Wow, the season for dude ranch vacations is creeping right up on us – time to think about preparing for the ranch experience. Most people think of Oregon as being wet and rainy, and the part between the Cascade Mountains and the Oregon coast is that way. That includes the major cities of Portland, Salem and Eugene. But once you cross the Cascades to the central and eastern part of the state you see a completely different world. Here the air is usually dry, precipitation is sometimes scarce, and the landscape has a more desert-like look. Not that it is empty and drab; not at all. However we do not have the lush greenery, tall evergreens and flowers of the west side. Our scenery is more subtle with calmer colors in the flora, but our skies are a gorgeous blue with fantastic sunrises and sunsets. There are rivers and lakes, forests and farm fields, and of course the beautiful mountains.

All this to say that we don’t always dress like the folks in the cities of the rainier side of the mountains, so we thought we should pass along a few tips that might be useful as you are packing your bags for your dude ranch vacation experience.

Since even our summer weather can have cool mornings and evenings, you should have a jacket, sweatshirt or warm vest. Because the sun gets hot during the day, you need a baseball cap or cowboy hat, sunglasses, suntan lotion, sunscreen, a long-sleeved shirt and chapstick. Horseback riders need proper boots – smooth-soled and with a definite heel. Hiking boots are inappropriate for riding but you may want to hike some of our many trails, in which case you should bring them anyway. By the way, we have a collection of loaner boots for riding. You don’t need to buy a pair just for your time on horseback. Jeans are recommended for riding as well as leather gloves, and socks for the boots.

Since afternoons are warm, you may want shorts and light shirts too, for hiking or sightseeing. Central Oregon is a casual, comfortable environment so you will not need dress-up outfits. Jeans, boots and plaid shirts are acceptable anywhere.

Hopefully this will help you choose the items for your travel bag. We look forward to welcoming you to Sisters Country in sunny Central Oregon.