August 5, 2012 Bush Creek Ranch Return, Saratoga Wyoming

Well we had so much fun in 2011, we decided to return again for our Anniversary. We were celebrating 33 years of blissful marriage. Okay, not totally blissful, like all marriages we did have a few spats, most of course were all Steve’s fault.

My trip report from 2011 was a bit sketchy although I did have pictures for you of Brush Creek, I was a little bit incomplete on some of my memories. I finally found my write up on the computer of our trip to Brush Creek. I will now add you some details to you so you can see how it really was an Excellent Adventure!

Steve had been going to fishing trips on his own or with Elliott our son, for some time. He enjoyed the beautiful surroundings, the great food, the fishing and the conversations at dinner with a diverse group of people. He thought I would have. Good time at some of the lodges. I reminded him that my idea of a vacation was not one spent on slumps beds along being insects.My idea of a vacation was spending time somewhere that is as nice or nicer than where we live.

“Fine.”, Steve said, “Find a place as nice as home with great fishing and we’ll go”. Now, a male “fine” is different than a female’s “Fine”. When a guy says something is “Fine’, it means “go right ahead”. When a gal says “Fine’, you are in trouble as she really doesn’t like that decision, but she’ll go along but be grump about it.

One year coming back from a business conference Steve had attended at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs I saw an article about a new ranch open to the public in Saratoga Wyoming. It was going to be a high-end resort. There would be riding, fishing, and all sorts of other activities. Upon arriving back home I checked out the web site for Brush Creek Ranch. The accommodations looked quite luxurious, and I couldn’t wait to vacation there. BrushCreekRanch.com

I thought the price tab was exceedingly high, far more than we had ever spent on a vacation before. However, Steve by then had been spending a bit more on his fishing vacations and didn’t think the price was too out of line, as the costs included all activities, meals and drinks.

We flew into Denver again, spending a night near Fort Collins to help me get adjusted to the altitude as we are used to living at sea level. Would it work? Stay tuned for more.

We left Fort Collins and drove up I-25 to Cheyenne, then to Laramie and finally through the Medicine Bow National Forest. Look what we found munching in the swamp! Yes, that’s an actual moose. This is almost a “Where’s Waldo” picture. Slap the table if you see the moose….”I didn’t hear you!”

Then it was into Saratoga ,Wyoming, to get gas before we began our stay at the Ranch.

We saw three immature elk. These guys were about two years old. I think they were a bit confused as they were hanging out by the police station.

At the ranch we were given a much larger vehicle to drive than last year. There was no windshield this time, I think they broke a lot of windshields the previous year due to all the stones in the road. As it was our anniversary we were upgraded to Brookie in the Anglers Camp section near the Creekside Dining Camp and the Brush Creek. It was quite the upgrade from the previous year. We had a kitchen and lovely dining room table and living room. Not that we were going to prepare any meals, but nice to have.

This was the bed. Nice and big. Plenty of room so we didn’t kick each other at night.

Staying here was lovely. The upgrade was wonderful, it was a room we wouldn’t ordinarily pick as it was at least double the cost of the room the previous year.

While I unpacked, Steve walked down to the dinner camp at Creekside to fish. He caught four brown trout on our anniversary. Steve doesn’t usually fish on our anniversary, but he was allowed to this year. I am a benign Queen, after all.

Dinner was once again a private occasion at Falcon Peak. I didn’t have to surprise Steve, he requested that I arrange a private dinner as he had enjoyed himself so much last year when we dined by ourselves. Here we are, I have my new Joseph Ribkoff Cleavage enhancing dress on. Steve has his sunglasses on, I can’t quite tell where his eyeballs are. Steve is checking out the view here. I guess he got tired of looking at me! Happy Anniversary Steve! I never tire of looking at you! I hope you catch many fish on this vacation!

Happy Anniversary Linda! I hope you meet many interesting characters on this Adventure!

Not much else to say for this first day.

Will I get altitude sickness?

Will I meet some interesting people?

Will Steve catch fish?

September 4, 2011. Brush Creek Ranch, Saratoga Wyoming

This is a great picture of Brush Creek Ranch. You can see the iconic rock in the middle of the picture. To the right is the main lodge. I haven’t given you the link to their web site yet, so here it is. BrushCreekRanch.com

Here is a picture of me out and about in the RAZR. It sure was fun to drive. Much faster than walking, and easier on the hips than horseback. Steve was out fishing for the day, and boy did he have fun! Twenty nine fish for the day! This beautiful rainbow was from the North Platte River. After lunch, Steve went to Brush Creek and caught this nice brown trout. A beautiful 2 pounds and 17 inches.

Now seeing all these big numbers of fish, you might think that the fishing was easy, and you will do as well as Steve did. I must remind you that Steve has been fishing since he was four years old. He started fly fishing when he was 25 years old. He is 55 years old in this picture. So after 30 years of fly fishing you might be as good as him. Or not.

Steve has remarked to me that many of the guides at Brush Creek love to fish with him as he knows what he is doing. Many of the guests have never fished before, and I would not say they are incompetent, but they are not very good. So it is always fun for the guides to see the guest get some really nice fish.

While Steve was out fishing I planned a special surprise for Steve. At breakfast one of the guests was showing pictures of a private dinner that she and her husband had at Falcon Peak Overlook. It was quite romantic and everyone at Breakfast was so excited! Falcon Peak is at one of the higher elevations of the Ranch. There is a lovely platform there where yoga is held at sunrise and lunches and cocktail parties before dinner are held.

Steve had a half day fishing on the North Platte and then came back for lunch with the rest of us at Falcon Peak. In the afternoon he fished on property on Brush Creek. Now having dinner with Steve at Falcon Peak was going to be a surprise. I had to figure out how to get him there. What was I to do?

Well, I decided to play “Misplacing Linda”. Just before we were going to take the RAZR to the Lodge for dinner I told him that I had left my phone up at Falcon Peak at lunch. We were going to have to go back up there and get it before dark.

So off we went, when we got up to Falcon Peak Overlook, Steve saw that there was a private dinner all set up for two. He told me to hurry up and find my phone as Bruce and Beth the owners of the ranch were going to have an intimate dinner there.

“Surprise!” I told him. This is all for you! Yes, he did actually get a little bit teary. Look how happy we are! Too bad I have a heat lamp growing out of my head!

Here we are, looks like I got quite the farmer’s tan earlier in the day. The couple the night before had a harpist play, that I thought was a bit much. It was more than enough for the two of us to sit and make goo goo eyes while we cooed our endearing love to each other! Who could not fall madly in love with this charmer? Doesn’t that face ooze endearing love with just a sparkle of mischief?

This shows how much sunburn I got. We were at an elevation of about 7500 feet. The air is much thinner there than back home in Poughkeepsie where our elevation is about 200 feet. Here is a picture of our waitress and chef.

I hope you enjoyed this Excellent Adventure as it was our last night at Brush Creek Ranch and it was time to go back to reality in the morning. We had great fun at Brush Creek. We left with our wallet a bit lighter, but hoped to return again next year!

Do you do yoga at sunrise?

Do you like surprises?

Do you misplace stuff?

September 3, 2011. Brush Creek Ranch, Saratoga Wyoming

Steve spent the day fishing on the Encampment River. He caught seven fish, most in the 10-15 inch range.

I spent some time wandering around and exploring. This is the view that the bride has as she walks down the aisle for an outdoor wedding. I am sure that cushions on the rocks benches, and flowers on the arbor, make the site much more attractive. Here is the view looking toward the guests. There was a small pond in the center foreground, There were no fish there! Here is a picture that I took of our room. Quite a bit different than the professional picture!

Let’s look at some of the other buildings, shall we?

This is the activities barn. This is where you signed up for all your activities. There was a small gift shop where you could buy shirts, jackets and sunglasses. Lunch was held here. It was a buffet lunch, with your choice of salads, mains, and lots of desserts. In the main lodge there were always snacks available. Plus your choice of drinks, both alcoholic and non alcoholic. You could have your choice of wine also, with a walk in wine cellar just off the dining room. There was no charge for any alcohol when we went there.

On the lower level of the main building was a wonderful spa where you could get dolled up for your wedding, or just have a massage. There was a changing room just across the hall where you could change your clothes. There was a full shower, so you could wash off all the dust before you had your rub down. There was a gym also, but I never saw any one besides myself work out. Not that I am terribly athletic, but I like to get on a recumbent bikes and read. This is where the saloon was. People would gather there before dinner and have drinks and canapés before dinner. Steve would play pool. Some nights were Karaoke nights. That comes into play when I write up my 2015 Adventures here. I hope you don’t die of suspense waiting for me to write up that trip! After dinner we went to the Zip Line. Traditionally you are supposed to do the Ropes Course first and then as a treat do the Zip Line. I am not buff enough to do a Ropes Course, so I begged to just do the Zip Line. I am afraid of heights, so why I agreed to do this I do not know. It was scary but fun. This was the rope walk that you had to go up before you got to the zip off platform. The guide forgot to attach the safety carabiner to me, but I was lucky and didn’t fall off before it was time to zip off. Here is Steve at the end of the zip line.

While at the ranch there weren’t many guests there, as the Ranch had just opened to the public. Beth and Bruce White of White Lodging had bought the ranch a few years earlier. They loved it and invited many of their friends to visit. They decided to open the Ranch to others so they could enjoy it also. It was funny talking to Bruce about this. He was going on and on about how much he was subsidizing our stay because the ranch wasn’t breaking even. Maybe so, but it still was expensive!

We met another couple there. Anthony and Melissa from Chicago. We are still in touch and even stayed with them on our road trip West in 2015. So you never know about meeting me. I may end up stalking you in the future!

Are you afraid of heights?

Have you ever been married?

Do you go commando when you have a massage?

September 2, 2011. Brush Creek Ranch, Saratoga Wyoming

This is the type of picture you get from an iPhone 4 shooting into the sun. Not very good. But it will have to do, as it is all I’ve got. You can see Steve’s waders and fishing rods on the ground along with his boots. You are correct if you wonder if his socks always make it to the laundry basket. They don’t! But this blog is devoted to my excellent adventures with my heaping hunk of handsomeness-aka Steve, so let’s ignore the laundry issue. There are lovely rocking chairs on the deck. I think i might have rocked twenty minutes on them. Of course Steve went off fishing again. He caught 14 fish for the day including two 18 inchers. This was done while wading the North Platte River. Those beautiful fish from yesterday were an inch smaller than today’s big fish!

Usually Steve got up early in the morning and went off fishing. I would be by myself for breakfast and lunch. It was sometimes lonely, with most couples and families staying together. However, as I don’t like to fish all day, in fact I only like to fish for about 30 minutes, we each do our own thing.

In the late afternoon we did go for a ride. Here I am being instructed on how to hold the reins of the horse. I was taught to hold them like an ice cream cone. Most people on the East Coast where we are located, ride Western. As I don’t ride at home, only on vacations, I didn’t have to unlearn much.

Don’t I look sharp? Shoulders back, and trying to look relaxed. The horse doesn’t look very happy does he, or is he really a she? The wrangler we were with looked like Sam Elliott. No, don’t worry he was happily married as was I. Plus, how much successful flirting can you do with the wrangler when your husband is riding behind you? I am not sure If you remember but in the past I have suffered from asthma. And altitude sickness. After lunch today I got a bit winded going up the slight hill to our cabin. I mentioned it to staff and look what was delivered to our cabin for me to ride around in! My very own RAZR! This one was new, as the windshield was still there! Dinner tonight was at Creekside. I still happen to have that top also! We also had a little combo play music for us during dinner. After dinner you could grill your own marshmallows for s’mores.

Do you ride Western or English?

How old is the oldest item in your closet that you still wear?

Do you still have your wedding dress in your closet even though it is 39 years old?

August 31, 2011 Brush Creek Ranch, Saratoga Wyoming

As I have been blog silent for a while, I have decided to go back to my memory vaults and write up some past trip reports. Back in the day, I didn’t take so many pictures and do facebook posts, so these blog posts will be much shorter than my recent ones.

In the fall of 2010 when Steve and I were flying back from the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, I spied an blurb in Town and Country Magazine about a new ranch resort opening in Saratoga,Wyoming. It sounded delightful, fishing, riding, spa treatments, all in a luxury resort in the middle of some beautiful country.

Steve had already been going to ranches and fishing camps with Elliott. Now that Elliott was away at Bucknell, Steve needed a traveling partner. Steve had been telling me about all the wonderful people he had met at the fishing lodges that he had gone to. Now you know me, aka Luxury Linda, I don’t want to spend any time in a place that is not at nice as home. So high thread count sheets, gourmet meals, and electricity please. The price for a stay was higher than the thread count, but I was very much intrigued.

So as our 32nd anniversary rolled around I made reservations for a one week stay. We would fly in and out of Denver, Colorado and drive up to the ranch, about a four hour drive. Of course we stopped in Laramie Wyoming, at a fly fishing store for a look see. I go to grocery stores, Steve goes to fishing stores. It makes for a happy marriage.

We drove through Medicine Bow National Forest. The forest is in southeastern Wyoming, and our highest elevation on the route was over 12,000 feet. It was very windy, and a bit cool. You can see all the snow that has remained over the summer. There was a lovely lake, but I declined a dip. We had places to go and people to meet! Finally after about four hours, we saw a big sign for Brush Creek. I hope I have since burned that unflattering top. Now this is a great entrance! Wouldn’t you like to have a sign like this at the end of your driveway back home?After checking we we drove to the shooting range for our first set of activities. At the Ranch you can do fishing, riding, shooting, mountain biking, archery, paint ball, ropes course, and hiking to name just some of the activities. Here I am getting pistol instructions. Shooting glasses and ear protection are required. As they should be. I am looking at that picture and I must have lost that fleece vest, I haven’t seen it in years. The floral shirt is still in my closet up in Lake George. I wear it often. I sure got my money’s worth on that purchase! We had many targets. Close up targets for the pistols, and then also there were some targets much further away for the rifle shooting. My aim was pretty good for a newbie! The instructor opened up the safe and let me use his Ruger with a laser sight. That sure did make aiming easier! I also used a Browning. One of the targets represented a villain with a hostage. I was able to shoot the bad guy and save the hostage. Just call me Dirty Harriet! Here is Steve. Looks like a battle of the bellies! Ha Ha. Our instructor won that battle!We also did some rifle shooting. Here we were trying to aim at fake prairie dogs. There was also shotguns for skeet shooting. I was tuckered out by then and didn’t partake. Steve had fun and was pretty good.

Do you prefer camping or a resort?

Would you rather vacation in the city or the country?

Have you ever quivered with excitement while holding a Ruger with a laser sight?