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Pride Month Profiles: Paca Pride Guest Ranch

​Visit for the day or stay for several, learn about permaculture, and meet the alpacas.

As I stopped at the front gate at Paca Pride Guest Ranch to take a photo, a car coming out stopped and the driver asked if I was thinking about staying there. She said she and her kids had an amazing time and that I definitely should. Several chickens made way for my car as I pulled in and walked up to the main building where I found a cozy lounge and gift shop. Owner David Capocci explained that in 2004, he and his husband Glenn Budlow were already fans of the region, keeping a yurt six months each year at the Triangle Recreation Camp 14 miles further up the Mountain Loop Highway.

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Clockwise from left: David Capocci, co-owner Tim Leingang, Glenn Budlow, Kobe, and Titus

Finding themselves at a crossroads, they decided it was a perfect time to leave the corporate world and Capitol Hill in Seattle behind. "We needed to get out of our blue bubble and come out to these red mountains and manifest the change we wanted to see in the world through hospitality and becoming the proverbial innkeeper." They envisioned a base camp where people could camp and hike, realizing most people do one or the other because they don't want to leave their belongings unattended. 

Their 17 acres are absolutely beautiful, but in order to compete with other destinations along the river, Capocci and Budlow joined the exploding agrotourism and locavore movements by establishing a family farm. "Everything here is very transparent," Capocci explained. "We tie everybody into that and show folks how those natural concepts occur. We put Mother Nature in the driver's seat and nudge her at the edges, keeping things in balance. We use chickens and alpacas to bring abundance to the mountain meadow ecology."

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The guest yurt is close to the main building but far enough that its little spot in the trees with chairs and a hammock is a perfect place to relax. The proximity just means you're not far from the guest restroom with hot water and a real shower. Future plans include additional yurts plus hot tubs and a barrel steam sauna, but for now there's also a deluxe guest room with a private bath in the main building, and lots of room for camping. You can pitch a tent on the grass or one of their covered tent platforms.

Need to cook? A covered outdoor kitchen is available, too. If you're bringing a big group together once it's safe to do so, the larger Roundhouse Yurt is available for games, slumber parties, or even yoga and meditation. For now Paca Pride is truly a place to disconnect, with no cell service at all. Need to check in with the outside world? Wifi is available throughout the campground and ranch.

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Paca Pride is located on the Mountain Loop Highway and offers easy access to beautiful hikes and daytrips.

By now you've likely stayed at a lot of hotels and vacation rentals that were mostly just a comfortable place to be, but Paca Pride is a place to do. Even if you don't want to hike, kayak, or explore, a day on this well-run farm is fascinating and fun. The friendly alpacas are rescues, all males who were deemed unsuitable as breeding stock, but they and the chickens play an important role in the "land first" farm operations.

Interested in seeing it for yourself? You don't have to schedule a stay. Paca Pride is open 10am-5pm every day and the gift shop alone is worth the visit. Grab some high-quality alpaca socks, hats, and blankets plus some fresh eggs and local honey. 

Even if you never pictured yourself staying on a farm, you'll want to by the time you leave.

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