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Scott Sitner-Vista Verde-day 2


Waking up at 5 am in a unfamiliar place with total darkness is weird thing, what seems even stranger, but not bad, is waking up and not immediately looking at my phone to see who is bothering me, what the news is and what the weather will be. The reason, is well, there is no television, really anywhere, I did not even see one in the Lodge. The internet in the room is spotty and even at that limited to e-mails, texts that seem to pop up totally at random and a smattering of notifications. I love knowing guitar center is having a sale, but that is sort of weird I get that, but not the ones from the NY Times that actually tell me what is going, on, maybe of course I do not want to know. PS, the below was outside my bedroom, his name is now Rusty..

Watching the sun come up over the mountains is just serene. It is incredibly quiet, there is no traffic noise because there is no traffic, we are six miles from anything civilized and that’s the ice cream store. I can hear birds, trees, people getting horses and things ready for the day and the view is just so obviously different. Just such an odd change from hearing Woodward avenue traffic from my window. It is also tiring, with the time change I am just up at 5 am. Wish I could sleep but you are just on another clock.

The food is clearly just off the charts. I am going to have pancakes or French toast every day. It is a full menu, for 17 people, pretty much comparison to any good hotel and it doesn’t feel like a hotel breakfast, it feels like someone actually cared and made you breakfast, although getting only six potatoes was weird. It is also interesting to see how people start the day. Some are all dressed with full regalia, others clearly just rolled out of bed. Nothing here starts early, no pressure to be on a horse or a hike at 7 am just to prove you can. Civilized, want a hike? We can start at ten am……

Which is what we did. We told the guide, another out of the pages of any magazine guy, we just wanted to hike in the woods, see some sights and get acclimated The altitude has not bothered me much, but I cannot say the same for others. So off we went, as you can see below it is stunning. If you look at the pictures you can also see a lot of black burned trees. The forest fires that were only a mile away are done, but they carved a pretty good path of devastation. What was interesting was hearing the staff talk about it like it was a campfire. They could see the winds and see that even though this was just a mile two away, they were pretty safe and could just literally watch it burn.

The hike was great, although some of it just seemed to be on a dirt road and my new shoes are not so new anymore. It is also clear that I am the guy who showed up with the new clothes bought like days before I left, I hate to be that guy, but oh well. I also did not bring nearly enough cowboy clothes, i.e vests, plaid shirts, I reek of suburban out of place nees. Looks like more shopping is needed. Let’s just say my new sketchers are a little noticeable…..

I also met my horse. Apache, more later.

Eating lunch outside is also just fun. And like everything great, even the burgers and brats and salad was clearly all made with care and thought. The people re all friendly, some more than others, you can sort of pick out quickly who wants to talk and who doesn’t. Save for one couple Covid just isn’t an issue, brief talks about our histories, but no one nervous, we all clearly just want to live.

After lunch, I put on my best horse riding attire,(jeans a brand new Eddie Bauer t shirt), lifted a pair of shoes with heals(turns out not the heels I usually see) and I go to meet Apache, chosen I think because of the hundred horses they have, his name started with an A. As you can see from the dopey picture, he is gray and quiet and non threatening. Perfect. I hadn’t ridden in 30 plus years, but it’s all the same, she made sure I was not an idiot, or was going to hurt the horse or fall off, and we went on about an hour trail ride, which mostly entailed riding around the property. Was sort of odd doing it, but fun, I may even do it again. Except my legs hurt, love getting old.

But I could then sit in the hot tub on the front porch. Not so bad, and enjoy the “free” beverages in the mini bar. Root beer and m and ms and a hot tub, Not sure what anyone else could ever want?

Happy hour and dinner were again just stupid nice. The staff is all great, whether they re really like this in real life who knows, but the are all friendly, accommodating and cater to pretty much anything. They have great wine and appetizers and people just linger although clearly a few decided they could avoid an hour of social time. Dinner was easily the equivalent of any good or better restaurant in any city. The menu is below. The veal chop, (I know, save the politics) was huge and cooked perfectly, the trout was fresh, people raved about the vegetarian stuff(whatever). I even got an apology because the red wine was served in the wrong red wine glass. Menu is below. Three glasses too much....

This is such a different trip than I normally take, but I can see easily why people come back here year after year after year.

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