A Travellerspoint blog

Crisp, Colorful Colorado Aspens

The season ended on a high note here at the ranch. The last conference was a ladies retreat and arrangements were made for the female staff to participate in the conference. This was such a blessing and a much needed rest for us all. We got to sit alongside christian women from all around the country and study the word of God. I cannot imagine a more appropriate way to end our season together. After the ladies retreat ended, the following week was spent closing down the ranch. There was a lot to clean, organize, inventory, store away, fix up, and shut off. No one really wants the season to ever end, but at the same time, rest is a good thing in this kind of operation. There's a few people staying behind for the winter to help with grounds and maintenance. I'm happy to be staying and working in the office a few more weeks. It'll be a great experience to spend part of the winter here in the mountains.

After we said our goodbyes and everyone was leaving the ranch, I got in my car and took a mini road trip to see more of Colorado. I headed west along Hwy 70 through all of the ski towns and then through Glenwood Canyon and spent the night in Glenwood Springs (famous for their hot springs baths). This is a great little town. The drive along the canyon is beautiful and there's a great hiking trail at Hanging Lake leading to a 2 waterfalls that empty into a crystal clear lake. Next, I took the scenic route of Hwy 133, which had the most amazing views of all my travels this week.

Here's what I saw along the road from Montrose to Telluride...
Many, O Lord, are the wonders which you have done Ps 40:5

The next day I went to Arches National Park in Utah. This is one place I would tell all my friends to go visit. These red rock cliffs have got to be a geologists dream! It's like being on another planet. As I was driving into Arches Nat'l Park, the first thing I see is 3 people climbing up the face of one of the cliffs.

It turns out that Elk sightings are no big deal around here. In fact, I've gotten so used to seeing them that I don't pay that much attention anymore. But this morning, the Elk got my attention again when they woke me up bugling outside my window. There's got be at least 60 of them roaming around the ranch everyday.

Well, the snow has arrived and I love it! It's not so bad, so far. It's snows quite a bit but it's such a light dusting that it doesn't really cause much accumulation on the ground. Every day I see something beautiful and I am always in awe of God's imagination and care. The weather has turned cold and I think I am just starting to get a glimpse of what a winter in the mountains is all about. But so far, I don't mind. It's worth it to look out my window at the blanket of snow covering the pine trees and mountains in the distance. And then when I get to thsee the horses or the elk running through the snow, wow, what a gorgeous sight to behold. It has been such a blessing being here these past four months.

Posted by NETRAVELR 10:08 Comments (1)

September at the Ranch

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I can hardly believe I only have a few more weeks left here at the ranch. Needless to say, I don't want to leave. But the ranch closes down at the end of September. Now I know why the staff returns each year and therefore, it's hard to get a job here. I am very grateful that I have been able to come here and share in this experience. What's so great about it? Well, to start with, it has gotten me thinking about the joy of serving others. I am reminded of what it means to extend ourselves beyond what we think we have to offer. It's not the easy thing to do, that's for sure. But it's the right thing to do and it never hurts us or takes away from anything. And the smallest guesture extended puts a smile on other's faces or gives them a lift in their step. So, I originally thought I was coming here to get out from behind a desk and enjoy the great outdoors but I soon discovered that I am here to re-learn a thing or two about ministering. The other thing that stood out to me almost immediatly when I arrived here at the ranch is how much the staff shines for God. Not only in their actions, but also in their words. I have been humbled by my fellow staff members. Most of them are in their late teens and early twenties and yet, the are so mature in their walk with God. Their love for God and their enthusiasm and joy just seems to radiate and so I am humbled and encouraged by this. It gives me joy and inspires me to see a young generation in love with God! And then there's the beauty all around here at the ranch. I cannot step out of staff housing without being in awe. I can't even put words to it. The ranch itself is rustic and charming and fits right in with nature and makes you feel like you haven't a need or a care in the world. But then when you look up and out... all you can see in every direction are the glorious Rocky Mountains.... and therefore, you see God.

I've got to run but please check by in a week or two for more pictures. Fall is just around the corner here and the photo opportunities are going to be endless!!

Well, I've finally gotten around to posting some more pictures. It's been a great month at the ranch. September is conference season, so we have guests arriving on Thursday and leaving on Sunday, then we usually have monday and tuesday off. The staff does a lot of hiking during our days off or we will all load up into the van and take a trip to either Boulder or Fort Collins to shop and eat. My friend Gina came to visit me a few weeks ago. She came and worked on the ranch for one of the conferences and then we went sight-seeing in Colorado for a few days. It was so nice to have company come and to get to show her around Estes Park. This is a great time of year to be here when the aspens turn golden yellow.

Here's the Chain Gang working on cutting down trees. We had to cut down over 60 trees on the ranch that were dying from the beetles getting to them. The upside is...we have lots of wood for the winter.

Here are some pictures from when Gina came to visit. The first two pictures are from Bear Lake in Rocky Mtn Nat'l Park and Golden, Colorado

Posted by NETRAVELR 11:11 Comments (1)

At the ranch

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Sunday at the ranch
I am so happy to be here! The ranch is absolutely beautiful. It sits right in the middle of the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of 9200 ft. Directly in front of the ranch is Longs Peak, standing majestically at 14000 ft.
Longs Peak
Today is my first full day at the ranch and this is the day the new guests arrive. This morning, the staff all went to church together and then we came back, had some lunch, and began to prepare for the guests. When the guests arrive, we all ran out to greet them and then helped them unload their luggage. After the last of the last guests arrived, we ate dinner and then we all went up to the Upper Meadow for an evening devotion at the fire pit. The view from here was incredible. It looks over a big meadow with wild flowers and mountains beyond. We sang worship songs, had a devotional then made smores. Now, it's off to bed. Good night!

It is going to be a great week! I am astounded every day at the beauty of God's creation that surrounds me. Each day I see something new here. Today, I enjoyed watching the hummingbirds right outside the dining hall. There were six of them. We also have a lot of chipmunks on the ranch. And I have heard rumors of bears, but have yet to see any.
I am enjoying meeting lots of new people, both staff and guests. There are 26 girls in one side of the staff housing. Here's a picture of my new digs.Rhonda_s_Pics_058.jpg
Today, the staff ate breakfast together, then had a time of sharing. Each morning a different staff member shares their testimony with the group, then we spend time praying for the families that are here on the ranch this week. Next, we all go to our assigned areas of work. My assigned area this week is Kids Club, which means looking after the young kids between the ages of newborn to 10 years old. At lunchtime, we all went up to the Upper Meadow again and had a cookout of hot dogs and hamburgers. Here are some pics from the cookout.
Then after lunch we all went down to the corals for "ranch olympics" such as wheel barrow racing, egg toss, etc. And tonight's activity is one of the highlights of the week....square dancing. Ye-ha!

It's a beautiful day today. Sunny and warm. Most of the guests either go horseback riding or golfing today so the staff spent the day chopping down trees and hauling logs. This evening I am serving in the dining hall which means setting the tables, serving, and then clean up. Tonights activity for the guests is sports night on the blacktop and then we have a devo by the fire. Here are some pictures of the ranch.

Today we had a kids rodeo for the guest's kids and then after lunch the guests either went horseback riding, white water rafting, fishing, or hiking for the afternoon. Tonight was a special night. We had 3 baptisms tonight :-) After the baptisms, we had a time of worship and praising God out by the pool. Our guest speaker at the ranch this week is a retired quarterback for the NFL, he used to play for the Chicago Bears.

I've never worked so hard in my whole life! I'm quickly learning there's a lot to do on a guest ranch. There's the kid's programs, and housekeeping, preparing and serving meals, mucking the corals, hauling logs and brush, trail maintenance, and that's just the behind the scenes stuff! But one of the nice things about this ranch is that the staff all pitches in and helps each other. So if we finish our assigned duties, we look for an area that we can help until all jobs are completed for that day. The staff is amazing...they give 150% each and every day and I am not even exagerating. They all have such big hearts to serve others. Every day I see the staff reaching out to the guests and taking the time to anticipate their needs. I see them interacting with the guests, getting to know them or sending a little encouragement their way, or just talking with them and laughing with them. Their love for God and eagerness to serve shines so brightly.

On Friday, we had a wrangler's breakfast. This was my favorite activity of the week. All of the guests take a horse ride down to the lower meadow by the lake. In the clearing, we have set up a good 'ol country breakfast of pancakes, biscuits and gravy, grits, bacon, eggs, hashbrowns, and coffee cake. The ranch director has a BIG skillet to make (and flip!) jumbo-size pancakes.
It's a beautiful setting with the sun streaming in between the trees and all the people standing around visiting with each other. It feels like we are all the best of friends and we're having a camp breakfast to start our day. After we eat, the ranch foreman recites (from memory) several cowboy poems. It's a great time.
Later that evening, we all come together for a time of sharing our experiences with each other our experiences that we had during the week. This is a meaningful time where the guests can share what they enjoyed most while at the ranch or what they will take away from their time here. It's a very uplifting time. After the sharing time, we have a video we show of the week's activities starring our guests.

gotta run....it's square dancing time....more to come later....

Today, the guests leave at noon and then we do "turnover" to get the cabins ready for next week's guests. After turnover, I went for a hike around Lily Lake and then went into town for dinner.
When I got back to the ranch, everyone was gone to dinner and so I was just walking around the ranch and I saw a black bear about 20 ft away from me. He looked a little startled and I was very startled, but then he layed down in the grass and just looked at me. I decided to get out of there, just in case, but then I saw him again later that night as I was walking to staff housing.

Some of the staff went to Rocky Mountain National Park this morning to drive along Trail Ridge, the highest paved road in North America. We saw some Elk duking it out...

We finally had some time off so we all decided to go camping and hiking in Leadville, Colorado. This is an old famous mining town. It has a really cool downtown area, but the best part is the mountains surrounding it. The scenery was incredible! We camped at 12,000 ft...yep, it was plenty cold....got down to below 30 degrees but it was worth it. Our campsite was high up on a mountain looking over Turquoise lake. During the day, I went down to the lake and hiked around it. The trailhead was at MaryQueen campsite.

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Cruise to Cozumel

Took my niece on a cruise to Cozumel. Had a great time!


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Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, KY

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Kentucky_Pics_004.jpgKentucky_Pics_002.jpgWell, I had to pack up and leave Connecticut this week. I wasn't quite ready to go. I had a great time there, seeing my friends, and being back in the area where I had grown up. Not to mention, the weather was really nice there! On my trip back, I stopped to see my cousin Leslie and her family in Virginia, and then I drove through Kentucky and stopped at the Kentucky Horse Farm in Lexington. They were having the Juniors Championships. Here are some pictures from the jumping competition.

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