I don’t like horses, I didn’t really think fly-fishing was all that interesting and never had an wish to shoot a gun that could stop a bison in its tracks…that is until I went to Montana, in the north west of the United States.
Okay, the truth is that I’m actually scared of horses – and they know it too! But having promised my girlfriend that we’d go on a Ranch holiday one day, this was the year that I had to fulfil that promise, and we headed off to The Ranch at Rock Creek.
And what an absolutely beautiful part of the world Montana is! And the Ranch at Rock Creek is simply stunning…forget any misconception that you (and I) had about a ranch being a dusty wooden barn and having to sleep on bails of hay and eat beans around a camp fire. This was pure luxury. In fact it has to be one of the finest lodges which I’ve had the pleasure of staying in, during my 25 years of luxury travel.
We stayed in a ‘Trapper Tent’ and were situated on the banks of the creek – which is actually now a roaring river following a snowy winter. The suite was one of just eight, and was surrounded by the corale and cattle. The main lodge was just a two minute cycle away, and it’s there that we would venture to indulge on some gorgeous meals, each one cooked to perfection by Josh and his team in the kitchen.
We were able to choose the daily activities we wanted to participate in, and were able to do them for as long as we wished to do them. So of course I had to at least try horse riding…
Secretly, I was quite excited about being a ‘cowboy’ for the few days while I was there, and any fears I had about horses quickly disappeared as I was presented with Chester – my horse for the weekend.
Chester - My Horse
He couldn’t have been any calmer and was so easy to ride too. As we climbed up into the mountain air, it then became so clear to me why so many of Western & Oriental’s clients take ranch holidays. This is ‘Big Sky’ country and that really sums it up very well! You actually have to experience it to really appreciate that statement, but as you sit ‘On Top of the World’ (actually only about 500 feet high) you really do envy the guys ‘n’ gals who work at the The Ranch at Rock Creek – they have to put up with this every day!!
Top of the World - sign post
By this point I was also quite keen to see what fly-fishing was all about, and it’s the art of fishing with a pole that is much longer than the one many other types of fish are caught with. I was told that I had to be really patient, but this was reserved for our wonderful guide Mike, who had the patience of a saint as he unhooked my ‘fly and line’ from the tree behind me for the seventh time in 10 minutes. But hey, I caught a beautiful cutthroat trout after 30 minutes. Sadly for me I was still four fish behind my girlfriend – also a novice at fishing!
Fly-fishing gone wrong!
We also tried our hand on the shooting range, situated in a valley, where we also paused our instruction session to listen to the coyote’s fighting in the nearby woodland. After an hour of playing at being John Wayne, I’d been beaten again by my ‘non-competitive’ girlfriend!
The evenings weren’t spent around the chuck-wagon, but enjoyed spending time eating deliciously cooked dinner and also in the Silver Dollar Saloon bar – complete with pool table, movie screen and bowling alley! If you are planning a Ranch holiday and thought they were only about riding on horses, believe me, there are many more activities to do than that! They are perfect for couples and even for more adventurous families.
Western & Oriental have some fantastic summer savings at the Ranch At Rock Creek, you can stay 7 nights and only pay for 5. Valid for travel between 27 August – 30 September 2011. In addition to the free nights, you will receive a free pair of riding boots to the value of US$195 per adult. See here for more information on The Ranch At Rock Creek.