When I get excited about something I get really excited about it. I probably drive my friends and family crazy because if I love something and I’m convinced that you will love it too, I will simply not shut up about it. The poor people in my life have had to listen to me go on and on about cyclocross and burro racing and Kalalau and Iceland and more things than I could ever possibly list. You might find it obnoxious or you might find it endearing but, either way, it’s all part of the package.
I’m in one of those moods right now.
You guys, the place that we stayed at up in Steamboat this week? It was amazing in more ways than I can ever adequately explain. From the beautiful rural setting a few miles outside of town to the comfortable wagon we slept in to the unrivaled hospitality that was shown to us by our hosts, I can’t imagine a better experience.
This trip was a lot of firsts for me: My first time taking the little guy on a solo overnight adventure. My first time using AirBnB. My first time “glamping”. My first time paying to stay on a property with the owners living onsite. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to being a little bit nervous. I may be outgoing in person and prolific on social media but I am a bit of a hermit at heart. When I am home alone I want to be home alone. I didn’t know if I would feel comfortable with the other people milling around while I was trying to relax.
Let’s just say that that was not a problem. It was not a problem at all.
We arrived at the ranch on a beautiful, sunny evening. Mother Nature had dumped rain and hail on Steamboat for the better part of the afternoon but by the time we showed up the clouds had parted and the sun was streaming down. We wandered around on the property until we found Jesse, one of the owners, who quickly made us feel at home. He showed us where the kitchen and bathrooms were, told us about the animals, and then took us out to see the wagon, which was clean, cozy, and incredibly comfortable. If this is how actual sheepherders live, please sign me up, because I could get used to this life.
Once we were settled in we spent the evening exploring the property. Our hosts had left a bucket of grain for us by the wagon and we took it down the hill to feed the horses. It wasn’t long before Jesse joined us down there, scooped up my kid, and told me to run around and take pictures. Please believe that I took him up on his offer! The little guy adamantly refused a ride on one of the horses but gladly accepted a lift on the ATV back up to the house. He spent the rest of the evening romping around in the grass and mud like the carefree farm kid he thinks he was meant to be.
With the sun going down and the full moon coming up, Jesse lit a fire and broke out his guitar. Our host family and I spent a good hour or so listening to music by the fire under a glowing Colorado sky. It all felt very western and very, very perfect. I have spent a lot of nights in the mountains, you guys, and I’m not sure that I can remember one that was more quintessentially Colorado than this. When the music was done the little guy and I tucked ourselves into the wagon and snoozed away all night long.
And that was how the rest of our stay went. We were treated like family, invited up to the main house, and encouraged to make ourselves at home. I spent Wednesday morning chatting with Leslie, our other host, in her rustic and unbelievably beautiful living room as kids and dogs romped around us. The whole thing was more comfortable and relaxing than I ever imagined it could be.
Late Wednesday morning, after quick hugs and a sincere promise to return, we pointed the car toward home. I spent the better part of our three hour drive mulling over the amazing time we had had, thinking about the true meaning of hospitality, and feeling incredibly grateful to have had such a memorable time with my son. He may not remember the nights that we slept in a wagon but it certainly an experience that I will never, ever forget.
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