The community at Wilderness Trails Ranch is truly a rich one – with chefs, artists, a massage therapist, dogs, melodic birds – the list could go on. Of course, most visitors to our ranch are eager to meet our horses and wranglers, and they are a lovely crew. To this aim, each week from now until the end of July six horses and one wrangler will be featured here on our blog.
Rick and Red, our gentle giants, are Belgian Draft Horses. They have been with The Ranch for ten years and team up to provide our weekly hayrides. Being in their presence inspires awe, and the opportunity to benefit from their considerable strength and grace during the hayride is a highlight for many. They are also our resident stars as they have been featured in several movies.
Ember was born on The Ranch in 2002, the year of the fire – hence his name. Ember, a Morgan Quarter Horse, is super gentle and playful - ideal for beginning riders to help them build confidence and develop a deeper sense of joy while riding.
Tigger is a favorite among guests because he is highly responsive. He is a perfect fit for people with riding experience. Tigger was born on The Ranch and was Lance Robert’s private horse for many years. The evidence of his loving training is evident to those who ride him. He is a Quarter Appaloosa Horse and has half-brothers who also live with us here at The Ranch.
Lenita, a Paint Mare, requires a confident rider. For those looking to build a relationship that requires more attention, Lenita provides a more complex riding experience. She is appreciated by our wranglers because she calmly walks to and waits in her stall each morning. Lenita was born here at The Ranch and is known for her lasting love for Sideburns, another one of our horses.
Willa’s eyes will tell you how kind she is, and, indeed, this Percheron Quarter Horse mix is a favorite. She is highly responsive and enjoyed both by beginning riders looking to build confidence and experienced riders who want to enjoy a week of ease. Her strawberry-roan coloring is unique, and those that ride her may find themselves enchanted.
“I don’t remember learning to ride” smiles Kathryn Forynski as she watches the horses graze. An unsurprising comment considering that Kathryn’s mother first took her up into the saddle when she was only four-days old. Kathryn grew up riding Arabians in Bedfordshire, England where she was also an event rider in cross country, jumping, and dressage. She will tell you about it – with her customary reserved sweetness – if you ask. Kathryn has been with The Ranch since 2008, and she greatly enjoys the relaxed approach of Western riders. She respects the gentle power of horses, and the feeling of oneness that often arises while riding ties her heart to them even further. Part of what keeps Kathryn coming back is the trail riding; “There’s always something new to notice” she says. And she’s keeping her eyes open for elk shed because she wants a pair of antlers to paint pink and hang on her wall.
Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall our mountains bring back a sense of child like wonder!
Mountains were John Muir’s inspiration, religion, and heart’s home. The naturalist, author, and early wilderness advocate relished the mountains while he was in them, and pined for them when he wasn’t. Boy, can we relate.
The reasons people are drawn to mountains are as diverse as individual ranges themselves. The sight of mountains awe us, they are full of close-up surprises when we explore them on foot, they are a sanctuary to wildlife, and in them we can experience both peaceful quiet and stirring drama.
Vallecito Lake sitting under the back drop of the Weminuche Wilderness...
and the back yard to Wilderness Trails Ranch!
If the Mountains are calling you join us at the ranch in 2012! For our local friends, who want to visit "our Winter Wonderland" and join the special holiday celebration, please consider joining us this weekend!
*There is nothing quite like Christmas in the mountains and there is definitely nothing quite as spectacular as "Christmas in Vallecito"! The majestic snow draped mountains peeking over our beautiful valley and lake, miles of trails glistening like crystals in the endless rocky mountain sunshine and of course the sounds of the season - from sleigh bells to children's laughter - a winter paradise awaits and we want to share it with you!
Please join us for a weekend of events here in the valley beginning Friday evening, December 16th and ending Sunday evening, December 18th, 2011. For more information on these events, simply comment on this event page and we will answer promptly.
LISTING OF EVENTS - December 16, 17 & 18, 2011
Festival of Trees Tour – 6:00pm to 9:00pm (See 4 local homes open to tour offering refreshments and raffle for seasonal gift basket). Benefiting the Vallecito Service League Community Assistance and Project Merry Christmas. Bring a canned food item for the local food bank. Maps for homes and tickets ($10.00/per person, kids free) sold at local stores and Vallecito Service League
* Community Pancake Breakfast - 8:00am to 11:00am (Event Center)
* Up North Salon Open House – 9:00am to 3:00pm
* Dog Sled Rides - 11:00am to 1:00pm
* Kids Christmas Party and Photos with Santa and Mrs. Clause
2:00pm to 4:00pm (Blue Spruce RV Park Lodge)
* The Polar Express Movie – 5:30pm to 7:00pm (Polished Salon)
* Home lighting Contest – Judging will take place on Saturday Evening
* Poker Run – 5:00pm to 7:00pm (Starting point and registration at the Schank House) Bring a canned food item for the local food bank
* Kirk James Blues Band – 7:00pm to 11:00pm (Schank House)
* Ugly Sweater Contest – Judging at 9:00pm (Schank House)
* Photo Booth – 7:00pm to 11:00pm (Schank House)
* Christmas Comes Alive! – 6:00pm to 8:00pm (Vallecito Church)
a living nativity
* Sunday Brunch – 8:00am to 1:00pm (Schank House)
* Sleigh Rides – 1:00pm to 3:00pm (Behind the Schank House)
* Christmas Carroling – 1:00pm to 3:00pm (In front of Schank House)
* Kids Rides on the Holiday Express Train – 1:00pm to 3:00pm
Ongoing - Both Saturday and Sunday:
* The Giving Tree – Tuesday November 29th through Tuesday December 20th (The Vallecito Country Market) Pick a tag off the tree for a child or family in need to make their Christmas a special one
* The Cookie Shack – 8:00am to 4:00pm (Sat), 10:00am to 2:00pm (Sunday) (The Rocky Mountain General Store)
* Craft Fair – Crafters Welcome!
* Ice Sculpting Contest – 10:00am to 4:00pm
(Behind Schank House) Judging at 4:00pm Saturday and Sunday
* Ice Skating – 10:00am to 4:00pm Saturday and Sunday
(Behind the Schank House, no hockey sticks please)
* The Nordic Center Cross Country Ski and Snowshoeing – 10:00am to 2:00pm Cookies and hot chocolate at Madden Corner (where the homes are located, just over the dam about 2 miles ahead
* The Forest Service Xmas Tree Cutting Permits for Middle Mountain - Rocky Mountain General Store
* Campfire, Smores and Hot Chocolate – 1:00pm to 3:00pm
(Behind Schank House)
It snowed - but didn't stick. Now we have gorgeous sunshine throughout the days with cold nights! We await the first big snowstorm of the year, but not too soon we still have a lot to do, to get ready for winter!
Want a "Peak" at the top of Middle Mountain?
Warm fires in runlet room keep you warm, but we miss our friends as we close for the season and yes start removing snow!
Soon we will be showing you pictures of snow covered peaks on Middle and Runlett mountains.
We can't wait to open again in 2012 when we get more warm hugs, friends, new smiling faces and no freezing tempertures!
Stay tuned for more to come!
September at Wilderness Trails Ranch, located at the base of the largest wilderness region in the mainland USA and in the San Juan portion of the Rocky Mountains of SW Colorado.
Well, we started out a bit rainier than usual, but now we have our Indian Summer which brings lots of sunshine! Woo-hoo! Our days are in the 70's and evenings in the high 40's/low 50's. For this mountain girl it is just about perfect!!!
We are just about to close for the season (October 1) Boo-hoo! For those of you lucky enough to be here now, send us your fall color changing photos. For those who missed your chance at riding through the brilliant red and gold forest, or what some of us call "enchanted forest", we are sorry.
Book early so you too can see (a year from now) the stunning gold and red sparking through the sunlight! Please send your fall color changing photos! Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd love to see who has captured the best fall picture!