May Family Ranch
It is a compound, a fortress, and a manor sandwiched by mountains. 28 miles from Stanley and Challis, the May Family Ranch is a jigsaw puzzle of lodging and recreation.
Just a short bumpy drive down Squaw Creek Road, the May Family Ranch sits next to the Salmon and in the lap of the mountain ranges. The Family Ranch is run and up kept by Mother and Father May and their grown children. Overall clad Father May is the dreamer and project master around these parts while Mother May runs the show. With the gumption of a Steinbeck character, Mother May is a force of a woman. And for me, she was my guide for the extensive Ranch property.
The Ranch offers lodging as a Bed and Breakfast, Sportsman retreat, RV Park & Family Reunion site. Each option has its own perk. Bed and Breakfast guests feast on Mother May’s sumptuous buttermilk pancakes and home-made syrup. Sportsmen have access to the garage-sized freezer for game storage. RV-ers are just a step away from fresh cut grass between their toes. But is the Family Reunion facility that takes the cake. Family Reunions have free range of the ranch.
The Grand Tour
As Mother May and I took the Reunion property by foot, I noticed that it seemed made for make-believe adventures. The dispersed wooden cabins, pasture-like lawn and hidden walkways evoke the pioneer spirit of an old west town. All that was missing were a few imaginary horses to gallop around on. Wandering past the timbered bell, used to summon the troops for dinner time, we passed the slender bunkhouse. Sleeping up to 26, the bunkhouse is ideal for giggle filled sleepovers that keep cousins up half the night. Beyond the bunkhouse is what I what I would call the Long House. The bottom story of the Long House is comprised by the bathhouse, living room, kitchen and recreation room. The recreation room is bordered by retro couches, decorated with western sensibilities and topped off with an organ perfect for Sunday service. Upstairs is a hallway that opens to a collection of queen rooms decorated with rugged views seen through quaint windows.
Circling around the Long House we laced through the tire and rope swings, pausing to stare down the canyon valley’s overlapping mountain landscape. On my left were three family sized cabins, that sleep eight. Out before my Sacajawea guide and I was the field. And when I say field, I mean Olympic-sized made-for-fun endless lawn. A volleyball court, mini-log cabin and 200 foot water slide spread across the immense backyard. Situated beside the old barn wall fence is a tractor tire horse shoe pit. Beneath the high craggy peaks, guests can lie out blankets and sink into the May’s wheatgrass-green lawn. The vast greenery inspires drawn out afternoons of freeze-tag and cat naps. When the Idaho summer sun finally sets , families and friends can gather around any of the three fire pits. Between the notes of favorite songs and sugary s’more bites, a deep warmth sinks into every heart, as the tiers of generations surround one another.
After bidding Audie to Mother May, I saddled up in my car. Driving back down the dirt road, I recalled the legends, histories and beaming memories belonging to my own brood. And I looked forward to my return to Squaw Creek Road someday soon. - Kailynn Sawtooth Sojourner