What does planning your family vacation look like? Time limits? Budgeting? Diverse family interests? An overwhelming array of different types of vacations? Forever in search of a unique family vacation that’s a fun vacation for the entire family? Vacation planning is difficult, and time is valuable. Have you decided on the Dude Ranch experience but are still filled with questions? We totally get it. There are so many types of Dude Ranches with various experiences, and we’re here to help you narrow down the search with questions that will answer how to choose the right Dude Ranch!
The first breath of pure mountain air blended with the sweet aroma of lupine is engraved in my memory from my first ride I took at Paradise. Coming from the Midwest, the majority of my riding had been through wooded areas, open meadows and arena work. As I first loped across the mesa into a horizon of snow capped peaks, Wyoming felt like home for the first time.
As we stay bundled in our layers, I dream in anticipation of the ear-to-ear smiles that sprinkle into Paradise every Sunday from June until September. The image of people exiting their cars or hopping out of our shuttles and letting the first glimpse of the beauty of our valley sink in is guaranteed to refresh me for a new week of guests. After plane rides or road trips, Paradise creates a perfect oasis from the outside world.
Throughout the summer, as guests found out that I was staying at the ranch over the winter, nine times out of ten I was greeted with one response: “You better get a hobby!”. I even had a guest offer to teach me how to knit! There were also a few promises I made to some annual guests that I would be able to play guitar when they returned next summer. Well, now that I am two months into my first winter at Paradise, I can respond with proof that our day to day jobs here at the ranch do in fact keep us quite busy.
Growing up in the Chicago, I know how to deal with snow. I can drive in it; I can live with horizontal winds blowing it in my face; I can even join in on the universal frustration from every person on the road forgetting how to drive with only the first dusting. As mentally prepared as I felt for experiencing a Wyoming mountain winter, waking up to 18 inches of snow on September 27th with no power was still a shock. What had I gotten myself into?
It is an odd realization to walk into the dining room the morning of August 25th and not be greeted by contagious giggles, smiles lacking two front teeth, clusters of teens chatting about inside jokes made at camp-out and miniature cowboys walking around the cereal buffet. Just as the aspens begin to shift into their autumn beauty, the Paradise crowd gains a new atmosphere as we say goodbye to the kids and begin our adult weeks at the ranch.
We had our annual Independence Day extravaganza yesterday. There were plenty of fun activities and great food. Mother Nature threw us a slight curveball, but we waited it out and had a great time anyway.
As the weather gets warmer and the snow melts away, we are hard at work here at Paradise getting ready for our first guests. The crew members are trickling in and we are putting them to work. Everything is being cleaned, organized and prepared and the ranch is teaming with activity.
I have been at the ranch for almost 6 weeks now, 5 of them I have been lucky enough to ride winter pasture with the guys. Normally when you ride out somewhere the first impressions you have of a spectacular view or unforgettable experience tend to fade each time. Well, it’s still all new out here for me. With snow drifts during March, excitement for greener pasture at the beginning of April, and coyote happenings I have made plenty of new memories thus far.