i wasn't really sure what to expect, but i was pleasantly surprised at how cute the ranch was. apparently it's been here since the 60s, starting out as a kids' summer camp and housing an elementary school, hosting rodeos and establishing itself as a working horse ranch and even a 2-year vocational college that turned out elite horse professionals. nowadays they host camps for school groups like ours during the week and boy and girl scouts for weekend trips, plus summer camps.
after consulting the posted schedule, we headed towards the rear of the campgrounds and found the bean with her group happily working with the horses.
we watched them help groom the horses while we chatted with our friends, who had stayed with the kids and acted as chaperones. they'd had a great time hanging out and watching the kids hard at work doing all sorts of fun activities from horseback riding to vaulting and even cleaning out the stables. who knew shoveling shit could be labeled "fun"?
when it was time to rotate to the final activity, we found ourselves staring at a huge climbing wall. it was two-sided, with a beginner course on one side and a more challenging, advanced one on the other. i was surprised and pretty proud when the bean chose the advanced course, and we listened as they all sat down to go over the rules for the activity.
the bean was second in line, and we stood and watched and cheered her on as she climbed up to the top of the ladder in preparation for the rest of the wall.
it was a little slow going, but she didn't give up even when it started to get hard.
a little more...
and then she made it to the top!
as she glided back down to the ground, one of her BFFs was on the other side conquering her fear of heights and also eventually reaching the top.
the old lady and i stood and watched the other kids as they attempted to climb up to the top.
after they turned in their helmets and harnesses, it was time to gather down below for lunch. as we walked down, the bean was excited to show us where they'd spent the last couple of nights.
while the girls all slept in cabins, the boys were in teepees like this:
hmph. what if the girls wanted to sleep in a teepee too? hmph!
the restrooms were decent, with several private stalls that each contained a toilet, sink and shower.
as we headed towards the food, the girls couldn't resist the lure of the foosball table.
there was lots to eat - bacon-wrapped hot dogs, bbq'd ribs, burgers, corn, roasted potatoes. the kids and chaperones all said that the food they'd enjoyed over the last few days was really good, and so was this.
on our way out one of the moms offered to snap a family photo, and you know how i love a good photo op.
the bean passed out cold before we even hit the freeway, and we managed to get home before the friday afternoon traffic started. she was full of stories once she woke up, and talked us into taking her out for sushi at dinnertime. she seemed to have handled being away from home without one of us there just fine, and next year they get to do another super fun camp on catalina island where they'll get to snorkel and swim with the fish.
maybe i'll throw my hat in the ring to chaperone that one. or...maybe not. i'm not a very good swimmer and i'd probably be no help at all. heh. we'll see.