It’s hard to find the words to capture the feeling, but let’s set the scene.
Not a house, road or power line crowds your view. All that surrounds you are green, fragrant rolling prairies. The grass leans with the warm wind carrying the song of a meadowlark. Your horse’s ears twitch to capture the sound.
So what is it that you are feeling as you gaze across the endless Saskatchewan horizon? Oh, I know – home. Yep, home on the range.
Holidays on an authentic Canadian working ranch bring out the pioneer spirit that lays dormant deep in our souls. Having the opportunity to work the land or bring in a herd of cattle while riding a trusty steed is refreshing and revitalizing. In Saskatchewan, two family ranches offer you the chance to learn the cowboy way of life from real cowboys.
Take a ride on the wild side at the Sturgeon River Ranch. Four hours north of Saskatoon the Vaadeland family offers trail rides for the afternoon or week-long treks into the wild side of Prince Albert National Park. Expect to ride through prairies and forests to peek in on Canada’s only free ranging wild Plains bison or spot elk, moose, deer, wolves and bears along the trail. Back at the ranch your help is welcomed from fixing fences to feeding the cattle. Toss a line into Tie Lake and catch tomorrow’s dinner or just kick back and listen to the loons.
A prairie experience beyond your expectations is at La Reata Ranch. With over 200 cows and their calves to tend, there is always something to keep you and your horse busy with the Gaber family. The homestead sprawls along the banks of the Saskatchewan River two hours south of Saskatoon on the same shores tipis were once pitched by the Blackfoot and the Crow. Now is your chance to learn the cowboy way of moving cattle, tossing a lariat or maybe trying out rodeo events like barrel racing. If you are looking for solitude under a dazzling starry sky, there is over 15 km (9 miles) of meandering shoreline for a true cowboy campout.
At the end of your stay at either Saskatchewan ranch you will have checked “work on a real western ranch” off your bucket list but will have added ... what’s the word? Oh, yeah – repeat.
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