According to an old Taoist proverb and often the onset of fall feels a little melancholy as summer winds down, the kids go back to school, adults get restless and leaves change colour! What better way to embrace this seasonal change byplanning an exhilarating guest ranch fall vacation; a chance to get away fromthe daily routine and embark on activities wonderfully different andchallenging. A fall vacation at a guest ranch can deliver all this and more in that most pleasant interlude between hot summer days and cold winter nights.
A fall vacation in southern climes means warmer daytime weather, less crowded venues and more affordable rates, particularly true of a guest ranch as it settles into a slower paced itinerary after its busy summer season. Fall can also be the perfect time to try out all the non-riding activities a guest ranch provides, in addition to the sheer joy and freedom of riding outdoors across wide, open country.
The following two ranches offer near perfect fall temperatures in outstanding down south locations, unique non-riding activities which perfectly complement their distinctive horse riding programs. Whether a guest ranch regular or not,it will come as an added bonus to participate in new, exciting adventures, as changing autumn casts its mellowing influence on these one-of-a-kind guestranch vacation.
“Mi Casa es su Casa”……..is a traditional Mexican greeting to visitors, especially so at Rancho Los Baños; a spectacular 30,000 acre eco-adventure guest and authentic working cattle ranch situated in the foothills of the Sierra Madres in safe,secure Sonora, Mexico, just 55 miles south of Douglas in southeast Arizona. Guests can be picked up at Tucson airport and driven across the Mexican border to the ranch to be warmly welcomed by owner/host Manuel Valenzuela. Set in a vast, protected, pristine wilderness area, the ranchis a diverse otherworldly National Park-type habitat of rugged mountains,ravines, box canyons and unfettered riding trails over the serene and remote high Sonoran desert landscape.
Rancho LosBaños Adventure Guest Ranch is a wonderful opportunity for enthusiastic history buffs to get acquainted with its many local attractions such as El CajonCanyon, home to 2,000 year-old petroglyph caves and dwellings or the abandoned 17th century San Jose Jesuit goldmine. A short distance from the ranch lies the secluded, scenic 20-mile long Lake Angostura and dam (built by theHoover Dam architects) surrounded by towering mountains, such as El Tigre,which houses the last stronghold of Geronimo and the Chiricahua Apache. Another interesting spot is Cat’s Claw cliffs, thought to be the hiding placeof outlaws and a long lost gold cache.
Other non-riding adventures include kayaking on the lake, hiking through stunning sculptured box canyons, trekking, geo-caching, bouldering and climbing throughCanyon country, as well as camping, birdwatching, boat tours,fly-fishing, jeep tours, soaking in thermal baths and mountain biking.
For more tranquil moments to properly absorb all the natural wonders of this unspoiled and long-hidden Sonoran jewel, the ranch organizes nighttime safaris, wildlife spotting, campfires and stargazing under dark unpolluted skies. The ranch is a remote and off-the-grid noise-free environment, a welcome respite from the non-stop bustle of urban life.
Accommodation at Rancho Los Baños consists of lodge rooms and well-appointed private casitas of one, two or three bedrooms each with lots of natural light, private bath,hot water showers, all powered by solar energy. The casitas are spacious,comfortable and are located at the main Rancho Hacienda with separate communal dining and socializing areas. All-inclusive and dining packages provide three gourmet home-cooked meals a day, featuring fresh, mesquite fire international and Mexican cuisine. Snacks and drinks are provided. Guests can buy their alcohol beverages and favourite snacks at a large grocery store en route to the ranch.
Rancho LosBaños is an opportunity to experience genuine Mexican hospitality, local culture and history plus incredible riding adventures at this amazing ranch,such as the annual week long corrida held in early November. This legendary cowboy rite of passage is suitable for intermediate to advanced guestriders and involves being part of a team with several hours spent daily in the saddle. Guests get to shadow an assigned skilled ranch vaquero to ensure safety during the adrenalin-charged cattle round-up. Other ranch guests can observe the cattle being driven home to be treated and housed in the various pens. This is the thrilling stuff of never to be forgotten memories! Another fall highlight is Thanksgiving Week Nov. 19-26th which includes a gourmet turkey meal and nightly Latin American wine tasting. Kids under 10 stay for free.
“I want my mind to grow”……..wrote famous author F. Scott Fitzgerald and Sedona Ranch, a Health Retreat Center and riding facility, is just the place to experience a beneficial, mind-expanding fall ranch vacation to open and “grow” the mind.
Set among a2.8 acre beautiful oasis in an Arizona desert filled with breath-taking vistas of sun-lit red rocks, mountains, star-filled nights and Indian heritage sites,Sedona Ranch has mild fall temperatures during the day and cool at night. Surrounded by a National Forest of several hundred acres, the ranch is 15 milesfrom the town of Sedona and just one and two hours away from Flagstaff and Phoenix airports. Sedona Ranch is an easily accessible guest ranch sanctuary that offers personalized healing, holistic retreats, acupuncture, yoga, amedicine wheel and an abundance of natural riding trails.
Sedona Ranch is not your typical guest ranch and has a unique approach to ranch vacations,including many original and intriguing non-riding programs to challenge your curiosity and ultimately open up a new path toward a more meaningful life. If you have been searching to achieve a better understanding of the yin and yang of your existence and a healthy balance between your daily needsand responsibilities, then come to Sedona Ranch for help at this increasingly popular and glowingly recommended ranch wellness center.
Sedona Ranchorganizes Holistic Healing Retreats for up to 8 Women guests run by owner/operator, life guide and trained practitioner Fernanda Durlene. The retreat will assist guests to get in shape spiritually and physically by means of acupuncture, meditation and breath-work, Acu-yoga, hikes and nutrition. Mealsare organic, dairy and gluten-free. The Equine Therapy sessions teach women the groundwork of horse-riding and self-empowerment. In addition, other specialized clinics are held throughout the year. During regular ranch activities,Fernanda is available for personal counselling, self-awareness and other wellness therapies such as acupressure, cupping and Reiki energy healing.
Individual riding programs consist of one-on-one sessions with Fernanda or a group session. Equestrian Therapy is a specially designed program for PSTD victims tohelp improve riding skills, mental stability and general well-being.
BYOH is an innovative amenity for guests who bring their own horse(s) with them on vacation. Sedona Ranch horse camp facilities include arenas, round pens,a mare motel and outdoor fire pit. Starry night-skies and incredible views come with the territory! The ranch also has rental space for personal RV’s and trailers and can accommodate up to 8 guests in its comfortable, fully-equipped self-catering cabins/trailers. Fresh eggs and vegetables can be had from the ranch kitchen garden.
Rental ATV’s are available for guests to explore the surrounding terrain and local Indian heritage sites such as the mysterious Shaman cave. Numerous riding and hiking trails are open to guests as well as horse shoe and bocce games. World Heritage must-be-seen archeological sites, Palatki and Honanki, are 30 minutesfrom the town of Sedona, showing cliff dwellings and rock art by Hopi ancestors.
Rancho LosBaños and Sedona Ranch offer fantastic fall ranch vacations among panoramic desert and mountainous backdrops and temperate climates. Invigorating riding opportunities and an unusual array of life-altering activities are sure to refresh, recharge and renew the senses in response to a primeval shift of nature, which invokes a timeless inner yearning for change. What’s not to love?
This article1st appeared in Ranch & Reserve Magazine Vol 2 Issue 6 .Author: SheilanDove
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