Last Wednesday our friend and returning guest passed away. We received word and a special request from her husband, Billy.
Thank you for following up on our request. Unfortunately, Gloria died suddenly Wednesday morning while I was asleep. However, it was her wish to take our grandson to WTR this summer, so I plan to do that. I think that the week of July 22 would be a good choice at this time. We will not need the Anasazi cabin, but will need one with two beds if you have one available.
One more question for you. Gloria wanted her ashes to be strewn on Vista Grande. Are there any problems or restrictions that would prevent me from doing that?
More information about Gloria's memorial service is available at this site:
I will be posting a tribute ther that expresses her love of WTR and her final wishes.
Here is Gloria's funeral notice, followed by a beautiful letter written by Billy Smith.
Gloria Bess Smith Date of Birth: Wed, 09/26/1945 Date of Death: Wed, 12/14/2011
Friday, December 16, 2011 - 18:40
My Dearest Gloria,
You left so quickly that I did not have a chance to say “Goodbye!” or “Thank you!” for all the happiness that you gave to me, like our two wonderful sons. Therefore, I will try to put into words what my kisses would have conveyed.
We had a good life together through many ups and down. I doubt it would have lasted so long except for you (you were definitely stubborn). Our forty-six years and ten days together were filled with so many marvelous memories, yet that time still seems much too short. We had numerous things planned to do in the coming years. Nevertheless, you taught me many things and I truly appreciate the patience you showed until I learned them. I am a better and wiser man than when we first met. Now, you will teach me how to live without you. It not an easy lesson, even with the help and love of Darren, Jason and all our other family members and friends. Although you did not go to college or become a nurse (as you dreamed early in life), you always knew more about the needs of people and cared deeply for all groups that could not give voice to their own rights and needs. You “nursed” a multitude of people and causes outside your family and friends. You always spoke out for truth and the rights of people, and all living things. Politics was one of your passions since you served as a precinct judge when our sons were in grade school.
We had discussed on many occasions our plans in case of death. With the help of our sons, I have begun to fulfill your ardent desire for a memorial service with no religious connections. While that is only natural for an atheist, it will be a first in our family. Then one day, I will follow your example. Some of your favorite music will be played. There will be tributes to you and your life, which you lived/loved so well despite your many health problems. In lieu of flowers, you asked that donations be made to organizations such as: Sierra Club, NRDC, NWF, GREENPEACE, or other groups who help to protect the wild world.
I am so thankful that we were able to return to Colorado and the Wilderness Trails Ranch our last two summers. You fell in love with it on our first visit over thirty years ago, and I did as well. We will scatter your ashes and Maggie’s together at Vista Grande. Mine will follow later. LAMK!
- SO WE RIDE... To the Top of Vista Grande...
A few days ago we told you about our friend and musician Tim Craig who played at the ranch every Thursday night throughout the season in 2011 and hopefully will be again in 2012.
Many of you are now following Tim Craig on facebook and other websites. Here is the most recent link to Tim's overnight success tune:
Tim Craig on KDVR Fox 31 News
As the story reads:
It was bound to happen. After much adoration, and some criticism, a song was finally written about Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.
"It's a phenomenon," says Durango resident and musician Tim Craig. "It's just hard to believe...it just keeps growing."
That is a very popular sentiment these days when discussing the lightning rod that is Tim Tebow.
"He's an all-around, almost-perfect person," adds Craig.
Tim Craig, who is a member of a country band in the four corners area of the state, was inspired himself the other day to pen a Tebow tune. It is written and sung to the tune of the 1982 country hit "Tulsa, Tulsa Time" performed by Don Williams.
"The second verse, I think, is the best, and it goes, "He's on good terms with his maker, he's a mover and a shaker..." sings the author of the Tebow song titled "Winning on Tebow Time."
Tim Craig wrote the song one day and secured a publishing contract the next day.
Here at the ranch, we are listening to this tune daily and humming a few bars ourselves. We so... enjoy seeing Tim's video and watching him have fun! Yes Tim, being a Bronco's fan is a sickness, and... that brings us all a bit closer, thank you!
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)
Join us at the ranch, the week of August 19th, 2012! It's a lot more than spectacular horseback riding, especially this week!
On Monday August 20th we are going to Durango for the start of the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge! Wow, how exciting to be part of this international event!
Don't forget we do have incredible mountain biking at and surrounding the ranch too. From mild to wild, come "ride the ridges" with WTR mountain bikes or bring your own!
If you want to ride hard, ride often, ride slow or ride relaxed either on a horse or on a bike, well, "you got it, dude"!
Of course you can always enjoy the same daily incredible horseback riding, from cattle work to incredibly beautiful half or full days rides in the largest wilderness region in the mainland United States!
Durango Selected as Start of Stage 1 for 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge
International cycling race begins August in Southwestern Colorado
– With nearly 40 cities across the state expressing initial interest in the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge, race officials have selected Durango as one of the 12 host cities that will serve as starts and finishes for the second annual stage race. After drawing more than 1 million spectators in its inaugural year, the 2012 race will return to Colorado from August 20-26, 2012, and will visit Durango as the start of Stage 1 on Monday, August 20.
The host cities and stages of the 2012 USA Pro Challenge include:
- Monday, Aug. 20 Stage 1 Durango – Telluride
- Tuesday, Aug. 21 Stage 2 Montrose – Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte
- Wednesday, Aug. 22 Stage 3 Gunnison – Aspen
- Thursday, Aug. 23 Stage 4 Aspen – Beaver Creek/Vail Valley
- Friday, Aug. 24 Stage 5 Breckenridge – Colorado Springs
- Saturday, Aug. 25 Stage 6 Golden – Boulder
- Sunday, Aug. 26 Stage 7/TT Denver
“The host cities selected for the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge will enable us to showcase the beauty and hospitality of Colorado to a worldwide audience,” said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the USA Pro Challenge. “These cities are valued partners who will work with us, hand in hand, as we continue to raise the bar for professional cycling here in America.”
“Durango is proud to host the overall start of the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge,” says Doug Lyon Durango’s Mayor Pro Tem. “From the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic to Fort Lewis College’s 17-time Collegiate National Champion cycling--Durango is home to the finest in cycling and the reason so many professional cyclists call Durango home.” No stranger to high profile races, this quintessential Southwestern Colorado mountain town will provide a breathtaking backdrop of the San Juan Mountains and plenty of summer activities and festivities to make it a perfect destination for race spectators.
“As home to the # 1 ranked Division I collegiate cycling team in the country, Fort Lewis College is excited and proud to be part of a premier US Cycling event that starts right here in Durango,” says Dene Kay Thomas, President of Fort Lewis College. “We look forward to showcasing our campus as part of the Cycling Village along with everything the Durango area has to offer.”
Durango's host city selection celebration will be held in conjunction with the USA Pro Cycling Challenge official announcement on Tuesday, December 13 at 5:30 pm at Steamworks Brewing Company, 801 East Second Street, Durango, Colorado! Everyone is welcome to join in the celebration.
Also new in 2012 is the placement of the Individual Time Trial on the final day of racing in Denver, keeping fans holding their breath to the very end to see who will be awarded the overall victory of the seven days of fiercely competitive racing. Fans in Denver will have multiple opportunities to cheer for any given rider, as well as the benefit of both start line access to riders along the traditional team “pit row” and the thrilling finish line excitement.
A number of criteria were taken into consideration when evaluating potential host cities, including full city services support. The race also considered commitments in the areas of lodging, volunteer recruitment, marketing and local tourism, as well as an ability to host world-class athletes and promote the State of Colorado.
Further details of the start and finish line locations, as well as the specific, detailed route will be announced in the spring.
About the USA Pro Cycling Challenge
For seven consecutive days, the world’s top athletes race through the majestic Rockies, reaching higher altitudes than they’ve ever had to endure – more than two miles in elevation. One of the largest cycling events in United States history, the 2012 race will feature the best of the best in professional cycling, competing on a challenging course through some of America’s most beautiful scenery.
Referred to as “America’s Race,” the second annual USA Pro Cycling Challenge will take place August 20-26, 2012. More than 1 million spectators are expected to once again line the route to see if Levi Leipheimer will defend his title as winner of the 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge, while millions more around the world will watch the race on television and online through Tour Tracker.
More information can be found on the website www.USAProCyclingChallenge.com,
and Twitter page @USAProChallenge
OMGoodness! Our very own Tim Craig of Wild Country Band has done it! He is singing our song, that is if you are a fan of the Denver Bronco's! Tim's "sage" advise is heard through playing his guitar, singing and making a video!
"Tebow" as most everyone knows is the Denver Bronco's Football Team Quarter Back and there is just "a bit" of talk about him! Ha, ha!
As many of you remember Wild Country Band played every Thursday night for our gourmet dinner and dance.
You can always tell who are "Us Colorado Cowboys", we love our Denver Bronco's! Thank's Tim!
Check out this video - we understand the full track will be available for sale tomorrow!
Thanks Tim, we love you! Go man, go!