Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Ranch at Jacob Lake, AZ

 Oh goodness. I have been going through photos I have taken over the last few months and just smiling and laughing. I have such a great life. Busy? Yes. Hard? Yes. But blessed, and great, and fun? Yes, yes, yes. I needed it today. I needed that happy feeling that it gives me to know what a great life I have. It has been a rough last couple of days, so I am taking it easy today and catching up on one of my favorite activities-- Journaling (aka blogging) about my family and our awesome/crazy life. 

Anyway, next up is our trip to the devil's oven, aka Arizona. Specifically, Jacob Lake, AZ. It is a teeny, tiny town (if even that) just below the Utah border. Growing up my dad would take us kids there to his friend's ranch where we would ride horses, round up his beef cattle, and brand them . We would go for a weekend every May and October and sometimes a few other times in the year. His friends owns an Inn as well, which is where we would stay while we were there. It has an awesome gift shop, quirky little cabins, and amazing cooks who make us the most amazing meals ever while we are staying there. I have the greatest memories going there as a kid and I have always wanted to take my own family. Well, this was the year we finally made that happen! I hadn't been to the ranch in 15 years. It was just as fun as I remembered it and my kids loved every second.

We left bright and early Friday morning. 

Road Trip food

We drove and drove and arrived around 1 in the afternoon right as they were saddling up the horses to go out and round up the cows. 

I took off to round up cows while the kids and Andy stayed back at the ranch. Andy fixed fences to get ready for the branding and the kids played with the other kids that were there. It's funny because the kids I went to the ranch with when I was little are now grown with their own families and they come to the ranch with their kids, too! Our kids made some new friends and had a blast.

Riding in the desert searching for cows with Kaylie and Sierra. I'm riding Ace, one of Sierra's horses

The desert is so beautiful in it's own unique way

Especially those Vermillion Cliffs

We were rounding up cows for about 5 hours. By the time we got back to the Inn we were all ready for food and bed. As usual, the kitchen made us an amazing meal. The kids played outside some more with their new friends (these kid's dad is named Danny and he and I grew up together. Our parents are still really great friends so it's fun to see each other occasionally.)

After we put the kids to bed, the adults gathered in the rec room to play games for a few hours, a Jacob Lake tradition. It was so much fun, as usual.

The next day was branding day. We separate the mama's and the new babies so they can be branded and not be stolen off of the ranch's property. Some people find it barbaric but it really is just a part of life. You can't even sell a beef cow in the U.S. that doesn't have a registered brand mark on it. It's the only bad day in these cow's lives, and I'm sure it is quickly forgotten :)
The little babies are so sweet.

 The boys were trying their hand at bull riding.

 And of course we had lots of other fun things to ride like horses and the 4-wheeler my dad brought.

 This is the branding arena. A calf comes through the shoot and the cowboys lasso it up. The pull it down on its side to brand it. They cut out it's horns and also tag it's ear. And then it's done. They let it up and open the gate for it to go see its mama.
 We were branding for several hours. It is dusty, dirty, stinky, hot work. But I just think it is so much fun. I love being out on the ranch.

After all the work is done, we push the cattle back out to pasture. We are all a filthy mess by the end of the day.

Me and Kaylie

 Nice tan lines, babe.

 It's so windy, the dust gets into every crevice! I was blowing dirt out of my nose and cleaning it out of my ears for a week, haha.

After we showered we packed up, ate one more delicious meal, and headed home. It was a blast and we can't wait to do it again.

And that, my friends, is the ranch.

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