April 24, 2018
Laramie RiverRanch Adventure
At the gate (left to right): Courtney Ames of Huntington Beach CA; Steve Westerdale of Clovis NM; Pam Gross of Southaven, MS; Jane Coln of Olive Branch, MS; and Lynda Pointer of Olive Branch, MS.
Three Desoto County, Mississippi friends, Pam Gross, Lynda Pointer and I, recently spirited into the adventure of a guest ranch in north central Colorado. The trip began with a weekend in Laramie, Wyoming with tours of the Snowy Mountain Range’s snow-capped peaks, Centennial, Wyoming, the Territorial Prison where Butch Cassidy was incarcerated, and the historic Ivinson Mansion. Then it was on to Laramie River Ranch in Glendevey, Colorado.
Ranch guests are matched with mounts for the week, which include American Quarter Horses, Paints, Appaloosas, draft-crosses, POA’s, and more. The ranch has 78 horses that are superb trail mounts, necessary for the gorgeous but challenging terrain they must navigate. The rocky, sagebrush-covered ground was full of badger holes. Small groups of riders are led by wranglers, experienced young men and women who work there during guest season. Wildlife abounds and we spotted herds of antelope, including the reclusive Elvis, a lone pronghorn that sought out trail riders for his appearances. We saw hawks, rabbits, chipmunks, magpies, mule deer, and heard many coyotes.
Other activities available to us included fly fishing in the Laramie River and LaGarde Creek, hiking with the ranch naturalist, square dancing, bareback riding, natural horsemanship clinics, old-time photos, and a night of music by a cowboy singer/guitarist.
Each day we rode two long rides, punctuated by fabulous meals, enjoying every amenity and comfort imaginable, except television and cell phone service, making it a complete escape from urban life.
Team penning was a new experience for many guests, and was made more challenging by the participants riding out to round up the steers, and then returning them to their pastureland afterward.
Some guests rode with the Hohnholz Ranch’s fall cattle drive. The morning of the drive, we awoke to snow on the ground and flakes still spitting, in a temperature of 28 degrees. The horses were trailered to the rendezvous point where we rode for 8 hours over about 18 miles in the mountains to locate the Charolais and Black Angus cattle and bring them back to winter pasture.
On our last ride, I told our wrangler we had gone the whole week without spotting a moose, and asked if she could make it happen. Not long afterwards, we crossed the crystal clear waters of the LaGarde Creek, and someone shouted, “Look! A moose!” We saw a huge cow with her baby close behind charge from the brush and run across the pasture. My trip was then complete!
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