If you ever thought you wanted to own a ranch, but don’t want to work 24/7 to keep it going in rugged outback country, then Indian Creek Ranch is where you want to be. My pulse quickened at the sight of velvet green slopes plunging down to Indian Creek making its merry way to the Salmon River in Idaho. The sweet fragrance of mock orange blooming in white profusion was my first greeting. Next, I encountered the friendly faces of Jerry and Terry Meyers, both former river guides, whose only desire is to make your stay at the ranch a special one.
Following the lead of early homesteaders along the river, the Meyers have created a self-sufficient, secluded hideaway where the fetters of the modern world melt away. Luxurious log cabins with hand-hewn beams, wood planks and romantic rock fireplaces are scattered about well-tended grounds. A maximum of twelve guests gather in the cozy lodge for meals. Over filet mignon capped with Portobello mushrooms in béarnaise sauce, we discussed the plan for the next day.
Personalized service, and flexibility in schedule make Indian Creek a cut above the average guest ranch experience. Choices include a full day horseback ride into the mountains with grand vistas of the continental divide, a float down a lazy stretch of the Salmon, a hike up a trail through a shady draw to Ulysses Gold Mine, a stroll on a well-marked nature trail, or a day trip to the new Sacajawea Cultural Center and Lemhi Pass where Lewis and Clark gasped at the sight of the Idaho batholith, a series of mighty peaks staggered to eternity.
Jerry accompanied me on the trail to the mine shaded by willow, cottonwood and Ponderosa pine. Along the way he pointed out the many types of berries and plants used by the Indians, early settlers, and Lewis and Clark to survive. He loves to share the secrets of flora, fauna and the history of the canyon with guests. During 1895-1920 as many as a thousand people lived on Indian Creek, and the lodge at the ranch was a watering hole for the miners. Soon we came to the remnants of the abandoned mine where we enjoyed a picnic lunch among the wooden structures shrouded in wildflowers and vines.
That night, after a stew in the wood-fired hot tub under a velvet sky spiked with diamonds, I snuggled under my down comforter, glad that I had no idea what was going on in the rest of the world.