Ziplines and rock climbing at Don Strange Ranch near Boerne, TX

If you like to challenge your body a bit, head to the Don Strange Ranch in central Texas. Located at the tiny town of Waring near Boerne, the ranch provides a conglomerate of activities for individuals or groups. Team building, adventure challenge course, kayaking, rock climbing, and zip lining are some of the choices for corporate fun days, birthday parties, and private events. Located just 45 minutes from downtown San Antonio, it’s about a two-hour drive from Austin (some of the roads are two-lane, curvy, and dusty).

Culinary legend Don Strange purchased 125 acres, which is still a working longhorn ranch in the Texas Hill Country, in 1982. It became a base from which to grow his award-winning catering business with weddings, receptions, and corporate meetings making use of a hall that holds 600 people. Although Strange passed away in 2009, his ranch and store provide a market place for food products and cookbooks that bear his name.

Don Strange Ranch, Boerne,TexasUpcoming event

The Amazing Race promises plenty of things to do for good, clean family  fun on Saturday, November 12, 2011, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The event includes a scavenger hunt, trivia contest, cow pie toss, game show, and more with cash prizes awarded to winners. Live music, horseshoes, volleyball, and
other games will entertain participants and onlookers.

Climbing adventure

Our group of five boomer-aged adults recently spent a couple of hours enjoying the climbing tower and zipline—followed by a yummy hamburger lunch at the old-fashioned Waring General Store., part of the Strange holdings.

We arrived at the ranch on a cool, breezy morning and were led to the climbing apparatus, more like a 50-foot tall triangular structure with an assortment of poles, rope ladders, platforms, and wires.  Cort and Ivo accompanied us to provide safety gear, instruction, and support. Most important, they held the belay ropes attached to each person’s harness to prevent anyone from falling.

Having tackled rock climbing walls before, my husband Larry and I went first, each on a different course.  I climbed the pole, which was outfitted with rock-like protrusions for feet and hands to hold onto, landing on a small triangular platform—great spot to take a breather. But I was soon out climbing the pole again in order to reach the top, hoist myself onto the platform, and ring the bell.

Larry’s path started with a wooden ladder, moved to a short climb on the pole, and finished with a rope ladder to the top platform. At the top we posed for pictures before swinging out and back down to the ground—a smooth finale to the climb.

Don Strange Ranch, Boerne, TexasZiplining, too

Next we tackled the zipline. A rope ladder led to us to the launch platform. With two cables, we could zip in pairs to the end of the line. Since there wasn’t a landing platform, we didn’t have to brake ourselves. We just zipped along and then boomeranged back towards the middle, finally stopping
so we could climb down on a ladder.

After the first zip, we got brave the next time and pulled out a few tricks—waving arms and legs, leaning backwards, even hanging upside down. Expect plenty of thrills for all ages.  Lunch at the Waring General Store, accompanied by two humongous resident dogs, provided a fine ending to our outdoor adventure.

Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier

Read more of Beverly’s travel stories at Going on Adventures and Austin Adventure Travel

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