Giddy-up: Don’t Leave Your Inner Cowgirl At Home
Apr 9th, 2011 | By Donna Hull | Category: Travel
By Donna L. Hull –
Is there an “I want to be a cowgirl” hidden somewhere on your “I want to do that” list? You don’t have to ride the Texas range or spend seven days at a hill country dude ranch to discover your inner cowgirl. When vacation plans take you to Hawaii, Colorado or Arizona, bring her along.
Aloha by Horseback in the Waipi’o Valley
For a ride through the mysterious, green and very wet Waipi’o Valley on Hawaii’s Big Island, wannabe cowgirls begin their adventure above the valley floor at Naalapa Stables near the Waipi’o Lookout (about 2 hours from Kona).
After being transported in four-wheel-drive vans down the steep, one-way road into Waipi’o Valley, cowgirls meet their horses. For the next two hours, a guided trail ride introduces you to the isolated life in the valley where farmers tend taro patches and wild horses roam. You’ll stop at waterfalls for photo opportunities while listening to stories of the 1946 tidal wave that wiped out life in the valley. But riding in the valley’s rivers is the real treat, making this trail ride a unique one by any cowgirl’s standards.
The 2.5 hour guided rides are offered twice a day, Monday through Saturday at a price of $88.54 including tax. Note: This tour does not include a visit to the Waipi’o Valley’s famous black sand beach. Naalapa Stables 808-775-0419.
On the Trail in Ouray, Colorado
The trails of southwestern Colorado’s San Juan Mountains are well loved by off-road enthusiasts. But just north of Ouray, horseback riders enjoy their own excursions on the mountain trails of the Uncompahgre National Forest.
Choose from 2-hour or half-day guided rides with Ouray Livery. The ride begins on a road that leads into Uncompahgre National Forest before accessing a hiking trail that’s bordered by colorful wildflowers in the summer. The route winds up and down a ridge with several creek crossings. After an hour, riders reach a clearing where the horses are rested. Half-day rides continue up the mountain from here, while the two-hour group turns around for the barn. Smart cowgirls will schedule time for a soak at the Ouray Hot Springs Pool.
Two-hour guided rides ($60 per person) are offered twice a day at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Half-day rides ($80 per person) require a day’s notice. Ouray Livery 970-325-4340.
Luxury Riding at Arizona’s Hidden Meadow Ranch
Is a half-day horseback riding excursion not long enough to satisfy your inner cowgirl? Do I have a ranch for you? Located in the White Mountains near Greer, Arizona, Hidden Meadow Ranch offers equestrian activities in a luxurious setting.
Guided horseback rides on more than 975 miles of trails in the surrounding Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, roping lessons and an assortment of non-horse activities are included in the Rancher’s Package. Of course you’ll be staying in a private, luxury log cabin. When all of that outdoor fun makes you hungry, mosey on over to The Ranch House for a gourmet meal that’s sure to please even the most finicky of cowgirls.
The all-inclusive Rancher’s Package (double occupancy) begins at $525 per night. Note: taxes, gratuities and alcoholic beverages are not included in the nightly rate. Hidden Meadow Ranch 866-333-4080.
Waipi’o and Ouray photos courtesy Alan Hull Photography. Hidden Meadow Ranch provided photo of springtime riding at Hidden Meadow Ranch.
Freelance writer Donna L. Hull specializes in travel and human interest content for online and print publications. At My Itchy Travel Feet, The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Travel, she encourages boomers to get up off the couch and go.