Our Kids Fell In Love With Bear Canyon Ranch. We Did, Too.

This is a tale of three canyons.  Chances are you haven’t heard of at least one and maybe two.

Here’s what I plan to cover in this trip report, mostly in order:

There’s not much left to tell from this trip.  We covered two canyons and Tamaya.  The only thing really left is….well, the best part.  At least if you ask my kids.  I’d tend to agree.  Here’s the lovable, laughable tale of our trip to Bear Canyon Ranch.  We’ll wrap up with a bit of a scary tale of Bishop Castle and Great Wolf Lodge.  But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

I first visited Bear Canyon Ranch a few years ago with Randy Petersen.  If you’re not familiar, Randy is the godfather of miles and points and always up to hosting people at Bear Canyon Ranch, his home away from home at 9,000 feet above sea level.  He’s invited us to visit him and his wife, Julie in the past.  We’ve just never made time for it.  The kids were excited when I mentioned the possibility.  So, we built a trip around it (the one you’ve been following along from Phoenix to Albuquerque).

That first quick visit was what spurred me to plan a family vacation to Bear Canyon Ranch.  But, would it be as cool as I remembered it, or would I set my kids up for a boring few days in the wilderness?

Rye, Colorado is one of the closest incorporated towns.  Bear Canyon Ranch is in the San Isabel Forest and Rye sits at the base.  Those that know me from when I was much younger will recall that I grew in Rye, NY.  25 years ago, I stopped at this stone sign in Rye, Colorado with my best friend and a couple of other friends on a trip shortly after we graduated high school.  As a college student, it was just a trip out-of-the-way for a picture.  25 years later, it’s a reinforcement of why I love travel so much.  Exploring the world and tucking away memories along the way is invigorating for me.

When I say there’s no reception up there, that’s virtually true.  Randy has a small cell at his house for calls and internet, but the surrounding area is draped in a lack of connectivity.  Our first adventure occurred before we even got there.  3 years after my first visit, I had failed to ask for directions.  Dummy!

Miraculously, we only got lost twice for a total of less than 20 minutes.  We crested a hill and I saw the two familiar stone pillars.  Randy and Julie were waiting for us a few hundred feet down the road.  The ranch isn’t finished yet, so we were staying at a local campground in a trailer.  No loyalty program there!

It’s hard to put into perspective how much fun the kids (and adults) actually had.  I’ll try to paint a picture with pictures. I’d like to say this falls into the category of “you kinda had to be there”, but I want to make sure my kids can look back on the pictures and tell stories.

Randy has painstakingly worked on the theming at Bear Canyon Ranch.  You’ll see branded signs calling out such areas as The Tank, Comanche Cut and the Bunkhouse.

There were games of cowboys and indians (indians and cowboys?) on 4-wheelers.

There was the wagon full of antlers.  And, the saddle that we bought Randy as a birthday gift a few years ago.  There’s a photo of Randy riding me on that saddle in a Las Vegas ballroom.  I couldn’t dig it up, but maybe someone will volunteer it.

Randy came up with the awesome idea to have a root beer tasting.  There were something like 20 flavors.  Some of them were fascinating, some disgusting.  They competed in brackets of blind taste tests.  If you can believe it, a popular brand (Stewart’s) took the trophy.  We were quite the connoisseurs when we were done.

Ever Heard Of Any Of These Root Beers?

This Is A Setup!

Charlie has been dreaming of being a cowboy for years.  Boy, did he get his wish.  So did Catherine.

And, we couldn’t have enjoyed the S’mores Bar more, down in the canteen.  Yes, the old truck is being converted into a BBQ!

Of Course The Inn/Restaurant In Town Is Called The Lodge, Right?

Randy took us to the top of the mountain and explored a number of areas with us.  From time to time, we needed to take a detour around recent fallen trees and the occasional local wildlife.

Probably the best picture I’ve ever personally taken of my wife (and her pink sheriff’s badge).

And, there were uncountable great memories made.

A Happy Bunch Of Cowboys

The Final Two Pennies

Sometimes, the best stories tell themselves.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, my photos from Bear Canyon Ranch measure into the billions of words.  We froze our butts off for 3 days, laughed, loved and celebrated nothing in particular other than the exuberance of youth and the joy of friendship.  I’m told there’s some vacancy at Bear Canyon Ranch this season.  We’ll be booking a reservation.

The post Our Kids Fell In Love With Bear Canyon Ranch. We Did, Too. was published first on Pizza in Motion

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