Our Anniversary, June 05, 2009 by Leyla Norman

Sundance Trail Guest Ranch in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado

Published June 05, 2009 by:

So, my husband and I had our anniversary coming up at the beginning of this past April. As with most other people, we really didn’t have a lot of money to spend on going on a big trip like we like to do. He is usually the one to make trip arrangements, and it’s often a surprise to me where we’re going. This year, I was told we were going to a dude ranch.

At the moment of his telling me this news, I don’t think that I would have wanted to be on the receiving end of my dirty look. I can give some nasty ones without thinking about it. I had thought about this look and knew just the one I wanted to give, and I did: eyebrows raised and eyes squinted, half of my mouth turned up unnaturally at the corner. I think I hurt my husband’s feelings.

I’m allergic to horses. When I carry hay, I get hives. I’m a whimp. On top of all that, I don’t do well with being dirty. I live in Colorado, and I don’t like dirt. I’m from Texas, and I don’t like dirt. I grew up around horses off and on, and they still make me sneeze. I can ride alright, but it’s not my favorite pastime.

So off we headed to the Sundance Trail Guest Ranch in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado, not too far from Fort Collins, and about a two hour drive from Denver International Airport. We were the only guests there at the ranch in the beginning of April, so we had the place to ourselves. Once I walked into our room, which was more like a massive suite with a fireplace and rocking chairs and a beautiful view, I knew I was going to be alright. The summer activities hadn’t started just yet, and the atmosphere was pretty relaxed.

We played pool in the recreation barn, where there’s lots of movies, games, couches, and foosball to keep anyone entertained, drank tea out on the sprawling deck in front of the main house, and sat in the with snow around us on the ground. The owners were very accommodating of our somewhat restricted diet, and I even got a birthday cake with strawberries on top like I wanted, and the staff made us anniversary cake made, too! The wranglers were very laid back, and we all ate delicious meals together for a couple of days. I’m an incredibly picky eater (surprise, surprise), and I never once went hungry. In fact, I ate way too much.

Sundance Trail Guest Ranch only accepts a maximum of 24 people, so the family atmosphere we experienced is the norm all year long. Guests can bring their dogs with them, and also their own horses to ride on the beautiful mountain trails near the national forest. I never really knew I was on a trail while we were riding as we were back off in the mountains pretty far. The wranglers really know their way around, and the wrangler’s dog that accompanied us on every ride had the best time traipsing along beside us and exploring the forest every once in a while.

During the spring, fall, and winter, the guest ranch turns into a bed and breakfast, and there are even murder mystery weekends to enjoy. In the summer, activities range from campfire songs, to professional rock climbing courses, white water rafting, fishing, target shooting, and hiking, with lots of other engaging options in between.

On my anniversary, I got dirty, sneezed a little on my horse, and I had the greatest two days I’ve had in a long time at the Sundance Trail Guest Ranch. The price for everything was incredibly reasonable, and I can’t wait to go back!