_602642496425202_195742942_n9897_10201938044401588_600417749_n9897_10201938044401588_600417749_n9897_10201938044401588_600417749_n wire[6]       On a more serious note, we’d like to dedicate a special section here in closing to honor the memory of a great member of our ranch family that we lost last week. Arrow came to us in 2000 and in 14  seasons, earned the place of being one of the greatest horses ever on this ranch. He carried hundreds of guests over thousands of miles of trails and always gave everything he had. While his body has been laid  here on our grounds, we know his spirit will still run these mountains forever. We tip our hats to you Arrow. Thank you for the thrill you gave our guests and the way the wind and sound of your hooves wiped all their worries away. Thank you for the beautiful sights you enabled them to see and the valuable lessons you taught them about partnership and trust. Thank you for the memories. We’ll see you on the trail old friend. IMG_49191176401_10200404135645552_833178544_nIMG_4918

2 thoughts on “Kids and Bigger Kids”

  1. Gemma just read thru the blog and said how glad she was to have been there during kids week - even as a 13 ( going on 19 ) year old "adult" she loved the atmosphere, contagious excitement and fun of the kids week ; as did we. To quote her " That comedy show was just hilarious" Already saving for our next trip !!

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