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Saturday, July 2, 2022

A Stay at Historic Reesor Ranch in Saskatchewan

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Historic Reesor Ranch confirmed up on my radar a decade a go. I used to be on a solo journey to Grasslands Nationwide Park and had thought of breaking apart the drive again to Calgary with a cease for the night time someplace. I don’t bear in mind the place I learn concerning the ranch – maybe in a pamphlet at The Convent in Val Marie the place I spent a few nights. I used to be intrigued by what I learn and the images I noticed, however I can’t imagine how lengthy it has taken me to go to.

The ranch is run by Scott and Theresa Reesor with assist from their three grown kids together with son Jason who may be very a lot concerned on a day-to-day foundation. It has gained some prestigious awards because of the household’s efforts. They’re a Canadian Tourism Award Winner for small enterprise, a Tourism Saskatchewan Award Winner and notably a Canadian Signature Expertise Member with Vacation spot Canada for his or her Cypress Hills Cowboy Journey.

The ranch sits within the Cypress Hills of southern Saskatchewan. These are the biggest hills between the Rockies and Labrador so you possibly can anticipate a stunning quantity of elevation acquire and a various array of ecosystems. An assortment of untamed orchids, an enormous variety of birds species, fascinating geology and wildlife together with cougars are all a part of the package deal. On the ranch come put together to hike, horseback experience, chook and go for ATV rides.

Signal on the street into Reesor Ranch
It may not look like it in the photo but great birding around the pond on the drive in
It might not appear to be it within the photograph however nice birding across the pond on the drive in

Historic Reesor Ranch – a provincial heritage property

The historic W.D. & Alice Reesor Ranch was established in 1904 and constructed between 1906 and 1916. Immediately the ranch home, barn, granary, bunkhouse and root home nonetheless retain a excessive diploma of “historic integrity.” 

Based on a authorities plaque “their craftmanship and placement relative to one another and to native panorama components typify ranch structure within the Cypress Hills throughout this era. The buildings and grounds additionally show modifications revamped time to accommodate each the calls for of an evolving ranching business and the altering wants of the household.”

Reesor Ranch over the golden hour
Reesor Ranch over the golden hour
Saddle up for horseback rides in this building
Saddle up for horseback rides on this constructing
Map of Reesor Ranch showing building locations
Map of Reesor Ranch displaying constructing areas

Lodging on the ranch

At Reesor Ranch you have got a selection of 5 cabins – all of that are open year-round. As well as, there are 5 guestrooms within the Reesor household’s heritage Arts & Craftsman ranch residence. These rooms are solely accessible from Might 1st to October thirty first.

A few the cabins provide bunkbed choices which might be excellent should you’re touring with your loved ones. One of many cabins sits far away from the others beside the Kinnickinick Path. It’s excellent for individuals who are blissful with out WiFi.

We stayed within the cute Cowboy Cabin full of a number of tasteful cowboy-themed decorations. Outdoors there are a few Adirondack chairs, a big fuel barbeque, and a propane heater. There’s additionally a hearth pit beside the cabin with wooden accessible for buy. Inside, there’s a small kitchenette space with a microwave, a half fridge, a one-burner range, a small desk with a few chairs, a sofa, and a mattress. It’s most likely a double mattress (not a queen) – so be ready to cuddle your vital different. The toilet is massive and includes a soaking tub. 

To e-book a room or a cabin, go to their web site right here.

Our cute Cowboy Cabin
Our cute Cowboy Cabin
Even the shower curtains have horses on them
Even the bathe curtains have horses on them
There's a firepit and a barbeque on the deck of our Cowboy Cabin
There’s a firepit and a barbeque on the deck of our Cowboy Cabin
A couple of other cabins with a view over an open field
The Pioneer and Frontier Cabins get pleasure from a view over an open subject

Consuming (& consuming) at Reesor Ranch

In the event you’re staying in a cabin, then in principle you possibly can carry all your individual foods and drinks and don’t must step foot within the Ranch Corridor Grill & Bar. However what’s the enjoyable in that? Granted the barbeques on the cabins are massive, so it could be simple to throw collectively a meal, however you then’d miss out on the camaraderie and dialog with different company and even the homeowners, Scott, and Theresa. You’d additionally by no means hear Scott’s cowboy poetry – each his personal and poetry from books collected over time.

On our first night time we began the night with a wine tasting – produced from fruit from the close by Cypress Hills Winery & Vineyard. We tried a rhubarb wine (it took me again to New Brunswick and glamping at Broadleaf Lodge final summer season), cherry wine and one made with a mixture of darkish fruits. Then it was time for supper – steak the primary night time, cooked to perfection by Scott, together with salads and garlic bread. The following night time it was hen pot pie. Selections are listed on the web site for now. You do must pre-order meals – and should you haven’t, you’ll be capable to order a regionally made pizza so there’s no risk of going hungry.

Breakfast is served at 9 AM – a civilized hour once you’re having a break out of your day-to-day life. You possibly can anticipate yogurt and fruit, egg, and toast, regionally made sausage or bacon and pancakes served with a facet of cowboy poetry. Deliver some espresso and milk with you so you can also make espresso in your cabin, must you be up with the birds.

Trying some of the fruit wines from Cypress Hills Vineyard & Winery wat the cowboy themed bar
Making an attempt a number of the fruit wines from Cypress Hills Winery & Vineyard on the cowboy themed bar with Scott & Theresa Reesor on the left and their buddy Colleen on the correct
Saddle up to the bar - but you'll need someone to bring you a drink
Saddle as much as the bar – however you’ll want somebody to carry you a drink
Scott Reesor reads some of his own cowboy poetry
Scott Reesor reads a few of his personal cowboy poetry

Issues to do at Historic Reesor Ranch

Horseback Driving

Inside an hour of arriving on the ranch, we have been within the horse barn assembly up with a few cowgirls – Naomi and Emily. The plan was to go off on a 90-minute horseback experience with them to get the lay of the land. However first, we did what NO different horseback using outfit has ever executed. We brushed our horses after which saddled them up – with some assist, as I had by no means saddled a horse earlier than. It’s a easy factor, however it did assist to type a bond with the horse. 

I’ve all the time been fearful of horses – although after three days final yr horseback using to Sundance Lodge in Banff Nationwide Park, I received over a few of that concern. Driving on Sid, my massive black horse, was a pleasant expertise. He was well-behaved and didn’t bolt once we spied a few skunks. It was a type of rides the place you watch the panorama slide by, admiring the large skies and open fields whereas getting misplaced in your ideas. 

Throughout busy season at Reesor Ranch, three horseback rides a day are provided – together with some pony rides and classes for the youthful crowd. Regardless that horses are an enormous a part of what Reesor Ranch is all about, you don’t should really feel stress to go horseback using to get pleasure from a keep.

Horseback riding past conglomerate cliffs
Horseback using previous conglomerate cliffs
Reesor Ranch borders Cypress Hills Provincial Park
Reesor Ranch borders Cypress Hills Provincial Park
Looking for birds and avoiding skunks
On the lookout for birds and avoiding skunks
And it's back to the barn
And it’s again to the barn

Hike to the “Hidden” Conglomerate Cliffs

I didn’t anticipate there to be a lot in the way in which of mountaineering trails on the ranch, however with the Reesor Ranch property location adjoining to Cypress Hills Provincial Park, there’s an choice to hike a part of the Trans-Canada Path.

John and I ended up doing a couple of 10-kilometre loop. The primary a part of the path was on the easy-to-follow Kinnickinick loop on the Reesor Ranch property. We discovered the beginning of the path close to one of many cabins. It took us up by way of the forest previous swaths of tiny wildflowers to a piece of the conglomerate cliffs you’ll discover scattered across the plateau. With a tough map supplied by Jason, we spied buffalo wallows the place the buffalo as soon as bathed and drank. On this part of the hike, we additionally noticed what we expect have been cougar tracks. Theresa talked about that she had seen a few cougars a couple of days earlier, so it made sense. There’s a excessive cougar inhabitants in Cypress Hills Provincial Park however there are NO bears or wolves.

On the lookout for the Trans-Canada Path

From the map we knew we needed to descend to Battle Creek Highway from a three-way intersection off the Kinnickinick Path. Nothing was marked, however there was an apparent path heading down within the course we needed to go. As soon as we reached the street, we have been on the Trans-Canada Path. We adopted it for a kilometre of two to achieve a lunch spot beside Battle Creek throughout from the Noble-Symons Cabin. The cabin was in-built 1939 by Robert Symons, a famend rancher and painter, whereas he was a sport warden within the Cypress Hills. After simply three years it was bought to Albert and Sylvia Noble – and so they lived in it for an additional decade.

Throughout from the cabin, you’ll discover Trans-Canada Path signage. We took the path from the signal as much as the plateau after which east and over to the Hidden Conglomerate Cliffs. In the event you continued on the easy-to-follow Trans-Canada Path, you’d find yourself again on Battle Creek Highway, a couple of kilometres southeast of the cabin and our start line for this a part of the hike. There’s parking throughout from the cabin, because it’s fairly a well-liked hike.

After having fun with the views from the Hidden Conglomerate Cliffs, we made our means, with the assistance of a tough map, again to Reesor Ranch. It was grand however lonely nation up on the plateau. Curiously, alongside one part we discovered a lifeless bluebird hanging the wrong way up hooked up to a barbed wire fence. On this space, there are shrikes – and that’s what they do to their prey. They arrive again to eat their prey after it has rotted a bit. Yum.

The first stop on the Kinnikinik Cliff Trail at historic Reesor Ranch
The primary cease on the Kinnikinik Cliff Path at historic Reesor Ranch
Onto the forest trail on route to the conglomerate cliffs
Onto the forest path on path to the conglomerate cliffs
John the geologist checking out the conglomerate cliffs
John the geologist trying out the conglomerate cliffs
The week before we arrived there had been a big dump of snow
The week earlier than we arrived there had been an enormous dump of snow
Fresh cougar tracks - and a few days before Theresa Reesor had seen two of them
Contemporary cougar tracks – and some days earlier than Theresa Reesor had seen two of them
Lunch stop on Battle Creek across from the Symons-Noble Cabin
Lunch cease on Battle Creek throughout from the Noble-Symons Cabin
We hooked up with the Trans-Canada Trail - with a section here on Battle Creek Road
We attached with the Trans-Canada Path – with a piece right here on Battle Creek Highway
Ultimately we ended up at the Hidden Conglomerate Cliffs
Finally we ended up on the Hidden Conglomerate Cliffs – and there’s fairly a drop-off
Came across this beautiful wildflower on our hike
Got here throughout this lovely wildflower on our hike
We walked for kilometres on a plateau somewhere above the ranch
We walked for kilometres on a plateau someplace above the ranch

Take an ATV tour

Another choice with a keep at Reesor Ranch is to take an ATV tour. Jason likes to supply them within the night so company can catch a prairie sundown. I handed on driving my very own ATV – and opted to affix Jason in his heated ATV whereas John and Theresa adopted. We did have a purpose of searching for orchids in an space identified for them however apparently, we have been every week or two early. Nevertheless, we did see the bones of a cow that had been hit by a lightening strike, a much more widespread prevalence than I had appreciated. And as you possibly can see, the views at sundown from one of many excessive factors close to the ranch are lovely.

Sunset view from the ATV I was driven around in by Jason
Sundown view from the ATV I used to be pushed round in by Jason
We were looking for striped coral root orchids but were a week or two too early
We have been searching for striped coral root orchids however have been every week or two too early
The remains of a cow hit by a lightning strike on the ranch
The stays of a cow hit by a lightning strike on the ranch
Catching an incredible sunset at one of the high points near the ranch
Catching an unimaginable sundown at one of many excessive factors close to the ranch

Go chook watching

In the event you love birding, pack a pair of binoculars on your go to to Reesor Ranch. There’s a massive pond you possibly can simply entry on the street into the ranch the place you’ll seemingly spot an assortment of geese and shorebirds. A pond by the car parking zone is an efficient place to hang around. John noticed his first ever Wilson’s snipe right here. Tree swallows have been in abundance, particularly with a chook field on a gate you possibly can’t assist however go each time you head to the eating corridor. And at nighttime, the nighthawks might be heard diving up excessive. We noticed quite a few, white-crowned sparrows and the poor bluebird that met an unlucky finish.

Tree swallows were nesting near the restaurant
Tree swallows have been nesting close to the restaurant
A white-crowned sparrow
A white-crowned sparrow

Greatest time to go to 

The ranch is open year-round. We visited in Might – at a time when bushes have been leafing out and wildflowers carpeted sections of the property, however the bugs hadn’t appeared. In my books, it was an ideal time to discover the realm. However the backside line is that every season has its personal richness – so that you’ll should be the decide of what you’re after. Definitely, summer season is nice for households with all of the actions however in winter you possibly can snowshoe, take ATV journeys and even toboggan.

I loved visiting historic Reesor Ranch in the spring - when the wildflowers started to make an appearance - but before the
I liked visiting within the spring when the wildflowers began to make an look – however earlier than the bugs arrived

Location of Reesor Ranch

Reesor Ranch is a four-hour drive from Calgary and a 4.5 hour drive from Regina. If it hasn’t rained shortly, all roads that result in the property needs to be in fine condition. Nevertheless, if it’s rained laborious, you may need to drive to Elkwater in Cypress Hills Provincial Park after which east, so that you solely have about 10 km of filth street. There’s a good map on the ranch web site detailing the driving choices.

                
                                         

Last ideas

I learn by way of the visitor e-book in our cabin and echo the feedback I noticed. John and I loved real hospitality and a stunning two-night getaway. I’d have liked one other day simply to do nothing however sit by the fireplace pit and skim an excellent e-book – so after my expertise I’d advocate reserving at the least two nights and three should you can spare the time. I believe you’ll be amazed on the number of landscapes and experiences you possibly can have on this scenic slice of Saskatchewan.

The guest book was filled with entries from guests who had enjoyed wonderful hospitality and had an amazing time
The visitor e-book was full of entries from company who had loved fantastic hospitality and had an incredible time

Extra studying on issues to do in Saskatchewan

Thanks to Tourism Saskatchewan for making my keep potential and to the Reesor household for making it memorable.

Click on on the photograph to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

A stay at historic Reesor Ranch in Saskatchewan's Cypress Hills

 

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