Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Brunch and beyond at Lake Mancos Ranch

Guest ranches are all about food and horses, so it's no surprise that, like the Don K, the Lake Mancos Ranch schedule also included a weekly brunch ride.  Every Thursday morning, we'd get saddle up...
Tack room and hitching rails at Lake Mancos Ranch, 1990
and take a short ride downstream to Rendezvous Canyon.
Rendezvous Canyon
The guests would dismount...
Roany, Popcorn, Patch
and head over to the covered outdoor kitchen where they were served a huge meal that included biscuits and gravy, eggs and all sorts of breakfast meats.
Kathy and Eddie serving up brunch
I learned pretty quickly that it was best not to eat all that heavy food.  Instead, I'd grab a quick bite and spend my time hanging out with the horses and other staff members.
Tracy and Einstein
Once everyone had eaten their fill, we remounted and headed up into the mountains for the half day ride along the Chicken Creek trail in the San Juan National Forest.
the Mavericks!
We passed cows,
cattle grazing on public land
rode through water,
and climbed some pretty serious mountains.
Pioneer (bay) and Buttermilk (buckskin)
By the time we reached the aspens, everyone who'd eaten too much brunch was feeling too nauseous to enjoy the view!
almost there!
Fortunately, the end was in sight.  This ride concluded not at the ranch, but at the Aspen Grove Ranger Station, where the horses were unsaddled and pastured overnight.  The male wranglers camped with them, but Audra and I were driven back to the ranch with all the guests and other staff.  Usually I objected to this sort of gender discrimination, but in this case I didn't mind one bit!
Ranger Station, Friday morning
The next morning, we were driven back to the ranger station where all the horses were magically saddled and waiting.  We climbed aboard and headed out for the all day ride.
Lightfoot's ears
This ride was as spectacular as it was long.
Deer Lick
We started by climbing Deer Lick, which afforded us great views...
view from Deer Lick
of our next destination...
view of Golconda Meadow from Deer Lick
which was a big clearing called Golconda.
Cody and Jennifer at Golconda Meadow
This area was the site of an old mining camp. 
remains of the Golconda Post Office
Most of the buildings were long gone, but there was just enough left to make this a proper ghost town.
inside the Golconda Post Office
After leaving Golconda, we headed down a series of steep switchbacks which took us into Box Canyon.  
the switchbacks leading to Box Canyon
By this time, everyone was ready for lunch, so we dismounted, tied up...
Cody at Box Canyon
and ate.
Jennifer and Meree at Box Canyon
We may have spent a little time goofing off, too!
Randy and Meree at Box Canyon
The rest of the ride looked more or less like this...
heading home
and this.
West Mancos Overlook
Lake Mancos Ranch was sold several years ago, and is now called Majestic Dude Ranch.  If your vacation budget is bigger than mine, I can't recommend a better destination.  Such a beautiful part of the world, and I bet they still have a weekly brunch ride!

5 comments:

  1. What a great cowgirl you are, sitting in that Box Canyon!

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    1. That is one of my very favorite pictures of myself. I actually look like a real cowgirl rather than a college girl pretending!

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  2. How very funny that I checked out that exact place online about three years ago, for our Venture Crew. It turned out to be too expensive and too far away but boy, I would have LOVED to go there!!!

    I have a "big birthday" coming up and doing a riding vacation is very high on my list of things I'd like to do to celebrate. Hmmm... think I will check out the Majestic website again. :-)

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    1. Aside from what I read on their Facebook page, I don't know anything about the "new" owners or management. However, I get the impression that they're really committed to providing their guests with a quality vacation experience. If I had a lot of money to spend, I would absolutely vacation there. All the horses I knew are long gone, but it would make me so happy to ride those trails again.

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  3. I love that you have so many photos of these adventures, Jennifer! Despite spending much of the 80s on horseback myself, I have none.

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