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newman family’s Travel Diary

Monday, 04 Jun 2012

Location: Alpine, Arizona, USA

MapSo we made it to the dude ranch -- Beaver Creek Guest Ranch in Alpine, Arizona. It took us FOREVER to get here yesterday, but the look on Maggie's face this morning as she rode her horse, Stormy, on the trails makes the trip well worth while.

We spent most of yesterday getting ready for our adventure here. Got our "supplies" and headed on the beautiful trek out of Phoenix: from dirt dry, hot prairies to vast, rocky steep and winding roads. The ranch is in a fairly remote part of Az, and we didn't arrive here until 7. Luckily for us, they waited on dinner. Aidan actually used the word "phenomenal" to describe the ranch owner Karen's homemade french bread. I think the only other time he ever used that word in the context of describing food is Grandma's ricotta cookies!

We are staying in a cute little cabin which the owners rebuilt last year after the Alpine wild fires of last year destroyed everything in this area of Arizona. It is rustic (and I will certainly be ready for some spa conditions) but it is clean and warm when it needs to be. (Nights are cool!!).

We forced ourselves to sleep but couldn't contain ourselves for too long. The horses were out in the pasture pretty much right outside of our cabin, so Maggie was out there by about 7:30, waiting for the horses to come up to the fence. We had a hearty breakfast (of course) and then went to do our first trail ride! We each had our own horse: Raney had Ranger; Aidan had Avanti ("Avanti, Avanti" Aidan says in an Italian accent); Maggie had Stormy). The kids took right to the riding. We did a long trail ride, probably a few hours long. Through beautiful meadows, across numerous creeks (sometimes to my fear of crashing), through the wooded areas. It was really great, and everyone did a great job.

After lunch, the kids went into the corral area and had some lessons on better guiding the horses, through barrels, etc. Aidan's horse was a bit pokey despite his kicks and slaps across the bum. Maggie's horse was a little stubborn. But both Maggie and Aidan ended up with a couple of fabulous runs. Raney really seemed to have some natural ability to guide easily, even at a trot.

A couple of the ranch wranglers took us fishing in a nearby river. Raney caught one! Everyone caught some crawfish. They all had lots of fun!

We are pooped but not thinking about work,that's for sure. Having trouble getting any connection on the ipad, so borrowing the owner's computer. More tomorrow....