A Day at The Bar U Ranch
Posted July 24, 2013on:
I spent a day with a good friend at the Bar U Ranch outside of Calgary during my recent visit to Alberta. This now National Historic site was one of the first large corporate ranches in Canada and has been well-preserved. Nestled in the foothills with Pekisko Creek running through it and the Rocky Mountains in the background; time stands still here.
The Bar U brand
The Bar U Ranch is home to the famous Percheron draft horse. We were lucky to go for a horse drawn wagon ride with Smudge & Licorice and driver Ross, who shared interesting stories about the ranch.
A visit to the Post Office was well worth it. There we met Post Mistress Sherrine who provided us with much information. Apparently some interesting individuals have visited the ranch over the years including Edward, Prince of Wales and The Sundance Kid!
Next stop was the Cookhouse which doubled as a bunkhouse upstairs. The cook was busy making cookies, which she offered to us as they came fresh out of the oven. Yummy.
The pantry was well stocked including fresh produce from the well kept garden.
The dining room with two large lazy susans to feed the hungry ranch hands
The ranch hand’s sleeping quarters.
The cowboys read books to entertain themselves. No TV at that time.
We stopped at the Roundup Camp chuckwagon where we were served a cup of tea made over the campfire, by Shane, a friendly ranch hand. We enjoyed our tea and had a great chat around the fire just like they did in the old days of the cattle drives.
We were also shown around the barns by Cowgirl Francis who tried to teach us how to rope a calf. I failed miserably.
Everyone we met at the ranch was incredibly friendly. From the moment we entered we were greeted warmly at reception, by the girls at the lunch counter and by the gift store manager. I learned something from everyone we met. It was well worth the time spent and I highly recommend a visit if you are ever in the area. It is a realistic look into ranch life 100 years ago.
The log cabin, built in 1919, housed the foreman and his family
There is always something happening at the ranch. Cook-offs, rodeos, trail rides, and chore horse competitions. You can watch a saddle maker at his craft or a blacksmith at work, sit around the campfire by Pekisko Creek and learn about the people, cattle and horses that occupied the ranch over the years or pretend to be a cowboy or cowgirl for a day.
I do believe Amanda Ross will be visiting this ranch in her next adventure, Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone.