Search for a Wellness Retreat:
This past June after immense pain for 6 mos., I experienced a hip replacement surgery. Thus,
for a large part of 2020 I was immobile. I am a consummate athlete typically working out every
day. So, to get back into a workout routine, I decided to treat myself and get out of Houston to
some sort of spa or place to reinvigorate myself. While surfing the internet, I happened upon
Rancho Cortez (hereafter R.C.) and read about their Fitness programs. This was exactly what I
was looking for…a disciplined approach to getting back on track with exercising routines and
I arrived on a Sunday afternoon and was met by Cheryl, jack of all trades and longtime resident
of R.C. After a warm welcome, Cheryl directed me to my cabin and mentioned dinner was in an
hour…6 PM. I headed up to my warm one-bedroom cabin…delightful and very inviting. Omg
no TV…what was I to do with no Netflix! No worries as I had packed 3 good books.
At 6 PM, I
trekked down the hill bout 50 yards down to dinner… a wonderful hearty meal of tossed salad,
tender brisket, sweet potato’s & brussels sprouts. I found this to be the case each day as
breakfast began with hot strong coffee and choices like eggs, sausage, oatmeal, toast & fruit.
Lunches too were excellent and balanced.
The Dude Ranch:
I was pleasantly joined at times by the R.C. horse
wrangler, Mark and others who educated me about the horses, cattle and other animals on the
ranch…even a 100 lb. pot-bellied pig, Tater who plays the piano. After dinner most of us would
join Mark around a big campfire, looking up at an inky, black sky filled with stars and all except
me munched on S’more’s.
Next morning at breakfast I was met by my first trainer, Karen from Jackson Hole, WY. I had
completed the requisite personal health report for Karen which also incorporated my
aspirations and goals for the week. We trudged up to the gym and began my first of many
workout sessions. I mentioned that I am a consummate athlete so I am well acquainted with
trainers having had many. I am here to tell you; I have never experienced such complete and
enjoyable workouts. My day would typically consist of 3 one-hour classes with short rests in
between. Snacks were provided; with choices of almonds, cuties, grapes etc. The other activity
I chose was hiking. Karen is expert hiker as well as trainer, spending her summers back in WY
giving training classes and hiking trips. I’ll admit I was tentative…remember my hip, and the
terrain is hilly and rocky, so I used hiking poles. Much to my amazement, the first we took was
3 miles and the next day 5 miles.
The Cortez Family:
The following morning at breakfast I met the R.C. owners, Larry & his wife, Mary. These are
lovely people, making it clear they want you to have fun and be at home on their ranch. They
are always available to make your activity choices worthwhile. Larry is a hoot…with many
stories about the ranch and Bandera. Much to my delight, his wife Mary like Karen is also a
More Fitness Workouts:
Both Karen & Mary shared notes and tailored my daily training sessions to emphasize my weak
areas…balance, strength, and posture. Nothing was “herky-jerky” and each time I walked out
the gym, I gained more confidence, strength and delight that I had completed the workouts
without any pain in my hips, lower back or body…all points of suspect before R.C. Yes, they
would correct me during workouts…always gently and encouraging. It’s very evident that they
enjoy teaching and seeing their participant’s progress. They make it fun to boot…I should
mention both have many certifications following their names. Another item I liked was, the
activity suggestions which were many…but the choices always mine…even hiking trails both
were constantly aware of my short-comings but knew I wanted a challenge and would
Bandera “Cowboy Capital of the World”
One day per Karen’s suggestion and since this was my first trip to Bandera, I
met her for lunch and shopping in the town of Bandera. Such fun and a great girlie event and
welcome change from workouts. Another late afternoon Larry and Mark took us to feed the
cattle and little burros and then race around many R.C. acres in one of his fancy ranch
vehicles…such fun and beautiful sunny cool weather.
After a day complete with these activities and good, balanced meals, I was ready to return after
a bonfire to my room read and turn in at about 9 pm. I was relaxed, warm and content that I
had a wonderful productive day and slept like a baby.
I should tell you that when I returned
home, per Karen & Mary’s instruction I set up a small gym in my living room replete with
exercise ball, matt, 3 lb. weights and stretch bands. I took photos of many of the positions and
use them pretty much each day. If you are looking for a wonderful place to relax, work-out, be
catered to and pampered by salt of the earth people…I’ve found it at Rancho Cortez. I am
returning this April and taking two friends…they can’t wait and neither can I.