This past weekend I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to attend the Rancho Rendezvous at my childhood Girl Scout camp, Rancho Del Chaparral Girl Scout Camp- fondly known as Rancho.
The Rancho Rendezvous is an Adult weekend at camp. We get to go have fun doing all the things that we remember doing as campers and want to do again- crafts, hikes, horseback riding, singing songs, playing games, share stories, and campfires. It’s also an opportunity for people like me to do things we wanted to do as campers but never got to do.
We all arrived on Friday, but most of our activities took place on Saturday. I got up early and was able to (finally!) capture some of the sights of Rancho that I’ve never been able to capture the way that I wanted to before!
Emily and I got to go horseback riding with the Horse Staff after breakfast, but I didn’t take my camera- I didn’t want to spook the horses with the sound of the shutter release. Ruth, Amanda, Emily, and I started out at about twelve o’clock for Signal Mountain (our name for it; it doesn’t actually have an official name), and Ojitos (O-hee-toes) Canyon.
On our way out, we went through Fossil Hill. From this point you can see Signal Mountain in the distance, as well as Aspen Grove. Then we headed downhill and crossed the Rio de las Vacas, which to our amazement was at flood stage. None of us had EVER seen it that high. Normally this ‘river’ is only ankle deep on me, but this time it was up to my waist! * I do NOT recommend fording a river you are not familiar with at flood stages. *
After crossing the river, we hiked down the road and past Judy Spring. This spring is now dry, but was originally named for Judy Heath, our camp’s former- and beloved- caretaker’s wife.
Once we passed the spring, we continued up the road toward Ojitos Canyon, and the trail to Signal Mountain. We hiked up the front side of Signal Mountain, and as it was a tough hike (for me at least) up, I put my camera down and concentrated on getting up the almost 9000 foot mountain. But, as tough as it was, the view from the top was totally worth it!
We bushwhacked our way down the backside of the mountain, and again, it was tough going, so I put the camera down. Once we got into Ojitos Canyon, and the former logging camp, we had a ton of fun! And, this valley and meadow is simply stunning.
We hiked back down the road toward camp, crossing the river again, and made it back in time to find dry clothes and go to dinner at Casa Grande.
Sunday morning brought more amazing photo opportunities for myself. I’ve seen a lot of these sights my entire life growing up at camp, but now I have the skill and equipment to capture it the way that I want to.
After breakfast, we did some archery before packing our bags and taking a drive to the Mystery Tree. This tree has a wonderful camp tale that goes with it, but is too long to share here. If you really want to hear it, send me an email!
Once we’d sniffed the tree (the tale explains this), and said good-bye until next year, we left camp taking Forest Road 20 to US Highway 550 and home. There was one last stop along this road, however.
Red Top- again this is our name for it- is an off-camp meadow that we would use for overnights for the older girls when I was a camper at Rancho. They stopped taking the girls there some time ago. I finally found it again.
That’s about it for this Rancho Rendezvous. Rancho will always hold a special place in my heart, and I’ll miss it until next year. I hope to see you there as well!