My Dude Ranch Adventure started last Sunday. We actually flew in the night before and stayed in Durango at the DoubleTree Hilton. The hotel was very nice, but at a time when people haven't been traveling much, how do you warrant a price of $300 per night? And this was the going rate in town-no food service, just a bed to sleep in. We were picked on Sunday morning, by the owner of the Dude Ranch-Robert. Though he refers to himself as the Janitor, picking up after everyone. A very kind, unassuming man, who runs the ranch during the summer and then goes back to Los Angeles to work out movie and TV deals during the winter months.
He turned down a Reality Show about Dude Ranch life, because they wanted so much drama, but it may still happen in the near future. He has a new show (similar to Yellowstone), that will be filmed on his ranch in the next few months.
The Ranch is only open from approximately May 15th to September 15th. We went during an all-adults week, which is offered the first open week in May and after labor day for the 2 weeks in September. The rest of the summer is devoted to families, couples and singles. Each week they can accommodate up to 100 people in cabins, similar to mine, luxury suites and whole house units that can accommodate up to 10 people.
This is our cabin-Turkey Knoll. It was a 2-bedroom, 2 bath, very attractively furnished, but no TV or telephone. Wifi service was limited (you had to sit outside on the porch to get it), but available. Everything was within 2-3 minutes walk and when it wasn't they drove us to the next activity. They leave a big bowl of snacks that are replenished as needed-I tried to avoid these snacks at all times. There is a refrigerator in the master bathroom vanity area, as well as a safe. There are no keys to the cabin. Everything is left unlocked and it's been this way since the 1950's. Though at night, there is a deadbolt on the door, for those who feel the need to use it. Donna (my sister), actually wanted to leave the front door open all night, but I couldn't do that. There is no air conditioning in the cabins, lots of overhead fans that did a great job. Though there are heaters for when it gets cold.
No sooner did we arrive and it was time for a light lunch. The food prepared throughout the trip was excellent and plentiful. Always a good selection, with house specials every meal. So, this was an all-inclusive vacation, based on food, activities, but not alcohol-except for 2 occasions. When we do this next time, we will bring our own alcohol needs.
Plus, next time I plan on either driving or renting a car. Nearby is the town of Cortez-30 minutes away, Durango-1 hour away and Telluride-1 1/2 hours drive. It would have been nice to have the opportunity to visit these places. The ranch is located in Mancos, CO.
Our first experience on this ranch was learning to rope a standing calf (man made). As you can see, I roped myself more than any cows. My sister though finally mastered this.
Onward to our Archery lesson. I liked this. With a lot of practice, I was able to shoot the plastic deer in the heart. This may be something I will take up locally in Las Vegas. Strengthen my arms with this.
They kept us busy all day. Next up was the horse and buggy experience. Me, Tim (one of the wranglers) and Gus the mini-horse.
From here it was on to Happy Hour and a chance to get to know everyone. During adult week, they will only book to a max of 30-our group was 24. People came from all-over: Boston, Alabama, California, Arizona, Nevada (me), New Mexico, Missouri (honeymoon couple) & Florida. We still had to wear a mask in enclosed environments (vans & cars), but it was so nice to not wear a mask for a few days. Everyone else felt the same way-we were all on a vacation away from the mask.
Another wonderful meal and then on to Wine Tasting (included) and Line Dancing-sorry no pictures-too busy dancing.
There's no sleeping in on the Ranch. Up early for breakfast and on to our first Trail ride-2 hours long! My behind was sore after this.
For those of you that are real horseback riders or want to be-the best thing is you could have lessons every day and if available twice a day-at no additional charge! They even had a Cattle Drive planned, but 5 hours in the saddle was too much for me. Maybe with more riding-down the road.
My horse's name was Hammer. The movie star horse (of course-who else would they give it too). He has done 60 commercials, and movies: Lonesome Dove and Cowboys & Aliens.
After the trail ride, we had the opportunity to go Mountain Biking or riding with Electric bikes-we chose not too. Too much work.
In the afternoon, we played 18 holes of Disc Golf. Played with a frisbee, you played 18 holes. I am not a frisbee player (but I may start practicing for next year), so I had a ringer, one of the other guests throw out my first frisbee. Brad has been playing this game for 20 years, so his first throw helped me out a lot. I even got a couple of birdies.
Our elevation at the ranch was 8000 feet. On our second night, we did the ATV sunset ride up to 10,000 feet in the San Juan National Forest. Let me tell you-it was cold up there!
And of course, we had to learn how to shoot, cowboy style. Clay pigeon shooting, here I come. I managed to hit 1 clay pigeon out of 9. Need lots more practice. I have never held a gun or rifle before, so it was fun and different.
This is when we learned how to penned the cows. That's me in the blue sweatshirt. It sure was cold outside. I had 3 layers on. We had to drive the cows from one part of the arena into the cow pen-so much fun. I wish I had the video to show you. We had to do it 3 different times and I really liked this activity.
There were so many other adventures to participate in. There was fly fishing, paintball, rope challenges and so much more. Great food, great company-can't wait to do it again.
For more information: www.majesticduderanch.com Great new friends! We didn't get do the Whitewater Rafting, too late in the season-maybe next year.
Now, are you all ready for your Dude Ranch Adventure? I hope I have inspired you to try this.