Last week I wrote about the Running Y Ranch Resort my husband and I visited for a quick midsummer getaway, detailing all the amenities and activities the area offers. We didn’t avail ourselves of everything the resort features, but we did manage to do more than just loaf around (which certainly was appealing) and soak up the sun, peace and quiet.
I’ve never been a golfer, and it’s been years since Harry played, but we were eager to experience the Running Y’s 18-hole mini golf course, adjacent to the Arnold Palmer-designed 18-hole course and the rustic clubhouse. It borders reclaimed marshland and provides plenty of challenges. Miniature bunkers were the least of them: We faced some rollercoaster-like “fairways,” tricky pitches on the greens, sharp bends and narrow spots edged by deep rough that swallowed balls very effectively. We played the course twice during our stay, and I am happy to report that while both my scores were pretty abysmal and Harry won both times, I improved by 10 strokes in my second game and found my putting improved with practice. Most importantly, we just had a good time, enjoying the little touches to the course, like the tee markers (boasting the “Running Y” brand), and the variety of birds that observed our play.
Another morning we headed out on foot to circle the back nine of the course on the paved paths which wend their way throughout the property. The walk became a four-mile trek that took us up and down hills, through pine forests and over sage-covered hillsides. We enjoyed checking out the beautiful homes along our route as well as the fairways and greens along the way. Some spread along ponds and between the sage while others were tucked between towering pines, each providing unique challenges to the golfers on the course. We also spotted plenty of the local wildlife, from squirrels and chipmunks to deer, red-tail hawks and turkey vultures. Looping back to our condo, we rewarded ourselves with some cool drinks on our balcony as we watched players on the course below us.
Early one morning I took advantage of a free guided hike along an undeveloped part of the resort property, the Panhandle, a peninsula which juts out into Klamath Lake.
I parked near the stables which offer horseback rides along trails on the Panhandle, where I was told I would meet my guide. As it turned out, I was the only guest to show up for the hike that day, which made for a delightful walk with the woman who manages all of the fitness center activities at the resort. She told me these one-hour walks are the best part of her day, and she proceeded to provide me with some history of the property, dating back to the Native American inhabitants (the Panhandle was the focal point of important hunting and fishing grounds) through the present day. She shared tidbits and impressions of the creatures that make their homes here or pass through on migrations, trumpeter swans and Western grebes and their impressive mating dances, in particular.
Our trek took us down along the lake to observe the waterfowl there and along a path through the trees that cover much of the Panhandle. There we saw a packrat home (a mound of sticks and forest floor debris at least 18 inches high!) and a badger burrow, as well as a few deer (they are everywhere around here!). She regaled me with stories of the resident mama cougar, who occasionally leaves the remains of one of her kills (part of a deer leg, for instance) on one of the fairways or greens (a whole different kind of hazard!). Both of us being avid gardeners, she also pointed out various plants and wildflowers, and I returned to my car feeling as though the hour had flown by.
Even after two visits to Running Y, I feel like we’ve barely scratched the surface of all that we could do there. Happily for us, it’s a mere 90 minutes or so from our home, ensuring we’ll be back for more.
— Patty Vanikiotis, associate editor/copy editor
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