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City Slickers: Greenhorn Ranch offers Real Deal
By CARY ORDWAY
Some of California's most beautiful and 1least developed countryside can be found in Plumas County, about an hour's drive west from Reno, where we found a real-life version of the movie "City Slickers" at Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch.
Sometimes you just know when you've come home. Within about 30 minutes of our arrival at Greenhorn, we were chowing down on their Friday night barbecue of scrumptious, fall-off-the-bone ribs with all the fixin's. The owners of the ranch, Trish and Ralph Wilburn, were strumming their guitars and singing western songs by the campfire. Soon, the kids in the group were scurrying to get their marshmallows and chocolate so they could get more smores than anyone else.
Out there, the Big City might as well have been on the moon which, incidentally, was just starting to rise to take its place among the sparkling stars visible above the towering dark pine trees'surrounding the ranch. Paris Hilton might as well have been a Martian. The nearest Nordstrom's was probably 200 light years away, but my wife didn't even seem to mind. For this little space of time we were going to be living in a different time and place and, in essence, returning to the rural roots that have never been too far under the surface for either one of us.
The Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch is where you go to get a healthier heart. Not that barbecue ribs and steaks and big breakfasts of bacon and sausage and biscuits are going to unclog your arteries. The heart we're talking about is the one that helps you look at the world and'shape your reactions to it. It's the one that sometimes gets a little overwhelmed with the day-to-day and forgets about the big picture.
The big picture is considerably brighter after'spending a few days with fellow ranch visitors of all ages, shapes and sizes. Some of the people visiting the Greenhorn know about horses and may even have horses of their own. Others aren't sure which stirrup to step into first. Some are constantly running from one ranch activity to the next. Others are just content to sit on their cabin porches and inhale the Great Outdoors.
1Most people who visit the ranch spend at least a couple of hours each day on the back of a horse. Three levels of rides are offered beginner, intermediate and advanced and guests can get as many as a couple of two-hour rides each day, all included in the cost of their stay. The rides take guests not only to the 600 acres that belong to the Greenhorn Ranch, but also out into forests that stretch over a half-million "deeded acres" that Greenhorn is able to use for trail-riding. Depending on your skill level, you can ride on just about any kind of terrain you desire.
We were especially impressed with Marty Orenstein, the head wrangler and the guy responsible for leading up to 11 other wranglers during the peak summer season. At the beginning of each week (since most guests stay for a week at a time), Marty holds a safety class in which he covers all of the basics about riding a horse. Nothing is left to chance, as Marty explains how not only to ride your horse, but also communicate with it. Following that instruction, everyone is assigned a horse that matches their particular abilities and experience level which is no problem with 125 horses on hand to choose from.