River Ridge Guest Ranch….where you need to spend your next vacation!

In case you’re trying to figure out where you might want to vacation next, the good people at holding intentional space have done the leg work for you!  For the second week of my folk’s visit, we stayed at River Ridge Guest Ranch, just north of the Mexican border in southern Arizona.  It is the absolute best guest house we have ever seen, anywhere!  It was the perfect backdrop to a wonderful week of exploration in picturesque Cochise county.

The fridge was stocked with beautiful pastel eggs from the ranch’s chickens, and homemade quiches made from those beauties.

The ranch is at the end of a private road, and backs up to San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, a 40 mile long protected area of the San Pedro River.  An important watering area for wildlife, you can see amazing numbers of birds and mammals that use the river as a sanctuary amid the otherwise high desert climate.  We enjoyed long walks in the huge field behind the house, and saw birds, hawks, rabbits, and deer.

Sheepherder wagon for camp-out-style sleeping, and the endless grassland beyond the house for walks.

If you’re really feeling spunky, the Sky Island Traverse Trail runs along the ranch. This 492 mile trail visits all the mountains of southern Arizona.

My mom is a major birder, and this area of the world is known for millions of wintering birds.  We went to Ramsey Canyon Preserve, where my folks went on a nature walk, and JJ and I hiked a trail up into the Huachuca Mountains (or, the hooey-chewy mountains, according to my dad.)

Sky Island, indeed! These mountains had a completely different ecosystem than the valley floor below.

Coronado National Memorial was another great place for a hike, with sweeping overlooks into Mexico and a cave that you can explore.

That giant plain behind me? That would be Mexico!

JJ the explorer!  (And a note to those who think I’m really brave.  We got about 100 feet into this cave and I got a serious case of the heebie-jeebies.  I will sell everything and go live in a tin can, but caves might be a bit above my abilities!)

The very, very best part of the whole week was when Kim, our host, asked what we’d like to do and offered to take me out for a trail ride on her horses!  I was completely horse crazy as a kid, and I never really grew out of it, so Kim’s offer was the best possible thing I could think of!

Kim is an accomplished horsewoman, and a fantastic teacher as well.  With a 20 year hiatus in my riding experiences, I needed some help, and she was the perfect instructor.  We started out in the large grazing field, and I remembered enough to not fall off, and to be able to communicate with little Ruby.  Then we headed out for a long trail ride in the meadow behind the house.  I had so much fun!  This experience was probably the highlight of all our travels to date!

First a good brushing!

Getting Ruby dressed

Into the ring for a bit of a run around before we ride. Ruby is 22, and Cody is an astounding 34, but (as a testament to Kim’s great care) they have so much energy that she wanted to burn a bit off before we rode!

I joked that this was almost a religious experience for me, and I guess this picture proves my case! Saint Rayn, patron saint of mustangs?  (That white spot on Ruby’s neck is a freeze brand from when she was rounded up on BLM land as a baby.)

We rounded out the week with a visit to a huge farm market in Sierra Vista and a tour of the well-preserved mining town of Bisbee.  (And liked it so much that we will pay another visit later this week!)  This part of the world is a wonderful place to visit over the winter, to enjoy clear skies and warmer temperatures, and to see all those birds escaping northern winters!

Most of all, it was great to spend so much time with my folks.  My mom’s birding enthusiasm rubbed off on me, and by the end of the week, I was able to identify a fair amount of avions.  My dad is a wealth of knowledge about RVs, and he helped us with a few projects, including a new antennae that will let us get cell and internet service when we’re out in the boonies.  I’m so happy that we were able to find a few locations that everyone enjoyed, and with plenty of activities to keep up busy.  It was a wonderful week!






3 thoughts on “River Ridge Guest Ranch….where you need to spend your next vacation!

    • Thanks for reading and glad that you like it! I can’t tell you how many times in the past couple months I have thought about how very fortunate we are to be doing exactly what we want to be doing.

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