Hello "Gidget Fan Club"... Thank you again for a bushel of Valentines for Gidget!
In the winter the horses are pastured on the mesa south of Durango. Of course they are enjoying the warm, kind of mild winter and getting a bit chubby.
As I walk towards Gidget (the most famous horse of them all) with a hand full of valentines, she seems to know I am coming to talk to her specifically. I am pretty sure she knows she is the star of "every child's horse dreams".
Gidget has been treating children to an outstanding week of horseback riding for many years.
Valentine's day is a big day for Gidget, as we read valentine after valentine. She bows her head to listen and is simply such a real sweetheart!
There are some horses you know love the children... Our Gidget is one of those amazing horses.
We are looking forward to another season.
Locals don't forget to reserve your spot at this year's youth camp, booking up quickly...
Youth Camp starts June 11th, 2012. Call for details. (970) 247-0722
No television, no phone and no worries means more time to create meaningful and lasting memories. A Dude Ranch vacation is a visit to simpler times, the kind of times that we remember and that we want to recreate for our grandchildren.
Wilderness Trails is THE Dude Ranch for your multi-generational vacation. A ranch vacation provides so many "firsts" that you could possibly lose count. It could be their first experience horseback riding, fishing, line dancing, seeing animals in the wild, wearing cowboy boots and eating s’mores ‘round a campfire. Watching your family experience all these new things is an indescribable feeling.
To celebrate Grandparents WTR is offering a 5% discount to all grandparents who book by February 15th, 2012. Those that book by February 1st, will receive and additional $50 gift certificate in our gift shop "The Trading Post" and free transportation to and from the airport.
So you don't ride, well we do offer a $475/per person non-rider discount.
As Grandparents ourselves and many years hosting generation after generation, we know that children just seem to come alive on our ranch. As history and tales show, children will tell the stories for years to come. We often hear the adult version of a childhood memory that describes how they lived the life of a real cowboy or cowgirl, what horse they rode and how many fish they caught with grandpa.
“It’s wonderful to have grandparents that travel and can think of no better traveling partners than our precious grandchildren.” - Sandy, WTR Ranch Manger
Our daily youth program has been voted "best of the best" in multiple editions of Gene Kilgore's Ranch Vacations. We have four great youth programs insuring "never-bored kids"! WTR’s counselors provide fun-filled days in a safe environment. At WTR the daily schedule is pre-planned so that there is something for everyone.
It’s comforting to know that the kids are always taken care of no matter what you decide to do. There are no worries about them being away from your watchful eyes, knowing they are having a super time with the kids counselors. During your all-inclusive ranch stay you won’t have to worry about reservations, meal planning, buying tickets, transportation, etc. Family members can simply focus on capturing memories and spending time with the grandchildren.
Grandparents that are not wanting to horseback ride can accompany the kids to the barn in the morning to see them off on their rides then enjoy reading, taking a leisurely walk, or relaxing at the lodge. Now that is until Friday when we have the "Kids Rodeo" where they will show off to Grandparents/Parents/Staff/Visitors the horsemanship skills they have learned throughout the week. This isn't just any rodeo, it is fun, full of games, complete with grand entry and of course the stars of the show - your kids.
With all of the unique opportunities in the kids program, there is no doubt that the grand kids will be busy the entire week with horseback riding, water sports and more. The grandchildren will have a blast! Yes, those that want to spend every minute of the day with their personnally selected horse can do so and help feed/groom and smell the horses 24/7. Yes, we know about little girls and their horses!
Making new friends
Fishing and digging for worms
Exploring wide open spaces
Riding the trails with the Wranglers
“There are fewer distractions. There’s not the hustle of going to museums or restaurants. There are no computers, no shopping. There’s more time to talk.” -WTR Guest
The Pony Express, 3-5 year olds, are introduced to horseback riding on "pony" rides twice each day. Attentive counselors spearhead natural crafts, games, short hikes and swimming.
The Saddletramps, 6-10 year olds, receive riding instructions, ride THEIR horse for the week, learn about the outdoors and southwest history, plus have nature hikes, picnics, crafts, scavenger hunts, and swimming.
The Bandits and Posse (ages 11-12 & 13-17) help construct their week with choices from activities like half and all day rides, water-skiing, hiking, fishing, team games and challenges. Family rides are also offered during the week. You'll be amazed that your kids won't miss TV, the mall, or the Internet, however there is Wifi in the lodge!
A stay at WTR will create lasting memories in the mind of a child. It's a true eye-opening experience and one they'll never forget.
Children under 3 are free and babysitting can be arranged.
Please call or email us to book your stay!
Dude Ranching isn't all cattle drives and horseback riding- every once in a while you can trade in your cowboy boots for dancing shoes!
Well, I did not think I'd meet guests that like dancing as much as I do... WRONG! We had quite the bunch this week, and quite a lot of fun! It all started Monday evening after we did our normal line dancing lesson. What is more dude ranch, or country western than Michael Jackson's "Thriller"?
Sloane, one of our guests, thought it would be fun to teach some of our gentlemen guests along with Jenni, Gary, and Rachel, our wranglers, the "Thriller" dance.
Doing their best "Thriller" pose!
Then, on Tuesday, we did an entire HOUR of ZUMBA! I was so excited to have so many male guests participate! They were all panting at the end and admitting that Zumba is, in fact, an amazing work out!
They ROCKED it!
You can't stop the dance!
Thursday night the fun continued!
Though you wouldn't think so by the look on Harrison's face...
We enjoyed you all so much, please come again!
Every year there is a staff night out, and we call it "Christmas in July." It is a time for all of the ranch folks to be off, be goofy, and have fun together. This Christmas in July we went a restaurant on Lake Vallecito owned by Gary Peach, our former chef. Everybody had drawn a name two weeks prior to be a "Secret Santa" for another staff member. Gifts could be heartfelt or fun... most of us went for fun!
For instance, Kat had Gary Cassens and I had Kani Cassens. Guests had been teasing Kani about being pregnant, one guest predicted she would have boys, and both Kat and I feel they probably need to get busy on the baby-making front, so we both went for baby items.
Kathryn has personal space issues and is always telling people to stay out of her hula hoop or she'll send out prickles like a porcupine. So she got a hula hoop, and a toy porcupine as her gift.
My favorite horses just happen to be all of the big, black draft horse mixes, so Kani & Gary got me the BEST GIFT EVER! And I WILL be wearing it!!! On the front are my three beautiful boys, and on the back...
After Pura Vida- we went to the Fiesta Days Rodeo- where our very own Ryan McRorie decided skip across the arena in his kilt...
Then we all went dancing at the Wild Horse Saloon! Rebecca was breaking it down!
Our staff knows how to have fun!
The guests pushed cattle like pros on the ranch this week! It was truly a joy riding with them. We had a variety of riding abilities, from veterans like Patrick and Evelyn to newbies like Robert and John- it was truly impressive to see how well they got the cows MOOving. We were all over the mountainside, riding through the meadows, and crossing over creeks- but not one cow did we lose.
It was a good time with great guests! Come back and see us again!
Thank you to 1881 Western Photography Co. for the wonderful pictures!
Johnathon and Aubrey Sammons returned to the ranch after a few years hiatus. Johnathon worked at Wilderness Trails Dude Ranch for 14 years. He even met his lovely wife here. This time, rather than working, he was enjoying a family vacation with his wife and two beautiful little girls Julia and Gigi. They enjoyed the dancing....
And even the littlest Sammons cowgirled up!
Johnathon was a jack-of-all-trades while here, and even fell back on old habits during his stay. Including leading the ranch campfire sing-a-long!
He has been sharing his musicality with his children, because "Tom the Toad" came out for a another sing-a-long- this time accompanied by the young Sammons!
He also imparted some of his knowledge- or something-to some of our younger employees
And I think Grandma Jan may need a little girl grandchild after spending time painting Gigi's nails.
So GREAT to have you back at the ranch again! Safe travels, and we hope to see you again soon!
We had a great time this July 4th here on the ranch!
The fun started out with an invocation from our guest Steven- thanking God, and the soldiers that made the 4th possible.
Our multi-talented staff demonstrated one of the events: the three-legged race!
The kids had a watermelon eating contest- and Gigi and kid's counselor Eryn won!
Watermelon eating contestants Julia & Shiloh had a great time!
Other activities included: an egg toss, sack race, and an EPIC water balloon/squirt gun fight!
All of this was followed by a cookout and fireworks at Lake Vallecito!
We had a blast! Hope you can join us next year!
Romance was in the air at Wilderness Trails this past week! One couple came all the way from Italy to enjoy a three week honeymoon across the West! We felt very fortunate that they chose WTR for one of those weeks.
Honeymooners: Marco & Chiara
We also had a romantic mountain proposal- Rafael decided our setting was the perfect one to propose to his fiance Davena
Newly Engaged: Davena & Raf
Thank you so much to 1881 Western Photography for the beautiful pictures.
And that's not all folks! Our very own wranglers Kani and Gary Cassens celebrated their first anniversary this week!
Love was truly in the air!
Our first week open was an eventful one. We had several amazing guests and one amazing family. The Crandall family chose to make Wilderness Trails their site for a Western adventure: all twelve of them. I was excited to finally have people taller than my 5'11," and as they walked in, I was gleefully wondering which beanstalk they climbed down from. Initially, the wranglers were a bit nervous when one of their sons wanted to become "the man from snowy river," but it turned out to be a wonderful week. There were all day rides, trips to the lake, ziplining, rafting, and even just swapping stories around the campfires was such a great time.
When they left, it felt like saying good-bye to family. Matriarch Teri Crandall expressed this sentiment that got me all choked up:
Words cannot express the wonderful time I had at Wilderness Trails!!!!!! You treated us like family and your enthusiasm and sweet personality made me feel right at home!!! I loved sharing your " getting back in the saddle moment" that was priceless!!!!! I know your family was elated to see the video!!!! I hope you are enjoying this weeks folks. We came home to scorching heat and humidity. Ukk!! I mowed yard and worked in my garden all day today and it was HOT!!!! I will have to learn to put pics on here!!!! Take care and God Bless You!!!! I miss your sweet smile!!!!!! You are welcome here anytime!!!!! Your friend, Teri Crandall
Here is hoping for a summer full of guests like this weeks!
Claude Steelman, renowned nature photographer and artist went to "Disappointment Valley" last weekend and photographed some wild stallions fighting. This is one of his favorite pictures. As you can see, Claude is an incredibly talented photographer!
Claude has presented his work at the ranch during our Enrichment Series evenings, where we feature local artists and experts in fields like nature studies, geology and personal development.
The ranch has Claude Steelman photo books in our WTR Trading Post, including the heirloom quality coffee table book "Colorado Horses".
We are very fortunate to have Claude as a neighbor and enjoy sharing his expertise and photographic work.
Claude recently opened a Gallery on Durango's Main Street in the historic downtown district. Tomorrow night, May 11 is the spring "Gallery Walk". Please stop by to see his work in person and say hello to Claude!
WTR supports the work of Wild Mustangs and encourages others to support their efforts to better understand the American Mustang.