Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Perfect Northern California Staycation - Point Reyes

I am floating on a cloud. I am floating on a cloud even though my ass is killing me. Holy horseback riding!

I grew up riding horses in Central Florida. My aunt had a couple quarter horses that I became acquainted with at a very young age. Here's me on the family favorite, Mandy...

I haven't ridden much in the last ten years, although I think about it often. I've been dying to get back in the saddle! Finally I got the chance in beautiful Point Reyes at Five Brooks Ranch. This place is outstanding! Let me tell you why...

Some places that rent horses for trail riding don't take good care of their horses and overwork them. This makes for a sad horse, sad rider, and a really boring ride. The horses at Five Brooks Ranch were happy and perfectly spunky! We got there early and I witnessed every last one receive food, water, and proper checks before the ride. Also, our guide, Cowboy Dave, was really talented on his horse and so helpful in getting everyone up to speed.

When filling out the paperwork for the ranch, I indicated that I was an intermediate rider. This means I got paired with a horse named Rowdy. I was excited... and maybe a teensy bit nervous. But it was love at first sight.

The ride was so fun! Rowdy and I bonded quickly. He performed turns, stopped when asked, and before I knew it I was comfortable enough to ask him to gallop. There is nothing like that feeling. A trot is slow and choppy but a gallop is fast and smooth. Some others guests wanted a slower pace so Cowboy Dave allowed me to take the lead spot and gallop ahead every once in a while.

It was a beautiful ride through an old redwood forest. Massive trees covered in moss and steep ravines dotted with sun-speckled ferns. Cowboy Dave, as stern as he was, kept calling it the enchanted forest. I couldn't agree more. I was enchated. I still am.

If you ever spend some time in Northern California, don't miss this! And if you want a good horse, ask for Rowdy. Treat him well. Don't be too tight on the reins and it helps to give him a nice rub if you expect him to stop and stand still. He returned the favor after our ride... when I was standing next to him he pushed his face into my thigh and rubbed his sweaty head up the entire length of me to nuzzle my neck. Swoon.

After horseback riding, you will be sore. We stayed at the Point Reyes Country Inn and our terrace room had an enormous jacuzzi tub en suite. The Inn itself is stunning but the grounds including the lawn and garden up the charm by a lot!

There's a trailhead right from the property that takes you to Arch Rock on the coast. It's a five mile hike though, so we didn't make it this time. Make sure you at least take the trail beyond the creek and into the sunny meadow. It was a nice surprise to stumble upon at the golden hour right around dusk.

point reyes country inn

Another stop to check out in town at Point Reyes Station is the local gem Cowgirl Creamery. Best cheese ever. The Humbolt Fog is so smooth and tangy. Also check out their goat gouda, super yum! Now just a bottle of local wine and you're going to be totally blissed out.

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horseback riding, northern california, point reyes

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