My trip is getting closer! My last blog was about ways to get to the ranch, so what have we decided to do this year? We are flying into Denver on September 4th, but we don’t get to the ranch until Sunday the 9th, so we have a few days with which to play. The first night will be spent in Denver as we don’t arrive until early evening. Thanks to my hard-working, jet-setting husband we have loyalty points with several hotel chains, so the first night will be free! Then we are off to another ‘ ranch’. I say ‘ranch’ with inverted commas, as it doesn’t have any horses! It does have hot springs though and bikes. Now, if you have read my last couple of blogs, you will know that I recently fell off my bike and broke my wrist, so I’m not sure the bikes are such a good idea after all!
The hot springs will be fun though. Ever since we tried out ‘the boiling river’ in Yellowstone we have been hooked on the hot springs experience. On previous trips to Rainbow Trout we have stayed at Ojo Caliente (http://ojospa.com/) in New Mexico and Pagosa Springs (http://www.pagosahotsprings.com/) in Colorado.
We enjoyed them both. Ojo Caliente has a mud bath, which is great fun. You plaster yourself in mud, just like a hippo, and then lie in the sun and let it dry!
Pagosa Springs has a variety of pools at different temperatures (including The Lobster Pot, which lives up to its name, as you look like a lobster when you come out!), but it also has the option to jump into the freezing cold river to cool down, if you are that crazy.
This year we have opted for Avalanche Ranch (http://www.avalancheranch.com/) which promises the opportunity to soak in the springs at night after the day trippers have gone, and you can look up at the stars in the beautiful Colorado night sky.
Talking about that beautiful night sky, Rainbow Trout Ranch offers star gazing too! You can take a trip down to a meadow by the river, where it is truly DARK! Darker than I have ever known it anywhere in the UK, where light pollution is a serious problem. Once there, you can sit down and watch the stars, aided by a powerful telescope and a wonderful electronic gadget which will tell you the name of star or constellation you are looking at! It was one of the highlights of my last trip.
That’s one of the great things about the Rainbow Trout, there is always something to do, and new things to learn, and there are always plenty of people willing to share their knowledge and expertise with you. Never tried fly fishing? No problem; there is a fishing guide to help you. Never tried trap shooting or archery? There are times set aside for you to have a try. Never got up at 6am and climbed a mountain to watch the sunrise? Then join the intrepid few and climb Charity! (Charity isn’t actually a mountain, and you walk up it, not climb, but to a flat-ground dwelling townie it felt like a mountain!!). You can go bird-watching, play horse-shoes, basketball, volleyball, swim, have a hay ride, lounge in the hot tub, swim, learn to Line dance, listen to a country and western singer (the amazing Will Dudley), and you haven’t even left the ranch!
There are outings too , go white water rafting, or enjoy a scenic trip on America’s longest and highest narrow gauge railway with the The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad which runs between Antonito, CO and Chama, NM (www.cumbrestoltec.com). Or visit Santa Fe and Taos for the The New Mexico Connection . The ranch is only two and a half hours north of Santa Fe, and Taos is a mere hour and a half. Both towns are fascinating with their unique blend of historic southwestern culture, architecture, cuisine, world renowned art galleries and shopping (www.santfe.org).
Personally, once I am at Rainbow Trout Ranch I never want to leave and I relish the time away from the outside world, but the beauty of a ranch holiday is that you can do exactly what you want to do and I guarantee you will have great time doing it!