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