Four Reasons a Dude Ranch Vacation Will Revive your Mental and Physical Psyche During a Pandemic.
The idea of vacation has changed. In the past, ‘vacation’ was to escape daily life, explore new activity and landscape, and sample different cuisine and culture. By summer 2020, vacation wasn’t even in most family’s evening rhetoric of dreams and ideas for the coming autumn. Change that attitude like the change of season and reenergize your body with the original intent of vacationing and doing so safely at a Dude Ranch. When you are ready to travel again revive your Mental and Physical Psyche at a Dude Ranch.
Human bodies do need a reset and a time to recuperate. Planning a family trip—lodging, transportation, food, safety, health centers and then activity to boot—it’s overwhelming and not emotionally healthy to begin navigating during COVID times. Dude Ranch travel was originally intended for long stays, up to a month or more, with every nuance of ‘vacation’ arranged and executed without any sweat lost on cumbersome travel arrangements. Let the Western Way with original hospitality and wild, open spaces satisfy the vacation longing in most of us.
How many times have you read and / or heard that nature is good for both mental and physical health? Harvard Men’s Health Watch summed it up perfectly in a summer 2018 piece. “Sour mood getting you down? Get back to nature. Research suggests that mood disorders can be lifted by spending more time outdoors. Looking for a simple way to help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and maybe even improve your memory? Take a walk in the woods.”
A walk in the woods isn’t that simple for many urban dwellers. Forest and open space are not always accessible; therefore, it makes sense that people would use a vacation to experience the benefits of nature.
The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch in Shell, WY, is completely surrounded by nature. The town of Shell boasts a population of 83 people and is 110 miles east of Yellowstone National Park, and 76 miles east of the nearest town with services, Cody. Nature is great, but it can be hard to enjoy in densely-packed tourist locations when stressed about social distance and virus transmission.
Wyoming is the least densely-populated state in the West. The area of Shell equates to 2.1 people per square mile compared to New York City with over 27,000 people per square mile. It’s easy to safely enjoy nature and all the benefits at the moderate 4,200-feet of the ranch while enjoying the woods of the Bighorn National Forest. Mount your trusty steed and traverse through salt sage, cactus, and prehistoric dinosaur discoveries as you ride the rocky canyons of Shell Creek, White Creek, and Trapper Creek through wide-open range, to an elevation of over 10,000 feet in the Bighorn National Forest and Cloud Peak Wilderness.
Autumn adventures are even more personalized and special. The Hideout offers full rent-outs of the ranch which require much smaller numbers than summer and also can arrange specialized weeks such as photography, horsemanship clinics, artist in residence, etc.
Horses are proven to help with mental health issues. An Everyday Health article links the benefits of horse-based therapy to improve self-esteem and relaxation. It also reported that, “When combined with traditional psychotherapy, activities involving horses can help people suffering from a range of mental conditions, including depression and ADHD.” Even individuals without diagnosed mental conditions might and can easily be experiencing these symptoms during pandemic restrictions. Equine-assisted therapy is a highly-coveted, beneficial and growing field.
Most dude ranches don’t offer therapy sessions, but rather, all ranches offer slow, mellow rides that can easily introduce novice riders to the benefits of horses and their movements. Maybe getting on a horse is not even in the vacation realm, just watching them in their herds or photographing them against sunrise and sunset can relax and soothe the stressed soul.
Lost Valley Ranch, an hour southwest of Denver, is accustomed to the awe-inspiring relationship between human and horse. Luckily, this is one of the few Colorado dude ranches open year-round for an extreme introduction to horses. Come Fall, they have various rides and cattle weeks to sharpen the horse and rider bond and expose vacationers to the work tasked upon these beautiful animals.
We’ve all experienced writer’s block or constantly ‘losing’ words on the tip of the tongue, and it seems even more so since the onset of COVID, even if we aren’t artists or journalists. Pandemic brain is an actual condition and many individuals are experiencing a bit more than just brain fog. The stress due to the intricacies of this virus is also impacting our abilities to enjoy hobbies, explore passions or even attempt ordinary tasks such as try a new recipe.
There are millions of social media posts about pandemic projects, DIY house accomplishments, 7-course meals at home, etc. What about those who need a disruption from the stress of COVID 2020 life to allow their creative juices to flow? Dude ranches have always catered to the individual spirit for art, music, cuisine and outdoor recreation and even some undiscovered talent!
White Stallion Ranch, located in Tucson’s Sonoran Desert, has every offering onsite to draw out the creative characteristics in any individual. Take a disruption from COVID stress and let the desert heal and inspire. There are numerous horse-related activities from rodeo to rides and lessons, but it’s often the extensive rock-climbing program, shooting, hiking, fat tire E-biking, heated pool, redwood hot tub, tennis court, sport court, movie theater, game room and spa with exercise room, sauna and massage therapists. Also evening programs that include nature shows, art classes, cowboy singer, country/western dance lessons, and Loop Rawlins, a famous western trick roper, that spark creative moments and memories.
Escape the Negativity
It’s hard to stay optimistic, or even positive with the nature of America’s politics and the pandemic. Constantly watching the news and checking phones for alerts can obviously lead to stress, but the overflow of negative news might actually impact your physical and mental health. Take a break from technology and focus on what matters.
Western Pleasure Guest Ranch, an Idaho dude ranch, makes it easy to disconnect and concentrate on nature and nurture, even for just a weekend. The ranch switches to a Bed & Breakfast format starting on Sept 30th of each year.
The stay includes accommodation in one of the six themed-guest rooms in the 10,000-square-foot log lodge, complete with a hearty country breakfast. Outdoor amenities include a basketball court, playground for the kids, and a horseshoes court. Activities available are horseback riding, offered March – November, and sleigh rides and Nordic ski, snowshoe, and fat E-bike trails, available in the winter.
Remember when you are ready to travel again a Dude Ranch Vacation is good for the body and soul. Check out all 10 ranches that are part of this amazing group www.bestduderanches.com Colleen@bestduderanches.com 307-250-1981