The Hills Health and Guest Ranch in British Columbia
...a wanna-be cowgal de-stresses
Erica Ehm is an award-winning country songwriter who finds a lot of her inspiration in the wild west.
As glamorous as the world of television may appear to be, the reality is... daily doses of very high stress. So when the first season of my show, "Real Life", wrapped up, I needed a summer vacation badly.
Looking through the SpaFinder catalog, The Hills Health and Guest Ranch caught my eye. Located in central British Columbia, 250 miles north of Vancouver, the Hills is a unique combination of dude ranch and wellness spa. As a wanna-be cowgal who needed to relax and be pampered, this combination was perfect for me!
Picturesque trails snake out over a
40 mile radius
There are several guest packages available at the Hills. Not wanting to concentrate solely on horseback riding, I opted for the Inches Off Executive combination. Upon arrival, I was greeted with a smile and a computer printout of my week's activities. The next seven days would include three spa meals daily, a fitness test, exercise classes, guided hikes, an assortment of "delicious" massages and wraps, and of course, horseback riding.
Spa accommodation--a charming combo
of rustic and modern
Each day at the ranch began with an early-bird guided hike designed to get your body going. Then the walkers regrouped at the dining room. Guests had their choice--either you could dine around larger group tables or you could sit at a single table and read, as I did.
I ate well, exercised well and didn't
gain an ounce
Just as important as the food was the dining room service-- friendly, enthusiastic, and on the ball. The staff made me feel right at home, often stopping for a quick chat.
Before throwing myself into my workout program, I had a fitness test appointment with Dr. Lynda. She spent an hour testing and analyzing my results, and then made some valuable workout suggestions. One of my goals was to de-stress and exercise, so after breakfast I generally did the workout classes--low impact aerobics or step. I really enjoyed the stretch and cool down after that good sweat. The rest of my mornings were filled with running on the treadmill, or horseback riding or being pampered with a spa service.
Facials, seaweed herbal wraps and bio-flavinoids
By examining my skin, Juanita recognized a digestion problem and recommended some natural remedies. After the hour of facial pampering, she gave me photocopies of articles on the subjects we had discussed. Juanita's goal is that the Wellness Centre provides the environment and professional knowledge to help change and improve each guest's lifestyle.
She was already beginning to affect mine. By the end of my stay, after a manicure, pedicure, massage and seaweed herbal wrap, I had learned to rub cod liver oil and vitamin E directly into my cuticles, take bio-flavinoids to avoid varicose veins, and always drink eight glasses of water a day. Each helpful suggestion was accompanied by a photocopied article to be taken home.
One cowgirl was five months pregnant
What I found interesting down at the stable was that there wasn't a cowboy in sight. All the rides were wrangled and led by a bunch of horse loving cowgirls, even one who was five months pregnant.
This is the life!
If you plan on riding, be sure to bring jeans, a waterproof jacket, chaps if you have them, and a pair of boots, preferably with heels.
Contact The Hills Health and Guest Ranch
Alice Walker, author, 1979
The horse, like Cary Grant, lends romance to any venture.
Roberta Smoodin, The New York Times Magazine, 1993
While the "cowboy" is our favorite American hero--the quintissential man--most of us see the "cowgirl" as a child who will grow up one day and be something else. The cowboy's female counterpart --who can ride and rope and wrangle, who understands land and stock and confronts the elements on a daily basis--is somehow missing from our folklore.
Teresa Jordan, Cowgirls, 1984
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