The month of August for our Dude Ranch held a number of exciting and particularly thrilling days during our few yet intense monsoons so far! We once again had almost 100% foreign guests for the whole month, which included a number of new countries to add to the list including Croatia, Luxemburg, Russia, and Tahiti!
August is always a fun time for us as we love showing our European friends what American life is like out here in the West. There is nothing better than seeing grown adults experience wide open land, clear nights skies, and endless mountain vistas for the first times in their lives. During this month we had a wide variety of cultures and languages being spoken every night and it is always fun and unique for everyone. We even had some Dutch guests of ours come back to the ranch for another 4 night stay after they had left just a week prior! They wanted to make the end of their multiple week vacation in the U.S. as good as it could be so they figured why not spend it somewhere they knew they would love once again.
During monsoon season we have not had many storms, yet the few we have had have been quite intense! The strongest storm approached one evening and it knocked out the power for a few hours, which is very rare for the ranch. So all the guests got to enjoy their cold drinks and dinner by candlelight, just like they did back in the day 100 years ago; which certainly added to the rustic atmosphere. During the storm we actually had a lighting bolt hit a Joshua tree out in the desert on the horse trails at night. Shortly after in the distance we could see a fire engulfing the tree! Without hesitation our trusted wranglers knew exactly what to do as they all jumped on the ATVs with shovels to go out there and put out the flames to prevent the fire from spreading! So out they went wearing their long dusters flapping in the wind as they braved the pouring rain and lighting to save the land. They got out there and cut the tree down, set it in a small wash that was running with rain water and buried the rest of it with heavy wet dirt. They all came back safely and got a round of applause from the guests in the dinning room, that and a couple of warm turkey legs for dinner! Fortunately after dinner the power came back on per usual and we were all able to get a good night’s sleep after a very eventful day.
Tristan made an interesting discovery on one of the quad rides – foot prints from what a number of people agreed was a monstrous Javelina out by the gold mines. The very distinct three-toed track had everyone puzzled for days as we could not seem to find anything in the area that had three toes. But after careful examination of the photos by some experts we know explained that Javelinas have a third toe that grows on the side of their hove and very mature ones can have it grow all the way down to other toes. The tracks were very deep too so it was definitely a heavy animal. After numerous returns to the area no more additional tracks were found meaning that it may have just been passing through, but who knows. There is also a Western Diamondback rattlesnake that has made it’s home in one of the abandoned gold mines on the ATV tour. This has been a great experience for guests to view a real rattlesnake out here in the Mohave desert from a very safe distance and also in a reliable spot. The snake is very docile and is fun to be able to show the guests nature in it’s true form.
During the total solar eclipse we were able to the spectacle in a very cool way. Even though the ranch is located in one of the sunniest places on Earth, it just so happen to be slightly overcast on the 21st. This was a big bummer at first as we were worried that we would miss the whole thing. But, as the moon started to cover the sun we could actually see the event through the clouds with the naked eye! The moon only covered about 70% of the sun from our location but seeing this through the clouds was quite an experience.
We recently acquired two new horses, a driving team of full-blooded Belgian draft horses named Tiny and Tim, both geldings. These two massive behemoths stand over 17.2 hands high and have feet that will require their own special shoes. These guys are even bigger than Hoss and Big John! But as massive as these horses are they are truly gentle giants and will make a great addition to the wagon rides and trail rides as they are saddle broke as well!
We now have a not-so-new addition to our wrangler staff, Katie is back! Katie has been working on and off at the ranch for many years now and she’s back for another season! She knows all of the horses and trails and has always been a great wealth of knowledge and stories for the guests. As always she still has her leather goods that she crafts for guests and her trusty horse Flash.
All in all, August was a very exciting month for us as we were very busy and had a lot of out-of-the-ordinary adventures. Although, is it ever very ordinary here at the Dude Ranch? September is looking to be calming down a bit now that school is back in session and the temperatures should be cooling down too as we prepare for the end of summer and the fantastic approaching autumn weather.