Well, yesterday was my last day at Paradise Ranch ... and I bawled like a baby as I drove up the driveway for the last time. I didn’t think leaving would be so hard ... but some sentimental goodbyes pushed me well and truly over the edge.
Of course, it’s not forever ... I plan to be back next year, and there’s always that cabin in Story I’m considering buying. But after 10 weeks of living and breathing ‘this place called Paradise’ (to quote Aaron’s song), leaving was one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do in a long time.
Things I’ll miss about Paradise:
Sunrise at Fan Rock ... Andy, I’ll be with you in spirit tomorrow morning!
Galloping over the mesa ... ah, my happy place. Thanks for the great rides, Flash, Kyoma and Andy (the horse). And thanks to all the wranglers for leading the way. Leah Bright, love you to bits, you are my number one cowgirl. And Jace, thanks for always hooking me up with a nice pony!
Turn out ... the best photo opportunities ever. And to see those horses running free really is something else.
Cooked breakfast... this morning I had yoghurt and a banana. Back to the real world.
Jen’s cookies ... Jen, you are an evil temptress. Aaron is going to get realllll fat!
Death metal music coming from the kitchen. No need to elaborate on that! Brian and Tim, you rock. Literally.
The dogs ... awwwww. So many lovely pooches, such different personalities. Jake the goofball, Deena the sweetie, my gorgeous Tanna Banana, adorable Rowel and his sticks ... good dogs. Jake, it’s your turn with Words with Friends, don’t be slack now!
Maurie and Maureen ... the clawing, drooling fluffballs. Cool cats.
Hiking in the mountains ... blisters and all. Note to self: must buy hiking boots.
The sound of running water. Music to my soul.
Rockchucks. Run little rockchuck, run!
Talent night. Seriously. My favourite night of the week, just loved seeing what people can pull off.
Saturday night square dance. I hated this so much on my first one, thought it was interminable and ran away. Participation is the key - go Johnny go!
Sarah’s margaritas ... Sare Bear, you are a class act behind the bar! Love you girl!
Fireball shots. Even though after Saturday night, I’m never drinking again ...
Leah and Clay. What can I say, they are such gracious hosts and have been so kind and welcoming to this freeloader from Australia! Thank you so much for an amazing two and a half months. You haven’t seen the back of me ...
Finally, the amazing friends I have made. Living and working at the same location is an intense experience, particularly with a seasonal job like this. But in this situation, you forge deep and real relationships very quickly, bonding over shared experiences. I have had a blast with all the crew - what amazing, hard working, fun loving people you are. But special mention must go out to my peeps: free spirited, funny and beautiful Sarah; bright eyes Leah, my cool cowgirl; my adopted daughter Meg, who pulls my heartstrings like no one else; Brian, my adventure companion; and Dylan, my rock and the nicest man in the world.
Casey Case ... my roomie ... I miss you and our evening chats already. I love you, girl. Thanks for being there from the first moment I stepped on the ranch.
Now I’m crying again...
(PS ... I've decided to keep my blog going while I'm travelling through Wyoming for the next week. After all, this state is Paradise too...)