Thursday, September 13, 2012

Marlboro Ranch - Day 2 (very image heavy)

Wow! As if Day 1 wasn't fun enough, Day 2 was even better!  Of course, a great night's sleep in a super comfortable bed didn't hurt.

What I didn't mention yesterday was that the rooms don't have AC. But they didn't need it. At least ours didn't. There was a rotary fan in our room to help circulate air, but the rooms are well insulated.  During the day the curtains are drawn and that helps keep most of the heat out. We propped our balcony door open and kept it that way most of the time.

When I woke up at 6am on Day 2 the room was nice and chilly and comfortable since we slept with the balcony door open. I was getting down into the 40s and 50s at night. After I woke up I went and sat out on the balcony for a little bit and watched what was going on in town. The staff was getting Town prepared for the day and there were a few guests already up and about.

They start serving breakfast at 6 or 7 and our first activity was at 8 so we got dressed and headed to the Saloon for breakfast. I don't remember exactly what they had on the buffet, the only thing I really remember is the bacon. It was so good. I like bacon, but I hate to cook it so when I can get perfectly cooked thick cut bacon I jump at the chance. I probably had about 6 pieces each morning.

about 7:30 am

After breakfast we strolled on over to the barn for our first activity, which was the cattle drive. The day before we were weighed and fitted for a saddle so all the horses were already saddled up and ready for our qualification ride. I was put on a horse named Wally and he was huge. We had to walk single file around the arena and our 2 guides were watching to make sure we had our feet right in the stirrups and we were sitting correctly so we wouldn't injure the horses or ourselves. They took us out of line one at a time and had us do figure eights around some cones to make sure we knew how to control the horses. The last step was we had to trot our horse down the fence line of the arena so the guides could make sure we could keep our horses under control and that we wouldn't panic and drop the reins. Everyone in our group had ridden before so we didn't have any problems. After the qualification we had about 45 minutes before the cattle drive began.

We had a blast on the cattle drive. I'm so glad we did it. Even though G was hesitant about it, he was glad we did it, too.  We literally went out into a large pasture where the cattle were grazing and had to round them up and drive them toward the gate we wanted them to go through. We had to go and get the ones that wandered off, we went down steep rocky terrain, and through some creeks. It only lasted about 2 hours, but it was amazing. I want to do it again so bad. After we got the cattle to the other pasture everyone stopped for a photo opp before heading back to Town. The guides would take pictures of us on our horses first facing one way to get either mountains or cattle behind us and then turn us the other way and take another picture. The guide that helped us was a young male and he wasn't the best at taking pictures, but that's ok. 
before we rounded up the cattle
we had to wear stampede strings on our hats so they wouldn't blow off and spook the horses
this was one of the pictures the guide took at the end

After we got back to Town after the cattle drive it was just about time for lunch. It was yummy of course. I did manage to get pictures of the buffet this time.

I don't think there was a bad meal while we were there. They offer so many choices you're almost guaranteed to find something you like. If not the kitchen is more than happy to make something for you.

After lunch we had a few hours to explore the town before our next activity. We thought about taking a nap, but we decided to walk around because we didn't want our muscles to tighten up after the cattle drive. So we checked out all the different buildings and took lots of pictures.

Staff at the General Store

After our walk about it was time for our last scheduled activity of the day which was the scenic nature walk. I was having some issues with the altitude at this point and was having some shortness of breath so our guide suggested the shorter path. I didn't take any pictures on the walk because we were mostly walking through the woods and our guide was telling us about the trees and stuff around us plus I had a walking stick in one hand and a bottle of water in the other. He showed us bear claw marks in an aspen tree (I think) that went as far up the tree as you could see. Apparently when the bark of an aspen tree is punctured it scars. He also told us that when an aspen tree grows and the roots spread, new clone trees spring up from the roots. Each grove of aspens is really one organism because they all share one root system. If there is a large area of aspens you can tell which ones are connected because they all change colors at the same time. I hope that was right, lol. I'm pretty sure they were aspen trees.

After our walk it was time for the running of the horses. It was one of the highlights for me.

Shortly after the running, the Main Street Party started. There was branding, horseshoes, roping, a magician, pool, wine and micro brew tasting, and Cowboy Cal.

G branding a piece of leather with the Ranch Headquarters logo

micro brew tasting. would you drink a beer called moose drool?
Cowboy Cal - holds the world's record for largest lasso

the magician was corny, but G loved it

After the Main Street Party they asked us all to go into the Livery for an announcement about dinner. Once we all piled in they told us that there was going to be food served in the Livery and in the Saloon for dinner.  There was also going to be karaoke in the Livery after dinner and a couple of astronomers were going to have telescopes set up behind the livery around 10pm. We sat in the Livery and ate the food there before going to the Saloon to see what they had over there. Unfortunately we missed the fried bar, it was already closed by the time we got over there, but it was ok because the 14 hour smoked hand carved brisket we had at the Livery was the best brisket I've ever eaten. I was eating it of G's plate, too. We got the recipe for the rub they used to try here at home.  They said it would be good also on chicken or any other type of meat you can grill or smoke. Maybe I can talk my dad into smoking a brisket or some chicken this weekend so we can test it out. If it turns out good I'll post the recipe.

Anyway, back to the food. The food we had this night was probably the best of any food we had while there. There was so much to choose from even without the fried bar. They had a potato bar with potatoes fixes any way you can think of and a salad bar with any type of lettuce or greens and toppings that you could possibly want in a salad. There was even a sundae bar for dessert. Here are some pictures.

by the time I got around to taking pictures this was all the brisket that was left

After dinner we headed over to the saloon where I sat down to make some jewelry and by the time I was finished the star gazing had already started behind the Livery so we made our way over there. Unfortunately, we just missed seeing Saturn in the telescope by a few minutes. That was the main reason I wanted to do the star gazing. We still had a good time, though. The husband and wife astronomers were very knowledgeable and friendly. We got to see the tail end of a meteor shower that happens every year in August, and we stayed out late enough to watch the International Space Station go by. I learned that it orbits the earth every 90 minutes.

That's pretty much it for action packed Day 2. Stay tuned for Day 3!

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