The Doors song was really the only suitable title for this final post about the ranch holiday. It sums everything up.
Sunday morning dawned and there was the sad knowledge that I would not be staying long at the ranch. While a number of us were leaving today, it would be at different times. Farewells would there be prolonged. I was however greeted by a glorious sight being up slightly early, with a hot air balloon rising above the desert with a clear blue background.
It helped demonstrate the beauty of the place, but at the same time made me realise how much I would miss the desert. Many people might struggle to find a desert beautiful, but I had grown to find wonder in the place on every ride, and there was still so much more that I hadn’t seen. The half day and full day rides into the nation park hadn’t been done, and what differences would they have presented.
The first set of farewells was breakfast time, with a couple of friends on an early flight. There was still time for a good breakfast, but there was a sense of sorry at the parting.
Email addresses had been exchanged, even offers to visit, and partial plans made. It was nice to know that while the holiday may be ending, the friendships, which now felt so much longer than just a week, were going to be maintained.
There was a bit of a gap then before the next departure (myself among them). There was an odd feeling. We sat around in the patio area, enjoying the weather. There was conversation and reminiscing of some of the events of the week, but there was a somber feeling as well. The Trip Advisor reviews were correct. The hardest thing about the place was leaving. None of us wanted to, irrespective of what we might be heading home for.
I said my goodbyes and headed away from the ranch. Glad in the knowledge of some wonderful new friends, and while sad in leaving, knowing I had found a place that was truly wonderful and that I could look forward to returning to. The journey home was quite uneventful, certainly compared to some. I was cheered by being able to use the internet at the airports to send and receive emails from those also traveling back (though I have to wonder why at UK airports internet access is charged for when it isn’t elsewhere)!
There are a lot of thanks that need to go out in relation to the holiday. I met a great group of people, both staff and holiday makers. Great thanks has to go to the ranch as a whole. White Stallion Ranch is a truly magnificent holiday location. I cannot rate it enough. The True Family are wonderful hosts and a special thanks has to go to David who would give up his free time to spend it with the guests, going the extra mile. In the office, all the staff were wonderful, but I have to thank both Gabe and Jodi in respect to answering the myriad of questions I would ask. Thanks also to Kerry on the waitressing team who would always ask how I was and would know me by name. Too many of the wranglers to mention, but you were all great and spared so much time for everyone.
Finally to my new friends. Jan, it was great riding with you and you helped encourage me to see how far I had come over the week. Katja, for dragging me up into the line dancing when I’d been traveling and up for over 24 hours. It helped me get into enjoyment of the ranch quickly. Lia, you were always smiling, happy and encouraging. It was great fun riding with you and sharing evening drinks. Jen, I think you were the guest I spoke to at the ranch when I sat down for dinner and it was great to get to know you. Andy and Elaine, fellow Brits that I had a wonderful giggle with while on the rides, the amusing assessments of our horses characters still makes me smile. Holly and Dan, it may have been only 3 days, but it seems so much more and your enthusiasm was infectious. You got us team penning and I’ll be forever thankful for that. Anne, who was in a similar situation to me in at the start of the holiday, slightly wary of what we’d let ourselves in for, and I think we both came away loving it.