SisterCreek Ranch, a bed-and-barn, is located 45 miles west of San Antonio, just a few miles from Boerne. Nine of us decided to reserve a weekend to stay at the ranch and ride in the Texas Hill Country. We don't have an opportunity to ride in the hills in the Houston area, where we live, but the ranch is within easy hauling distance.
On our trip was Sallie, aboard Wednesday, her Quarter Horse; Gwen, aboard Fancy, her Appendix Quarter Horse; Carol aboard Lacey, her Quarter Horse; Gary and Deb aboard Tornado and Starlight, their Tennessee Walking Horses; Jack with Elvis and Spirit, his two Tennessee Walking Horses; Mary aboard Coco, her Appaloosa Horse; 13-year-old Rachael aboard Sister, her Quarter Horse; me, Tammy, aboard Checote, my Pinto Horse, and last but not least, Tanner the dog.
Sallie, and Gary and Deb have self-contained horse trailers with living quarters, but the rest of us don't. Fortunately, SisterCreek Ranch caters to both types of horse travelers, with trailer hookups, as well as beautifully decorated cabins.
I called ahead to make sure they were okay with me bringing Tanner, asking if they were dog friendly. The answer was, "As long as your dog is friendly, we are dog friendly."
On Friday morning, the weatherman in San Antonio called for zero-percent chance of rain for the weekend. We pulled out of Houston in mid-afternoon, and of course by the time we got to San Antonio, the rain was pouring down so hard I could drive only 30 miles per hour to keep from overdriving my windshield wipers. We made it safely to the ranch in spite of it all.
As we drove through the low-water crossing and up the long, long driveway to the ranch, my first impression was, oh, my gosh, this ranch is absolutely beautiful! I knew right then we were in for a treat! The ranch is immaculately groomed. Mary, Rachael, Tanner, and I pulled up to the beautiful barn and were greeted by Leslie, one of the ranch managers. What a wonderful and hospitable person she is! She immediately made us feel so welcome. (The ranch owners happened to be away that weekend, so we didn't have the pleasure of meeting them.)
SisterCreek features a quaint replica of an Old West town called KickBack Flats. It even comes complete with Sniffy's Saloon! The two cabins are located between the saloon and the pipe stalls where our horses stayed. After bedding down the horses for the night, we proceeded to unload our gear into the charming cabin decorated in Texas style.
I wasn't able to pull my rig close enough to the cabin to unload our gear without a long walk, so Leslie provided us with golf carts to haul our gear. We were also able to drive the golf carts to the trailer hookups, which are really too far to walk to from the cabins. We all had a blast just riding the golf carts to and fro!
Meals are provided in Sniffy's Saloon. As soon as we unloaded our gear, dinner and the rest of our group were waiting for us in the saloon, which also provides karaoke, a pool table, shuffleboard, a pinball machine, and other table games. We tried and enjoyed them all. After dinner, we sang karaoke. No one in our little group can carry a tune in a bucket, but we had a lot of fun making fools of ourselves!
Hitting the Trails
Early Saturday morning, we hit the trails. Wow-what great trails they are! Leslie provided us with a map, but we didn't really need it. Jake, the ranch's Border Collie, led the way. If we started down the wrong path, he'd turn around and look at us like, "Hey, you fools, the trail is this way!" He made an excellent little guide.
We enjoyed the varied terrain. A hayfield offers flat, solid ground that's great for galloping. Then there are creeks to cross and hills to climb to your heart's content. If it's warm enough, there are even ponds where you can swim.
Trails range from easy to moderate. We considered some of the trails to be moderate mostly because we were riding "flatlander" horses who aren't used to climbing hills much bigger than a creek bank! The steeper trails are designed for motor-vehicle access, so there was plenty of room to ride side-by-side. Some of the trails were very rocky, so I was glad that our horses had on fresh shoes. The ranch itself is about 700-plus acres, which is plenty big for a full weekend of exploring.
As we were galloping through the hayfield, a startled jackrabbit leaped up underneath Sallie's horse, Wednesday, then crashed his head into the bottom of Sallie's left stirrup, which scared the dickens out of all three of them. He set a new jackrabbit world record for getting across the field and away from us! Jake and Tanner took off in the chase, but it was hopeless.
Leslie gave us the directions to the highest point on the ranch. What a breathtaking view! At the very top is a labyrinth built from rocks. Gary, Carol, Mary, and Rachael worked their horses through the labyrinth without crossing a rock line. In the center, they posed for a photo, imitating Rodin's "The Thinker."
On Saturday night, Mary's Appaloosa, Coco, started showing signs of colic. We quickly got her up and started walking her. Fortunately, there was Banamine on hand. After giving Coco an injection and continuing walking her for 30 minutes, she still hadn't passed manure, so we loaded her into the trailer and "bombs away!" (Isn't it strange how alarmed you are at the onset of colic, and then one little act of nature puts the world right again?)
There are many things that stand out in my mind about SisterCreek. The scenery itself will simply take your breath away. The quaint Old West village makes you feel as though you've stepped back in time, except you still have all the modern conveniences. (There's something to be said for a comfortable bed, a hot shower, and flush toilets!) A beautiful creek runs behind the cabins and saloon. Alongside the creek, the ranch owners have built a lovely little meditation walk-so peaceful and relaxing to the mind and spirit.
The company and camaraderie that my friends and I shared will not be forgotten. The hospitality offered by the management staff at SisterCreek is supreme.
For more information on SisterCreek Ranch, call (800) 324-6525, or visit www.sistercreekranch.com.