One day I woke up and decided I don’t really wanna work at the hostel anymore. So I did something about it. Over the last couple weeks I had been getting out and traveling. I did a weekend trip with Sarah to southern Utah and visited our good friend Maria. She showed us around Bryce Canyon and Zion Canyon which was amazing! In Bryce canyon we hiked down in between all those narrow majestic pillars and explored the bottom of the canyon a bit before making the trek back up. We even met a little friend at the bottom! Yes we know were not suppose to feed them! But you should have seen their faces! The day we went to Zion it happened to be raining so we decide just to do a drive though which was quite alright with Sarah and I since we had a long day the day before. Zion was quite beautiful and breath taking! I would definitely like to go back someday and explore it more.
On the way to Utah we passed several ranches and I kept seeing horses, we even pulled off the road to pet some. It just made me remember how much I miss being around horses and riding and being out in nature in general. So as soon as we got back I got on craigslist and put in ad under the Farm and Garden section about how I wanted to do some sort of work exchange i.e. I would watch over someones property in exchange for me just camping out there. I figured there had to be plenty of people from Phoenix who had property up in Flagstaff that just couldn’t take care of it all the time. I also mentioned that had plenty of experience taking care of animals and had experience horse training. I posted that at 10pm and by the time I woke up at 8:30am I had received a couple of responses. But when I opened up the first email I knew it was the one and all of this was meant to be. It read:
Jessica I have a place about five miles west of town off Naval Observatory Road. I have some young horses that need work. I would like to talk to you. My place is in the woods and is a great place to hike or ride from. It is called Soggybottom Ranch. I need a real horse person out here and would work with space trade and some cash for help. I have appaloosas.They are a pretty gentle line ,but range raised. I have a couple here in Flag that need finishing and more exercise then they are getting. I also need to bring some up from our ranch down south to resell,and at least one mare I want to keep. I just finished a little studio apartment by the house that is way cute I would look at some barter on, or camping would also be an option.
It was way more then what I had asked for and it turned out to be amazing. I came out to the ranch a couple days later and official met her and then within a couple weeks I was all moved into the ranch! Now I work here full time and work off my rent while getting paid for any additional work hours I do beyond my $350/ month rent.
The ranch is situated on 20 acres of beautiful land with probably the best view in town of the San Francisco Peaks. Also the land surrounding the ranch is all Forest Service land and we can ride or hike all the way to Sedona from here! One side of the property, however is bordered by the Navel Depo which is really interesting. Sometimes we hear guns going off and see fighter helicopters flying over but usually they are pretty peaceful (at least by our side).
Through this experience I’ve learned to be honest with myself and what I want and don’t want in my life. I had a really clear picture of what I felt I needed and wanted and what I didn’t and I just asked for it. I would like to thank Craigslist for being such an amazing website/tool to use (even though there are sketch things that happen on there too). I hope that whoever reads this gets the courage to be honest with themselves too.