Categories: Adventure, Animals, Biking, Dining, Gourmet, Health and Fitness, Hiking, Pets, Travel - Tags: ATVs, Colorado, Fishing, Kessler Canyon, Luxury Travel, Rainbow Trout, Skeet Shooting, Springer Spaniel
Hiking High Above KESSLER CANYON RANCH, COLORADO
We have been book tour traveling off and on since Pulling Up Stakes: Stepping Into Freedom (http://www.pullingupstakesbook.com) was released in April. This month we have dates at bookstore in Vail and Boulder, Colorado. Of course, being savvy travellers, we’ve cherry picked our trips and it has really worked out well for us. So when we were confirmed at Bookworm in Vail (http://www.bookwormofedwards.com) and Boulder Books Store (http://www.boulderbookstore.net) in Boulder, I went on the web to find out what else we might do to light our fire while in Colorado.
One of my favorite websites is Luxury Links (http://www.luxurylinks.com). We’ve stayed at some amazing places all over the world during our sabbatical that we found, bid on and won at Luxury Links. This time I found a property called Kessler Canyon (www.kesslercanyon.com) that looked like it might just be the spark to light our fire for the Colorado tour (oops, too many wildfires are burning right now in the west….anyway, you know what I mean).
It was a competitive bid, but luckily, this place must be the best kept secret in Western Colorado. SO, drumroll….I won the auction—3 days and 2 nights, all meals and activities included. But, we didn’t have a clue we had won the JACKPOT until we landed in Grand Junction, got a free upgrade to any car of our choice (a 4 wheel drive Jeep SUV) because they were out of compact cars. We drove north to DeBeque and 17 miles west through high desert before we found the gates to Kessler Canyon and drove 4.5 more dusty dirt road miles into a canyon surrounded by rugged sandstone and shale peaks before arriving at the oasis that is this private resort.
Kessler’s Homage to the Wild Mustangs Greeted Us–6 Larger Than Lifesize Sculptures Galloping Across the Crest of a Hill
We were greeted like long lost relatives, I was immediately hugged and called “Lil Darlin’” by Chef Lenny, a generously proportioned cowboy (definitely gourmet) cook/chef. They’d been waiting for us and couldn’t wait to welcome us, help us get settled in this amazing place. Our huge room has original old west paintings, leather easy chairs, hand carved wooden tables and chests and a gorgeous spa-like bathroom.
We soon learned that the Kessler family fortune was made in the 1970s with the establishment of the Days Inns along highway interchanges. This canyon has been the family’s private 23,000 acre hunting and fishing retreat from managing over a dozen other boutique hotels throughout the south. We’re here, it turns out to our amazement and delight, with only two other guests and a hand-picked gifted staff of 19. Oh, My! If there were stars to award and five was excellent, this place would rate a ten!
Cowboy Chef Lenny in a Rarely Pensive Moment (He is Usually Laughing or Singing)
We have been treated like visiting royalty. Encouraged to fish in one of the lakes, take lessons in shooting skeet (this is a private big game hunting lodge during hunting season)—both shotguns and high powered rifles. Now as a Buddhist, I clearly clo not believe in killing, but I certainly don’t object to shooting skeet and tin targets at 250 yard, especially when a Navy sharpshooter who has been teaching for almost twenty years offers himself as your private guide and instructor.
We’ve also been mountain biking and this morning we took Tess, the family Springer Spaniel, a reportedly $10.000 dog who recently gave birth to eight wonderful puppies, on a challenging hike up to the top of the plateau overlooking this canyon (see above photo)—about a 3,000 ft climb.
Mama Tess, the Amazing Springer Spaniel
We really feel we deserve the phenomenal gourmet meals Cowboy Chef Lenny prepares for us each meal.
We also were invited to learn (fast) and take out our own ATVs —for someone who’s never done that, and always only hiked, biked or ridden horses, that’s another adventure into a testosterone-drenched world, like shooting guns,. Suffice it to say, we didn’t flip our ATVs. But there were more than a few “Yee Haws!” as we swooped down through stream beds and up steep banks to gun it (lots of guns here) out the straightaway.
Well, all I can say, is “Present Moment, Wonderful Moment” has many unexpected, sometimes challenging, yet extraordinary meanings. It does appear, for the price we paid and the amazing experience we have had, that we have surely hit the jackpot.