My husband and I recently returned from 5 days at a guest ranch in British Columbia and some of our friends asked us to describe our experience as they had never been to a guest ranch before on vacation. It made me think that their questions are probably quite common and that many people may also find it useful to hear a firsthand account of the guest ranch experience. There are many types of guest ranches to consider when choosing a guest ranch vacation and for our vacation we went to a Guest Ranch Resort & Spa.
We arrived on a Friday afternoon, and after being greeted warmly by all the staff and owners, we unpacked our bags in our cozy country room, with a spectacular view of the glacial mountains and ranch lands from our private balcony. It was July 1st (Canada Day)so there was a celebration at the guest ranch including a huge western style BBQ and campfire and even camp songs and s’mores to be enjoyed with the other guests and staff. That night as we snuggled under the soft duvet, we relished the sounds of silence, the cool, fresh mountain air and the millions of twinkling stars in the sky.
Our second day at the guest ranch started off with a hearty ranch-style breakfast and then a morning hike through the boreal forest where we spotted deer tracks and various species of birds. After a delicious, healthy buffet lunch we headed to the barn where we were assigned a horse for the week according to our skill level. Mounted on my horse Sky, we followed the head wrangler as our group left the guest ranch behind us and set off on one of the numerous and varied trails that surround the ranch. After a relaxing two hour ride that also included a few lopes, we returned to the barn where I bid Sky a good-night. There was still 2 hours before dinner so we headed to the games room and played some pool and then caught the tail end of a movie in the home theatre room.
At 6pm we joined the other guests and owners upstairs for a glass of wine before dinner and when the dinner bell sounded we eagerly took our places at the table and waited as the chef served the appetizer and then brought barbequed salmon on a cedar plank and tender cuts of meat with roast potatoes and asparagus. Dessert consisted of individual pots of melt-in-your-mouth chocolate soufflé and pleasant dinner conversation. After our meal had digested we ambled over to the guest ranch spa for a traditional Thai massage by Thai therapists, where for the next hour and a half we drifted in and out of consciousness as we enjoyed our full body treatment. When we were done I felt a deep sense of tranquility and felt the rigours of city life slip away.
For the next few days we followed much the same pattern of hiking, riding, spa treatments, enjoying healthy, delicious meals with the other guests and relaxing in the hot tub or playing games or simply reading a book in the main lodge while taking the time to enjoy the spectacular view. As our guest ranch vacation at Echo Valley Ranch & Spa came to an end I felt renewed and refreshed and ready to return to the city. It had been especially meaningful for us as we had spent the week with my sisters, who were also visiting Echo Valley Ranch, which is owned by our Father and his wife. As always a guest ranch vacation is a great way to reconnect with family and friends in an idyllic setting far from the distractions of city life.