Travel Tips and Stories

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Pony Up! Vacations for the Cowboy in All of Us

There is a cowboy, or cowgirl, in all of us. Playing a cowboy on a ranch in the country can be the most rewarding vacation. Away from the city life, pollution and technology in general, you can step away from reality and fulfill a childhood dream. So, grab your cowboy hat and slip into some boots and pony up!

The Hartley Guest Ranch located in Northeastern New Mexico bordering the Canadian River is a family owned cowboy paradise with an operating cattle ranch of over 25,000 acres. There are mesas, canyons and rim rock with 200 miles of trails through dense forests of juniper, oak and ponderosa pine. The Hartley Ranch has an outstanding stock of thoroughbred and quarter horses. There are all day cattle round-ups to move cattle to different pastures and scenic rides on 200 miles of trail.

An orientation is given to all riders at the beginning to match you up to a suitable horse and feel out your riding ability. All rides are guided and vary in length with guests choosing how long they want to ride. Once qualified by a wrangler, there are cantering and loping rides available. There are also pack trips and over night camp outs. Guests can take part in gathering the cattle, separating cows from the calves and help with marking the calves in season. Branding is generally done from May to July. The guests are allowed to sit back and watch, or join in and help. They can flank, throw and hold down calves, brand and vaccinate. You can do as much of or as little as you like.

Enjoy the great fishing for Bass, Catfish and Perch. The well stocked ponds are close to the main lodge and are easy catches. Other parts of the ranch have more challenging fishing. You may hike on your own or have a guide with you to point out interesting sites such as dinosaur bones, ancient Indian sites and unusual geological formations. There are deer, wild turkey, bear, mountain lions, fish and coyotes. Raccoons are down at the creek and visit often. Just sitting underneath a tree in the beautiful New Mexico sun, taking in all the sounds of nature is what Hartley Guest Ranch is all about.

The Blue Mountain Cattle Drive north west of Cedar City, Utah in Beaver County is for anyone who wants to experience the West as it really is. This is the area that the famous outlaw Butch Cassidy came from. In fact there are descendants of the famous outlaw working this dude ranch. Participate in authentic cattle drive adventures, other local dude ranches, and horse back riding trips. Lodging includes meals, trail rides, cattle drives, camaraderie and ranch chores that will give you a real taste of the old west. Magnificent scenery with old-fashion hospitality and wildlife almost close enough to touch.

This fabulous dude ranch is less than a two hour drive from Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park. In just under four hours from the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, and Lake Powell, this vacation is a real out door adventure. The following activities are available for you to enjoy; Horse back riding, campfire singing, cattle driving, western entertainment, cattle roping, wildlife viewing (elk, deer, antelope and wild horses) and Chuck Wagon dinners. This is really the ultimate experience!

Grapevine Canyon Ranch, Arizona dude and working cattle ranch, offers horseback riding vacations, pack trips and adventure horse treks, in the prettiest part of Arizona. The Dragoon Mountains, rich in western history as well as Indian history, were once the home of Apache Chief Cochise and infamous Geronimo, feuding cowboys and Indians, miners seeking riches in the towns of Pearce, Tombstone and Bisbee, all notorious names in the history of the Old West. Old Mexico and the Chiricahua National Monument are located nearby.

Experience how the West was once secluded and secure, remote and unspoiled. Step into history and enjoy one of the most spectacular and beautiful canyons in Arizona. Here you will experience vast distances where the air is crisp and clear and you can enjoy the warm summer nights under the full moon.

Long, lazy afternoons blend into dusky evenings at this Arizona cattle ranch. The constantly changing light along the canyon walls is found to be a beautiful sight. This ranch is situated in the high desert of southeast Arizona, an hour drive from Tucson, its located high in the mountains near the historic Cochise Stronghold. The terrain varies from wooded rolling hills to mountains, with plenty of birds and wildlife. Here you will find over seventy horses for all levels of experience, beautiful trails to hike, old Indian village sites and ghost towns to explore. Stay in the furnished cabins and suites, enjoy the pool, hot tub, game room, and book library.


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