About.com – November 2011

About.com Adventure Travel

Happy Hour with the Horses at Vista Verde dude ranch- by Lois Friedland

Wine glass in hand, we strolled around the pasture rubbing the silky hair on the flanks of horses that walked up and nuzzled us gently. Welcome to “Happy Hour With the Horses” at Vista Verde Guest Ranch. In addition to horseback riding, it was just one of the special experiences we enjoyed at this luxury guest ranch near Steamboat, Colorado.

During the time we were at Vista Verde, my husband, Dick, trained for a cattle drive then spent a day on the range bringing an octet of maverick cows back to the pasture for the winter. (As he indicates in his article about the cattle drive, the reality doesn’t resemble scenes from the City Slickers movie.)

I went riding but preferred to spend much of my energy hiking to see Colorado’s fall foliage, biking to watch others practice their skills in a mountain bike terrain park, and sampling rock climbing for the first time.

After a day of “roughing it” in the outdoors, we’d retire to our cabin (where I finally found the honest definition of “rustic luxury”) to clean up. Evenings included leisurely gourmet dinners, chatting with the eclectic mix of guests attracted to the ranch’s smorgasbord of outdoor activities. We’re still in touch with some of the people we met.

On the following photo pages, you’ll learn and see more about the special style of horseback riding at Vista Verde, training for cattle drives, where to go hiking, rock climbing and play in the dude ranch’s bike terrain park.

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