Some traditions last a lifetime. I might only be in my 20’s, but my best friend and I have already got one. It’s the Flying U Ranch in British Columbia, and I’ve been going there for over half my life. It’s seen me in braces, in love, in college and after. I wrote my thesis on it and dream about it often. I’ve seen it sold, bought, the main lodge burned to the ground and re-built as new. But mostly I’ve enjoyed all those parts of it that remain the same.
John Muir might have said “Going to the mountains is going home”, but for me, going to the Flying U is.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Flying U is that the cabins are tiny. And squeaky. And don’t have restrooms. Their door frames are crooked and a cast iron stove sits in the middle of each, the sole provider of warmth during cool nights when the quilted comforters don’t do the trick. Why so rustic? Because as part of British Columbia’s oldest guest ranch, these cabins were built in the 1920’s. And aside from a few new touch-ups, they remain very much the same.
While we love the authenticity, we also love the brand new dock resting atop peaceful Green Lake.
It’s not just about the cabins. The Flying U Ranch is the last place you can free-ride in North America – meaning you get your horse, and you go. No wrangler, no guide. Just you and your horse and 40,000 acres of wild full of bears and birch trees. Oh, and about 100,000 of the biggest mosquitos you’ve ever laid eyes on. If you get lost, simply spin your horse in a circle, give him a holler, and let him take you home.
Traditions aren’t always easy. Life gets in the way, people grow apart. My best friend and I must be on to something, because this is one trip we’ve already busted our boots to make happen. It’s the memories from these seven days we laugh about all year long, and the countdown to return that have built such an immense part of our lives. So see you in two years, Flying U. It’ll take that long to forget about the bugs, anyway.