Thursday, April 10, 2008

After three days of skyscrapers and parties... we headed for the hills. Welcome to Rafter 6!

Three days of alternate reality: partying, free snacks & beer, hotel staff who were soooo nice to us hosers.  It was fun, but by Monday morning it was time to move on.  Even though Calgary is a lovely city, we were looking forward to the last part of our trip:  a stay at a ranch and a quick tour of the Rockies!

He'd been telling everybody all weekend that after the Juno stuff, he was gunna rent himself a big one-ton diesel pickup truck.  "I'm gettin' me an a**hole truck!" he grinned.  "The biggest one I can get!"  He got a few laughs out of that one... but the funniest part was that he was darn serious!  "I'm in ALBERTA," he declared, "I'm gettin me a TRUCK!"  

I'd nod my head in agreement.  "My girly truck at home isn't quite enough for him.  It's only a half ton.  And it's a gas engine.  Totally girly."

He rolled up the the Swanky Hotel with a big grin on his face.  

They didn't have a dually for him... but he was quite happy with this.  It'd do.  

It takes about an hour to get to the foothills from Calgary. See the mountains on the horizon? They called to me from the window of our hotel room!  The ride there was sweeeeet.  Love the truck, love the scenery, love the guy beside me.  

Here's the little cabin where we made our home for one night.  

We have a little history with the Rafter 6 Ranch.  We stayed there for a couple of nights on our road-trip-honeymoon.  He promised me that someday, we'd come back... it took seventeen years, but he came through for me.  

He had to make another promise, because we have to come back again with the kids!  We couldn't stop thinking about them during our stay.  We're not waiting seventeen years for a return this time!  

All the critters run free out here, including the horse herd!  There was horse***t everywhere!  It was great!  I hoped to wake up in the morning and have a horse standing beside my window, but no...

...at least we had a few chickens pecking around over by the barn.  

I signed up for a one hour trail ride.  I was aching pretty bad from standing around all weekend socializing in my ridiculous high heeled boots, but I'd suffer for a ride in the foothills.  Being on a horse actually felt very good.  Normal.

It was just me and the two wranglers.  Here, Robin closes the gate from horseback.  See, all those sidepasses and haunch turns are useful!

They took me on the scenic route...

My wranglers were awesome.  Look how gorgeous these two people are!  Good horsemen, good "hands" and lots of fun to ride with.  We chatted about our horses the entire ride, we loped through the bush, we had a few good laughs.  

Here I am with Rocky, a good solid honest horse.  He ain't purty, but he's a sweet guy. I could really love him!

And I thought I'd like to have a matched set like these guys some day in the future...

While I was out on my ride, Jethro was in our cabin with his little portable studio set up on the glass-topped wagon wheel table in our cabin. He had his MacBook, his ProTools, and his headphones, for some heavy duty intense listening. I didn't mind; after all, this was essentially a working trip with an emphasis on fun.

He had more planned though. With his big diesel pickup truck he wanted to drive up into the mountains. We headed west on the Trans Canada Highway, all the way to Lake Louise. Yes, I absolutely will show you pictures (come back on Monday) but I wish the pictures did the landscape justice. I hope I can convey the feeling of the place.

After a stop in Banff, we drove "home" to the ranch in the dark. And I mean Alberta foothills dark, not southern Ontario suburban sprawl dark. We crept into the yard at 11pm... as quietly as a diesel truck will allow! (Trust me, it's not like it was the only one of its kind out there.) The cabin was cozy, and out the peak window I could see stars in the black sky. I loved it.

We woke up at 7am for a big cowboy-sized breakfast. On our way back to the cabin to pack up and go home, we stopped by the corral to visit the critters.  

Jethro found a new friend.  I think this is how our Pug sees himself.  In his little mind, he is a 130lb Neopolitan Mastiff.  This big dog is so much more mellow than our 20lb guard dog! Head like a cinder block and a heart of gold.  I wonder how our Pug would like a friend like this.  They sit the same way, and both have comical faces!

This picture of Two Big Dogs is one of my all time favourites...

 I think he could have knocked me over if he leaned hard enough...

And then there's this fella.  DONKEY.

Funny looking, cute, ugly, adorable, and according to the ranch staff, a rather emotional little guy.  Sometimes the big horses don't want to play with him.  I gave him a nice cuddle, scratched his big ears and round forehead, and rubbed his tiny muzzle.  I just loved him.  I wished I could have fit him into my suitcase!

Later that morning we packed up the truck and took it back to Calgary.  We were ready to get home and hug our kids...


dilling said...

So nice...I love those mastiffs...my girlfriend recently lost hers but she was the steadiest, truest, soundest dog I ever had the pleasure to meet. I love donkeys....lots. I want a thick-legged horse, too...or even an not so pretty one with a nice attitude.
So glad you got to go back!!!! Thanks for taking us along!

Heidi the Hick said...

I love showing off my adventure. Dilling, you can imagine how much I loved cuddling up with all those critters. They just topped off my trip perfectly!

I have a soft spot for the big clunky not-so-pretty horses with nice attitudes. My horses are pretty (at least I think so) but if they were ornery I wouldn't have them. And someday, I am going to have a donkey! My farrier used to work for a donkey rescue. As soon as I say the word, and have the means to keep him, I'm getting one. They are darling. Smart, smart, smart. Good enough for Jesus, good enough for me!

Maybe I'll rescue a big mastiff some day too. I really fell for that gentle giant.

Dr. Medusa said...

Look at those donkey ears! I love that donkey!! Do donkeys and alpacas get along? (Alpaca farm is #1 on the what to do if I don't get tenure list.)

Ya'll look great, and I am so glad you are having a fun little vacay. I have had no time to comment, but I also loved the red carpet post and I FULLY COVET the Peach Berserk dress. Heidi + Jethro = pure rock-n-roll.

Tod said...

Thanks for the trip, we hope to get out there some day. So cool that you managed to re-visit your honeymoon cabin!

I love donkeys too! There is just something about their personality that makes me want to hug them.

Marni said...

Love this post!!!! I want to tag along next time... it is BEAUTIFUL!!!

Anita said...

WOW! I LOVE this post! I'm so envious... lol
Your pictures are fabulous, and you all look so happy! Love the mastiffs... I get along better with dogs than I do people, you know... and the horses are wonderful... but the DONKEY! He is so cool... lol

CindyDianne said...


I've been wanting to go to Lake Louis for, like, ever! I can't wait to see your pics!

And the donkey! Super cute! I love them!

And solid horses - my personal favorite, pretty or not.

And that matched pair! Beaooootiful

I am so glad you got to have that little get away!


I want to bring the donkey home!!

Love the hat by the way

The Adult in Question said...

I love the donkey, he is so cute. When we were in Edmonton it was a lot of fun. We went camping in Drumheller and although I was with my crazy Nannie, KK, Jessie and I had fun. The campground we stayed at had huge volcanoes that were dead or dormant or something. They were mostly giant hills full of ash but it was so cool. I would definately go back. Glad you had fun, it looks like your trip to the mountains was the best part.

Nicole said...

Ah, diesel. Ah, the Canadian Rockies. You look so happy in those pics. Take off, eh?

coffeypot said...

Great pictures, hon! I'm glad you two got a chance to get way for a while. I have been to the Rockies on the US side and all I can say about them is you really feel insignificant when in the midst of such majesty. And the quiet is so loud.

katy said...

wow, lovely absolutaley lovely.
would love to sleep in a real log cabin.
cant wait to see the rest of the photos

terry said...

i'm very much a city girl to the core, but these pics made me smile. looks like a wonderful time!

LadyBronco said...

It looked so very relaxing in the mountains.

I live right along the base of the American Rockies, and I can't get the hubby out in nature to save my soul.

I will live vicariously through your post for a while, Heidi.

Lynn Sinclair said...

Sounds like the makings of a perfect getaway for you, Heidi -- horses and wide-open spaces.