When I was young, we didn’t get off the ranch much. My dad was a workaholic, for one thing, and he loved being home on the ranch. Also, hundreds of cows, a dozen horses, and dogs and cats and chickens all need looking after, so getting away for a family vacation was pretty hard to do. My dad was a big scouter, and he was a scout leader, so he would have to leave the ranch to go on a scout camp or two every summer. One year they went up in the Lundbreck area to a wildlife reserve for a camp called a Nusuki, I believe. The leaders got horses, and the boys got to hide out in the foothills, camping and trying not to get caught by leaders. He fell in love with that country, and afterwards we spent a week every summer camping with the horses, and riding all over those hills. Our first couple of years I still had a film camera, if you can believe that. 😉
I’m on the far left on the paint horse
It was a ton of work to pack up all the gear for tenting it and taking enough horses, tack and equipment along for a family of 8, but my parents did it! My mom had it down to a science, with each big trunk or cooler containing exact items, listed out and laminated. Some of that list-making may have rubbed off on me…;) She is an amazing dutch oven cook, and we had traditional meals that we asked for every year and still love.
To get to ride horses all day, and explore trails and hills was basically the best vacation we could have ever asked for. When I was 16, my parents took us all to Disneyland, and my mom commented later that they spent tons of money and time taking us there, just to have us all remember our camping trips with horses more fondly (Sorry mom! We loved Disneyland, too!).
Everywhere we went on horseback, I had my camera with me, and I have hundreds of pictures of these trips. It was always the highlight of our summer!
Now that I have four girls of my own (okay number 4 isn’t quite here yet! But soon!), we are figuring out what traditions we will make as our own family. Much to my oldest daughter’s sorrow, we don’t have horses, although we both wish we did, so their memories will be a little different! I want them to have good memories of getting outdoors and appreciating nature, and family time without phones or iPads the way I do.
I think this was the last time we went – my oldest sister was married with two kids. I’m in the white t-shirt in the back. The shirt has the name of my dorm from my freshman year of university. Timer shot!