Saturday, June 6, 2015

Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Dude Ranch Vacation: Relaxation, Fun & Adventure

Horseshoe Canyon Ranch and the Dude Ranchers Association sponsored this trip for myself and 4 other bloggers. All opinions are 100% honest and my own. 
Dude Ranch Unique Vacation Idea

When I signed on to travel to Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Jasper, Arkansas for a blogger trip, I have to admit I had no idea what I was getting myself into. But as a stay at home mom, I couldn't resist the chance of a kid free 5 day vacation. Full disclosure, I'm not exactly an outdoorsy kind of girl. I am from Kansas and have dealt with my fair share of bugs and critters, but I've never been to a ranch before and have only ridden a horse a couple of times. After speaking to the other bloggers, it was clear that none of us really knew what to expect so off we went on the 4 and a half hour drive that would lead us to a truly amazing experience! I originally wrote vacation there instead of experience and I had to change it because it was truly such a memorable trip for me.
Despite some stormy weather upon our arrival, I could tell that the scenery was breathtaking.

We settled into our cabin and dove right into the numerous activities offered the next morning. From climbing with the Adventure Guides to riding with the Wranglers, there is never a shortage of activities at the ranch. Check out a list of over 50 things to do at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch created by Enza, one of the other bloggers on the trip. Every morning and afternoon we got the chance to do a ride on one of the many beautiful trails on the ranch. The wranglers make every effort to keep you with the same horse all week if you feel comfortable with it. My first horse and I didn't mesh well so they moved me to a different horse, Noah, the next time and he and I got along great.

He was my horse for the rest of the week and we got the chance to do some amazing rides! My favorite was a ride that took us down to the creek where we got to ride our horses into the water to see a beautiful waterfall. Despite Noah's hesitation to go into the water, the wrangler eventually had to come lead him in, it was absolutely gorgeous and I will never forget it.

While riding is what you would normally think of when you hear about a dude ranch vacation, Horseshoe Canyon Ranch is full of adventure opportunities and is a famous rock climbing destination. Despite my massive fear of heights, we couldn't pass up some of the adventure course and I'm proud to say I conquered the nearly half mile long zip line and a 40 ft drop swing called The Screamer.

The adventure guides are a fun group of guys who specialize in pushing you out of your comfort zone. Several explained to us that we put limits on ourselves and if we could just get out of our own heads, we could do amazing things. When we were hiking up to the adventure course, I was bound and determined that I was only doing the zip line. Twenty minutes later I was swinging high in the air screaming my lungs out. Thanks to these guys I pushed myself farther than I ever thought I could and am so happy I did. They told us multiple times they never have anyone regret doing things, but they do get calls from people who regret not trying. My kids and husband still can't believe I did the Screamer but luckily I have this video to prove it! Skip to 1:10 if you don't want to see all the prep stuff. 

Our time at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch was truly amazing. The staff was wonderful, the food was delicious, the views were spectacular and the activities were so much fun. While I was ready to come home to see my family, I am now ready to take my whole family back to experience all that Horseshoe Canyon has to offer. I am really missing everything including the simplest moments of sitting on our cabin's deck just watching the rain. 

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Stay tuned next week for more posts about my experiences at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch. I have so much I want to share with you about this amazing place! 

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