Chama, NM: A Day on the Dude Ranch

Wednesday, May 13


It’s hard to overstate what a strange experience it is to have someone come up to you in a parking lot who recognizes you from your blog. It was our good fortune though, as Bill is a fantastic guy, a true cowboy. He told us we could stay the day and another night if we wanted to, and we couldn’t resist such a nice offer.


He generously donated his morning time to showing us around the elk ranch across the highway where they raise elk for big game hunting. The cows are artificially impregnated to two huge stud bulls so the male offspring are large with trophy size antlers. The 16,000 acres territory is also a natural reserve where the owners work with the government to preserve its flora and fauna. We climbed into Bill’s truck and drove down dirts roads through the beautiful green hills. The aspens were just filling in so their white trunks contrasted nicely with the greens of the pines. Under a clear blue sky we couldn’t ask for a better morning touring the New Mexico Rockies. All throughout the ride Bill told us one fantastic story from his life and work after another.


Bill has acquired the rights for this season to take tourists horseback riding around the ranch, so if you’re riding through the southern Rockies and want a cool place to stay overnight or do some elk hunting or horseback riding, give Bill a call or check out the ranch website. Motorcyclists receive a special welcome from Bill. You might even get lucky like Inna and he will find you some shed antlers to take home along the way.


After the tour, Bill took us into “downtown” Chama for some lunch at the High Country restaurant, recently acquired by a 27 year old man who’d been working there since he was 13. The food was tasty (we even got to eat peanuts from a metal bucket and throw shells on the floor) and it had a great country western decor. We toured the other buildings of downtown and a friend of Bill’s (everyone in town is a friend of Bill’s) who runs a cafe and toffee shop gave us some Chama stickers for the bikes. Chama is a charming little town and a nicely kept secret in New Mexico. It even has a narrow gauge railroad that rivals the more famous one between Durango and Silverton.


Back at the ranch, we left Bill to do some work while Inna and I went for a walk along the property, following a creek out into the grassy hills. It was a perfect day for such a walk and the exercise was a nice break from the sitting on the bikes. After lunch we did some writing, and then headed into town for dinner, again the High Country.


It was a quiet evening watching the sun set and writing. After spending some time with their cat, Bob, we went to bed.


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