My Black Butte story started 44 years ago in 1976 when I visited the ranch for the first time. I was only ten years old, but I knew it was special. My family started our annual summer vacation in 1979 and spent the next few decades visiting every August. We loaded the big green station wagon (see photo) with bikes, clubs, coolers, and the dog for week of recreation and relaxation in the sun.
My folks were part of the original target group in Portland to receive the marketing postcards stating ‘There is a place’. Although my dad fell in love with the ranch, it seemed expensive to buy a lot at the time (we laugh about that now). In 2016 my wife, Mary, and I finally became homeowners during my 40th year visiting the ranch. It’s very satisfying to see our teenage kids enjoying all the things I love about this place and it takes me back to my youth.
I have an explosion of memories when I drive into the ranch from those pine scent summers so long ago. I still have a few of the brass tokens (see photo) that allowed the station wagon through the gates on Hawksbeard. My dad insisted that we get a few tokens every day at the lodge to ensure we did not get ‘stuck at the darn gate’.
I remember spending almost as much time at the Rec Barn as I did on the golf course. Playing pool for a dollar while they blasted 70’s rock from the old stereo in the corner. Playing basketball, ping pong, video games, and eating a lot of bad pizza. We would end up back at the lodge pool for a few more flips off the diving board or a swim across the lake. We always signed into the pools as a golf pro (I was Fuzzy Zoeller).
One of my favorite memories was ice blocking at night on the 14th tee on Big Meadow. We purchased the ice blocks in Sisters and would place a golf towel on top of each block (for comfort of course). We would wait until dark and then slide down the steep tee boxes into the fairway. When the sprinklers came on, we would sneak into Paulina Pool for a quick night swim. Those were good times!
I enjoy the ranch as much as I did when I was a kid. It still looks and feels like it did decades ago. It’s more than the scenic beauty and recreation….it’s heaven on earth. We are so thankful to be a part of it and look forward to living at the ranch full time.