Day Adventure, Family Fun, Insider's Guide to Cache Valley

December Adventure: Elk-Watching and “Sleigh” Rides

Remember when I made a goal a few summers back of planning out some sort of “adventure” every month to ensure that we were continuously trying new things and not getting into the trap of “same ol’, same ol” all the time? No? You don’t remember? Me neither, because it’s been so long since we’ve actually done it that I forgot all about it.

After a little adventure the Saturday before Christmas with baby in tow, I think that needs to be remedied.

I’d been feeling that all-too familiar stir-crazy sensation inside me for several weeks, and in all honesty, I’m surprised that “in a rut” feeling hadn’t come a lot sooner, considering that it’s been awhile since we’ve really done anything too out of the ordinary. (In fact, not counting trying new restaurants here in town, the last “adventure” we went on was back in September, when I took Matt on a surprise weekend getaway for our birthdays.)

And even though I knew the holidays were coming up and that I’d have more time to plan adventures in a few days, I just felt like I couldn’t wait any longer–we needed to do something different and stat! (and preferably something outside, too, seeing as I never seem to see daylight anymore).

That is why you would have found me in the faculty room during lunchtime on the last Friday before the holiday, even though I usually eat my lunch in my own classroom because I’m desperately trying to avoid as many holiday treats as possible due to my elimination diet, and our faculty room is chock-full of them. Anywho, I had sort of had a place in mind for a little day adventure, but while I was bringing up my desire to get out and do something different that weekend, a coworker brought up a fun little outing a little closer to our home than the one I’d been planning, and it was one I’d never heard of. Apparently, Hardware Ranch (which is about 30 minutes away from our place) did this thing every winter where you could pay $5/adult to go on a little sleigh ride out in the midst of several hundred elk and take a little guided tour of the area.

A cheap adventure close to home for only $10? Yes, please! Even better was that it would help assuage some of the guilt I’d been feeling for not having been able to take Raven on a walk outside for about two weeks, poor thing. She needed to get out just as much as we did!

So off to the Ranch we went, with Raven all bundled up in a pink sweater onesie and Matt and I marveling at the fact that it was a balmy 45-degree December day. Apparently hundreds of other people had the same idea we did though because the place was pretty busy, and it only seemed to get busier as the afternoon wore on.

Luckily, the “sleigh ride” was pretty short (only about 15-20 minutes) and the horse-drawn carts could hold about 18 people (including children), so the line went decently fast (since there were three different horse-drawn carts going out, I believe). The short length of the ride proved to be perfect for Raven because it gave her a chance to be out in the sun and enjoying the fresh air, but it didn’t give her *too* much time to get fussy, since we were coming up on her naptime pretty quick with the wait in line. (Although I will say that she ignored the elk most of the time, preferring instead to stare at the ground as it whooshed underneath us as the horses pulled us along.)

Some quick info for anyone interested in going:

Location: Hardware Ranch, located up Blacksmith Fork Canyon (it’s about 15 miles east of Hyrum, so it’s about a 30-minute drive from Logan, Utah)
Event Dates: Dec. 11th, 2015 – Feb. 29th, 2016
Hours: Mondays and Fridays from noon to 4:30 p.m., Saturdays/Sundays from 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Cost: $5/person (ages 9-adult), $3/child (ages 4-8), children 3 and under ride free
Event: horse-drawn carts take groups of 15-20 people around a loop in the middle of a field to view several hundred elk while a guide briefly shares some interesting facts about the elk and the ranch

Part of the appeal on this mini adventure lay in the drive to the ranch itself, I thought—Blacksmith Fork Canyon is simply breathtaking this time of year, and I, being the obnoxious photo-obsessed wife I am, begged Matt to pull off to the side of the (snowy) road in the canyon so we could get some pictures.

I am definitely not sorry.

So now, thanks to my husband being ever so willing to go along with my whims, I give you a bit of picture overload to top this post off:

Here’s hoping your Christmas was magical and that you’ve got some happy things to look forward to as we head into the new year!

Liked this post? Then you'll probably also like...