Dude ranch vacation of the month for July 2012 is the wonderful Siwash Lake Ranch in British Columbia, Canada. Why? Because this stunning Canada guest ranch is all about freedom.
The word 'Siwash' actually comes from Chinook Jargon, a bridge language used on the frontier between native, French and English pioneers during the gold rush era. To 'siwash' means to travel quickly, deftly and lightly, using natural shelters or sleeping in the open - just as the First Nations people would have done.
This theme of freedom and a closeness with nature translates throughout the whole of Siwash Lake's dude ranch vacation experiences. Ranch owners Allyson and Roy welcome guests to their ranch, which they strive to maintain "in complete harmony with the surrounding wilderness and to promote stewardship of the land, freedom of spirit, and an appreciation for family and the finer things in life".
On your first day at Siwash Lake, Allyson will spend a whole day with you, introducing you to the guest ranch's beautiful land. A professional horse woman and an avid naturalist, Allyson has a university degree in outdoor education and is the daughter of a mountaineer - so she knows her stuff! And there are so many ways that she and Roy will help you appreciate the freedom of the dude ranch. Whether you want to embark on a wilderness survival adventure, go mountain biking to discover hidden corners of the ranch, go bird watching or fishing (Roy's speciality!), or simply set out on foot with a map and a good sense of direction, you'll feel a true release from the stresses and strains of everyday life.
Why not take a 4x4 trip to see waterfalls? Or go back to nature and take to the lake, with river floating and a whole host of water sports on the calm waters of Siwash Lake.
But, of course, true freedom is best experienced on horseback. And this is where Siwash Lake steps it up a notch. After being matched with the perfect horse to suit your ability, you're free to groom, saddle and ride your own personal horse daily as often as you wish. Nose-to-tail riding this is NOT! Whether you're after a guided trail ride with an experienced wrangler to learn more about the land, or you prefer to head out on your own to explore the 80,000 acre Canada guest ranch as you please (offered to riders with proven ability), you have the freedom to choose. Ride Siwash Lake's pristine rangeland as you learn about local history, culture, terrain, flora and fauna. From beginner through advanced levels, Siwash lake will give you freedom on horseback as you've never experienced it before.
Says Top50 Editor Mel Rutherford: "We have chosen Siwash Lake this month, as a celebration of freedom. It's pretty timely, what with both the Fourth of July and Canada Day celebrations, each of which represent freedom and celebrate their respective countries' heritage. We also chose it as a celebration of the land - with the recent wildfires that have hit many parts of the USA, we are so much more thankful for the freedom we are given to ride over such beautiful, natural country, which will hopefully remain just as unspoilt in years to come. Dude ranch vacations at Siwash Lake are a true representation of freedom."
For more information on Siwash Lake Ranch, visit Top50Ranches.com
By Mel Rutherford