welcome to the happiest place on earth.
we’ve taken our fair share of trips around the Pacific Northwest this year, all little 2-3 hour drives away, but when the opportunity for a 8 hour road trip and a chance to visit Echo Valley Ranch + Spa came a knocking, we hit the road.
the words needed to describe the drive into British Columbia, the cute almost-European towns we drove through, the views down into Fraser Canyon — they just don’t exist! it’s a pretty special part of the country we live in, where 5 hours in any direction gets you some of the prettiest land you ever laid your eyes on. we weren’t exactly sure what kind of adventure was waiting for us at the end of a 2 mile packed dirt driveway (where we saw a baby black bear cub!) but when we rounded the corner to this — jake and I locked eyes and shared a pretty massive grin. what a incredible next 3 days we had in store!
one of Jake and my very favorite part about traveling is meeting people. it doesn’t matter if you’re from our backyard or half way around the globe — we love learning what’s at the heart their story. Echo Valley is layered in stories. Norm and Nan Dove built Echo Valley from the ground up, save one cabin that called their 160 home before they did. Able to accommodate 40 per night, a staff of under 20 looks after each other and their guests like family. We met wranglers, spa therapists, chefs and guides from Thailand, to Australia, Newfoundland to Germany, and representing almost every province in Canada. the one thing they have in common is a love for the nature, horses, and namely, Echo Valley.
it didn’t take long until we got right to the heart of the ranch. with a corral of 30 horses out our room window, if we weren’t riding them, we were feeding them grass over fence posts or helping clean our their hooves and leading them out to pasture. there’s something so special to me about keeping your kids close to nature! and seeing them both ride this sweet mare made my heart beat double time.
Quinn was classic game face the entire time she was in the saddle, but the moment I took her down, she was so so sad! I didn’t know how much she was grasping of the entire process, but as soon as she was back in the seat, she was calm and happy as clam! 10 months is easily one of my most favorite stages — these giant glimpses of personality start to shine through the routine of naps + giggles and you can start to see just who they’re turning into! it’s a no-brainer that we wouldn’t have the same girl twice, but Quinn is already making it widely known that she’s her own little person with her own needs and wants and likes. horseback riding is already near the top of that list 😉
these wanglers know their stuff! not only were they incredible with the horses, but they went double the extra miles to make sure that helmets, pink cowboy boots and completely convinced you are the one steering the horse was part of the experience. we happened to visit the valley on a few days that landed right between two large groups, so us and 3 other families had the whole place to ourselves! the staff was so laid-back, so comforting, they visited with us, played games with us, threw frisbees for the 9+ dogs on site and because fast friends. we didn’t bring family with us on this trip — but we left some behind.
one of the most incredible offerings the ranch provides is an onsite chef who presents 3, incredible, farm-to-table meals a day. guys — i didn’t cook or clean a dish this entire trip and ate better than I have all my adult life. buffet style breakfast and lunch and family style dinners were by far one of the highlights for us! normally food is an afterthought when we travel, we plan maybe one night where we find a fun, local restaurant, but this trip, I have to admit! we planned our day around the ring of the dinner bell! on Thursday nights, the chef takes a breather and the Thai staff cook authentic, fresh, mind blowing Thai cuisine. I could have picked off plates all. night. long.
there are way too many photos and stories from this trip to squeeze them all into one post! so here’s a little teaser of our gorgeous getaway to bottom of the Caribou Mountains – – check back all week to see the rest of our trip!