Initially, I wanted to tent camp, but it didn't take long for Steve to convince me that we would probably be better off in a cabin. (I'm really glad we did because we had a spectacular lightning and thunder show the next night.) I was a little nervous at first, expecting the cabin to be very rustic, filthy, and inhabited by spiders and bugs. Much to my relief, we walked in and it was as spotless as a cabin could be and not a spider in sight! This is a picture of the outside of the cabin.
This is our view from the patio.
The cabin can sleep six - the table folds down to sleep two, two in the full bed, and two in the bunk beds.
Amaya enjoyed getting up on the bunk bed, but slept in her pack-n-play.
There are so many changes that have been made since I was last at the ranch - some good and some bad. They no longer offer horsebacking riding, but they do offer a Chuckwagon Supper and Wagon Ride (unfortunately, there weren't enough people interested in doing this, so we weren't able to go). They also serve an All-You-Can-Eat Pancake breakfast every morning. We took advantage of this quite a bit. I think all of the cabins are new (but I'm not quite sure). And they've added this HUGE playground! Overall, we were massively impressed and very excited to spend our week here.
Right off the entrance to Rafter J Bar Ranch is one of the many trailheads to the George S. Mickelson bike trail. The trail is right in the heart of the Black Hills and is approximately 109 miles long. The trail is relatively flat with no noticeable hills, however, the way back to the Ranch was for the most part a steady incline. Isn't it always harder on the way back? We left right away in the morning, and already the temperature was nearing 90 degrees. Amaya was running a little bit of a fever which made us nervous, so our bike ride wasn't as long as we would have liked. Here's a picture of Steve and Amaya at the beginning of our ride.
We were very excited to see lots of horses, cows, and were even fortunate enough to see a baby deer on our bike ride.
Biking in the middle of the Black Hills was quite an experience for us. Don't get us wrong, Minnesota is a beautiful place and there's no place else we'd rather live, but there's something about the hills that was absolutely breathtaking.