The Strenuous Life Retreat

with Ed Roberson

reserve your spot

Zapata Ranch

September 18 – 23, 2022

Join conservationist, podcaster, and writer Ed Roberson for five days of adventure and education inspired by Theodore Roosevelt’s well-known commitment to living “the Strenuous Life.”

“I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph.”– Theodore Roosevelt 

The Program

The retreat will focus on activities and topics that were of great importance to President Teddy Roosevelt more than a century ago and are now the foundation of Ed’s personal and professional lives today–vigorous outdoor adventure, large-landscape conservation, charismatic megafauna, land stewardship through ranching, voracious reading, and the history of the American West.

Each day will begin with optional predawn exercise, in which guests can kick-start their day with intention and energy, while enjoying sunrises over the stunning Sangre de Cristo mountains. After fueling up with breakfast, the group will head out for a day of physically and mentally engaging activities, including:

Hiking nearby 13,000-foot mountains

Horseback riding in Great Sand Dunes National Park

An afternoon discussion on topics including landscape scale conservation, ranching, and wildlife facilitated by Ranchlands and The Nature Conservancy.

Conversations on several impactful books that will be recommended as pre-reading

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More about the Week:

Evenings will be devoted to hearty meals, substantive conversation, and well-deserved downtime to allow guests to re-energize for the next day’s adventure. One evening, Ed will record a live podcast with a soon-to-be-named special guest, which will include Q&A from retreat participants and be released as a Mountain & Prairie episode after the retreat.

A devotion to the Strenuous Life does not require elite physical fitness or PhD-level intellect. The Strenuous Life is a state of mind–a desire to live life fully and to approach each day with all-out energy, curiosity, and optimism. While moderate physical conditioning is important, this retreat is open to anyone who wants to make the most of five days in Zapata’s striking western landscape.


$3150 and include all activities, instruction, and meals. Tax and gratuity not included.

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Zapata Ranch

Set back in a shady cotton woodgrove beneath the majestic 14,000-foot peaks of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains lies the historic Zapata Ranch headquarters and lodge, which was established in the late 1800’s. Elk, mule deer, migratory birds, eagles, and black bear also call this area home. The rooms are beautifully furnished and have an elegant southwestern decor that gives them the feel of home. All rooms have individual tiled bathrooms and views that are private, peaceful, and beautiful in any season.

learn more about Zapata


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