Kids in Paradise
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.
If you dig a little into the history of Americas rodeo’s you will find it has evolved from the Spanish vaquero influences, followed by the tails of the Wild West Shows, including the real deal Annie Oakley. Soon ranchers began to show off their own brand and skills at local ranch rodeo’s. A ‘non-cowboy’ might question the practicality of chasing cows and running around cans. Really it’s a statement that says, my ranch works harder, my horses run faster than yours, or I can ride that bucking animal better and longer than you can.
The Wilson family, origionally from Maryland, took a chance on Paradise in 2012. After doing several online searches and reading ranch reviews on Trip Advisor for the best family guest ranches, Paradise made the cut. Amy Wilson has been most gracious to share what she called "A really, really great family experience."
Sunday morning was especially beautiful. Waking up to snow falling isn't something out of the ordinary around here. On a windy day our valley gets a fair amount of snow flurries. Some days we get a fair amount of snow but by the afternoon it seems to all but disappear. But, as any person who gets more than a centimeter of snow in an entire childhood knows, snow drifts are better viewed from inside with a cup of cocoa. Hiking was only a mild inclination last season. Wrangler mantra would say why walk anywhere you can ride.