April 2009

Waking Up

This wonderful essay was written by guest Katie after returning to school this fall. I thought it was so beautifully written that I wanted to share it with everyone.

Waking Up
As I doze I slowly become aware that I am no longer in Edinburgh, I know this because the quilt under my fingers is soft but unnecessary; warm air washes over me like an ocean. The tangy scent of wood surrounds me, a prominent smells of horse also wafts through the room. I can hear horses as well, nickering softly in the distance. Grasses sigh and a bird begins to sing. The melody of bird, horse and forest fully awaken me.

I open my eyes and take in my surroundings. The soft quilt I feel is large and old, hanging off the side of the wooden double bed. I roll over and see a large window letting soft sunlight filter through as there are no curtains to obstruct the light. The window is triangular and its frame is made of wood; I notice that wood is a main material in this room, as if every piece of furniture is made from the nearby forest that I can see through the window.

This room is large and has a sloping roof; I bend over as to not bang my head as I get up to inspect the window and what lies beyond more thoroughly. What I see is a sight that stirs excitement and happiness within me, Vista Verde Ranch sprawls out beneath my window. I see a large aspen forest to my left in which deer roam freely, not fearful of hunters or bears. To my right is a large field of glistening horses munching on the rich, green grass that sprouts beneath their feet. A bubbling stream runs alongside the house, a fairytale-style bridge crosses it and a path continues down to a huge, homely, wooden lodge that has too many windows for me to count.

I turn back towards my room, the sun sends hot rays on to my back but cool, blue air makes the temperature perfect for shorts and T-shirts. Other members of my family begin to wake up; my mum and dad stir downstairs in the master bedroom. A quiet giggle comes from the room next to mine; separated by a wooden partition, my brother and sister must already be awake. They are excited as I am for the day ahead.
I notice the cowboy boots on the floor and an old pair of jeans resting on an ancient chair. Memories come flooding back as I remember days of riding and making loads of new friends, I remember a birthday I spent here and evenings spent in the Jacuzzi outside. I grow more and more excited with every memory. I dress quickly, pulling on the old jeans and a shirt that will protect my skin from the burning sun that is now rising above the valley. Just before I pull on some socks I notice the soft and luxuriously deep carpet that covers the floor, it tickles my toes and pampers my feet. I notice the high quality of it; little luxuries like this cover the house and make my stay even better.

I know that today will be filled to the brim with horse riding, mountain biking, hiking, excellent food and crazy friends; today I could go to a horse clinic to bond with my horse or herd cattle, just like a cowboy, I could cycle to the ice cream parlour or go for an all day ride, there are endless possibilities! But that’s just the beauty of this place, everyday is a new adventure.

Name: Katie from Edinburgh

Moose Encounter

Just imagine that you are this guy who owns a really cool ranch in Colorado. You’ve come out to visit for the weekend and are enjoying a beautiful spring morning outside on the deck with your dogs. As you brush these beautiful white dogs, who on this day have decided to stay close by and not run away like they always do, you hear some noise coming from around the corner of the garage. Before your eyes appears a large bull moose. Your beautiful white dogs, who are not always the most intelligent animals, decide that now is the time to show the world that they are in charge. The take off with their powerful barks and begin to chase this enormous bull moose. Did we mention his enormous racks that could squash a small child? Before you even get a chance to put down your cup of coffee, the dogs are off, chasing the moose down the driveway. You watch in amazement until the moose stops, turns around, and decides that he no longer wants to play this game. Now the beautiful white dogs are stumped on what to do next. They figure it out pretty quickly as they are charged by the moose. Next thing you know, the dogs are hightailing it back up your driveway, headed right towards you and the door. The moose is not far behind. As he approaches the front door, he stops and gives one final head butt in the direction of your beautiful white dogs. Then, with the air of victory, he casually turns around and heads back down the driveway. With a courtesy look left and then look right, he crosses the road and heads toward the river.

And with that you think to yourself, wow, this ranch life is pretty exciting!

As far as we know, the moose carried on with his day, possibly with a slight spring in his step. The dogs have not run off in the past two days and seem to be quite content to just bark at coyotes from the safety of the deck.

Thank you notes

Thank you Chris for this touching note. He also took some amazing shots of the horses running in one morning.

Good afternoon from hot and humid South Florida! I really wanted to reach out to you and your staff to express my heartfelt thanks for our vacation of a lifetime! After 14 years of working in police work, I have never experienced a family vacation close to our Vista Verde Ranch visit. I truly hope that my family’s sincerity in our expressions and words communicated our feelings about our stay. The week brought our family closer, and also allowed me to be reminded of the important things in life; family and friends.

Trisha and I honestly felt a connection with you and your staff, which we will cherish for a very long time. Our children have slept with the pictures of their assigned horses nightly, and can’t seem to allow themselves to move on! I am having as much of a problem settling back into my “real life” as the rest of the family. Heading to a baseball tournament tonight and basketball games this weekend! Back to the craziness!
We hope that our family has the opportunity to travel back to Vista Verde next summer and seasons to follow. I will send a link to some photographs that we took of the staff and our family. The pictures really don’t depict the amount of joy the people of Vista Verde Ranch passed along to our family, but I hope they are a small window into the wonderful week we enjoyed. Feel free to pass the link onto anyone on your staff, as they can download them for their enjoyment.

Thank you once again for enriching our lives, and we hope to foster further relationships with you all in the future! If you or any of the staff wish to keep in touch or want to drop us a line, my contact information is below. Take care and please don’t change a thing!!!!!!

Name: Chris
City: Davis
State: Florida

Where’s the Door?

I drove into the ranch this morning and couldn’t find the front door. Yes, you read that right. The front door isn’t there anymore. In the midst of all our upgrades and additions, what used to be the front entry is now part of the expanded kitchen and dishroom area. The new main entrance will take guests into the Great room, past the Front desk. From there, you will walk down the rock hallway into the dining room. If you’re confused at this point, don’t worry. So was I as I tried to find a way into my office! You’ll just have to come out when it’s done and see it for yourself. Although we’re definitely in the heart of the mess of construction, it is REALLY exciting to see it all coming together. Hopefully you’ll get a chance to see it for yourself, rather than just on my posts!

Spring Fever

Stubborn yet glorious fifty degree weather.  Muddy pathways.  A lively gushing river.  And horse manure land mines defrosting all over the winter pasture… smells like Spring is in the air – that's the best at a dude ranch in Colorado! 

…And a great hush fell over the crowd as the last of the our dude ranch guests said their goodbyes and waved us into our off season.   Another successful winter!   A sense of accomplishment stirred in our spirits as we immediately launched into spring cleaning mode, giving a spotless shine to the kitchen, dining room, lodge, and all the cabins.   This was followed by a surge of spring fever that gave way to a delightful bike ride down to the river. 

Practically overnight, the Nordic center, which has been a hub for cross country ski vacations all winter,  has transitioned from a Skiers Paradise to a Biking Utopia.  Walls lined with mountain bikes add a fresh new feel to the place and enhance the expectation that any day now we will all be able to see what is hidden underneath the snow… perhaps a lake, a stone pathway, a road less traveled by, or a personal item that fell out of someone’s pocket only to get dogpiled by pounds and pounds of winter resort snow. 

Though, whatever the melting snow uncovers, I will be thrilled to see any color other than white!   Snow is fun but when the weather is this nice my North Carolina roots cause me to ache for the blossoming pink & white cherry blossoms that splash the East Coast this time of year!   Though I know better then to expect mud season to produce such delicate blossoms this early on when history proves we may still have a snow fall yet to come. 

But no matter,  l am bubbling over with excitement at the thought of biking down our driveway to the rushing river at the fork in the road, and seeing wildlife trickling in from who know where they’ve been hiding all winter!   And once again my gleeful grin returns at the thought less work and more play–my very own ranch holiday!