We just got back from the Flying U Ranch, and already we are trying to figure out how soon we can go back! Located in 70 mile house, it’s got 20,000 acres of pristine wilderness that you can ride unsupervised in .. I went there when I was 12, and have wanted to go back ever since. It is one of two places in North America where you can ride unsupervised.
First, the horsemaster (Robert) welcomes you to the ranch, and asks you what your experience level is.. Be honest, he will match you with the exact horse that suits you. I am experienced as I have been riding since I was 9, and he gave me Haley, a feisty girl that has an amazingly smooth canter and a little bit of a stubborn streak!
My boyfriend has less experience, and so he got Maiden, who was a lovely girl that loves to eat, and isn’t quite as keen on going faster than a trot, but will do so if she is encouraged enough.. She also had a slight … er… gas issue, so that usually sent me into a fit of the giggles when she would start to trot, as it was interspersed with little toots! Every day you spend with your horse (you get the same one for the whole time! And they tack them up for you each day so they are ready to go as soon as you are) you get more confident and comfortable. By the end of our time, we were both totally bonded to our horses.
Our cabin was extremely rustic, but very comfortable, with two double beds and two single beds, a woodburning stove (which we’d stoke up at night to keep it warm), and a cute jug and basin to wash up with before you go to sleep. The Bathhouse is not far away, and very clean, with three showers for each side (womens and mens) that have curtains, so if you’re shy it’s not an issue.
We arrived at around 1pm on the Saturday, so we got settled into our cabin and then went down to get our horses for a short ride before dinner. You can ride between 9-4 every day, and if you want to stay out all day, they will pack you a lunch to take with you.. Breakfast is at 8am (except Sunday when it’s at 9) and includes either pancakes and bacon, French toast and sausages, oatmeal, fresh fruit, coffee, orange juice and water. Lunch is hotdogs, rice krispy squares, granola bars, sandwiches, beans, iced tea, and fruit. Dinner is steak, meatloaf, turkey dinner (including stuffing, baked potatoes, home made bread) and a different dessert every night, including apple pie, icecream, cake, and other stuff.
The food is GREAT, and you are usually starving each meal! There are also snacks, drinks, and other items for sale in the general store. They also sell carrots (which I highly recommend as a treat for your horse) and shirts, sweatshirts, trench coats, hats, earrings, bandannas and souvenirs, all at super reasonable prices!
They have live music, an old-fashioned saloon, hayrides, and movies in an old theatre.. If one of your party doesn’t ride, there are 6 canoes, 4 kayaks, and swimming off their private dock on Green Lake. At night, you can light a fire in the giant fire pit area in the middle of the grounds, right beside the eating hall.. We met a really nice group of guys visiting from Seattle, and a cute couple from Pitt Meadows.. Even funnier, there was a girl there that we found out had gone to my elementary school AND my highschool there with her mom and daughter. The place was full (around 60 people) and you almost never saw any of them! A lot of people also brought their dogs, who roamed around loose quite happily. I fell in love with a beautiful wolf-looking dog named Megan with ice blue eyes..
The staff are AMAZING, and will help you with whatever you need.. Greta, Brian, and especially Robert (who gave me tips on how to play darts without looking like an idiot!)
While we were riding, we saw a pack of coyotes, prairie dogs, deer, pigs, chipmunks, baby birds, bats and a bear (black) was even spotted on one of the trails. If you like to go fast, there are tons of opportunities to do so as the property is so big!
Tips: bring your own pillows/extra blankets/towels if you are fussy about those, the ones they provide are pretty basic, but totally sufficient. Bring a 2L of water so you don’t have to go back and forth to the main house. Bring bug spray as there are mosquitos that get pretty hungry, and suntan lotion as you are out in the sun all day. If you like to drink, bring a cooler with you with whatever alcohol you prefer.. we didn’t actually drink that much as we were so tired at the end of the day!
The ranch has been open for 89 years, and it is hands down the best vacation I have ever had!!!
I can’t wait to go back!
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