Well, well. WHAT a September Colorado had. If you turned on your television anytime mid-September then likely you saw the extensive damage flooding caused on the Front Range and in many of the lower mountain towns as well. We appreciate VERY much all of the concerned calls and messages we received from those wanting to be assured of our safety. It was just another rain storm on our side of the Rockies—in fact we didn’t even take pictures because there was nothing to show. One fierce, brief storm hit us, but besides the river looking dark and murky from all the runoff water it swallowed up, there wasn’t much to get excited about. So thank you to all those who were concerned about us, but we wanted to assure you we were unaffected by the storms. Meanwhile just a couple of hours away, many, many others were not as fortunate. Our dear friends and owners of Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch in Loveland, CO suffered tremendous losses to their beautiful and historic buildings. In addition they lost their road into the town and our thoughts and concerns have been with them as they have been assessing the damage and devising their plan to already start rebuilding. It’s AMAZING the way a little ranch can touch people’s lives and hearts and the way a community will rally behind them to give them any help they need. They—and all of us that love them—have been deeply touched by the tremendous outpouring of aid on their behalf. That’s what a ranch family does! We tip our hats to all of them for their true cowboy grit and will continue to hold them in our thoughts. We know they’ll be back in no time! For more info and opportunities to donate to the Sylvan Dale Ranch Recovery Fund please check out: http://www.youcaring.com/help-a-neighbor/sylvan-dale-ranch-recovery-fund/88307/ Here’s a few peeks at our last couple of weeks of the season. We were thrilled to have so many first time guests this September and meet such wonderful new friends. We love the weeks our returning friends come join us for another week of adventure, but it’s always a different kind of thrill to introduce people to the magic here for the very first time. They fall in love. You can actually see it happening. And for those of us who have been here year after year, it’s a a humbling reminder of the beauty around us—things you sometimes take for granted during your day-to-day routines. But showing it to someone for the first time? And hearing that moment when they catch their breath? Seeing in their eyes that first moment they are trying to comprehend how they spent their whole lives before now without this? There’s nothing that compares to that. It refreshes us and reminds us why we love what we do. And one such of those “first-time experiences” we hate for anyone to miss out on? Cow soccer. That’s right. I said it. I can give you no further explanation. Just a recommendation to have someone filming. You’re gonna wanna laugh that hard again later… You can see our water levels were truly the same as usual. The grand Breakfast Ride crossing! Birthdays are always an extra special day around here, but when you’re the boss man you might get just a liiitttllee something extra special as a surprise at dinner. Happy Birthday to Jerry! We love getting to celebrate with him during the season in September! It was an all-cowgirl barn for many of the September weeks. Several of our cowboys took jobs working for hunting outfitters here in Colorado so the ladies have been running the show! Lauren continues to take excellent care of the horses and keeping the barn running smooth. In addition, we were happy to meet and welcome Adeline Fixot, who is traveling through the States for several months on a trip away from her home in France. Adeline stayed and volunteered with us for several weeks and it was a pleasure to have her. Not only was she a tremendous help in so many different areas, she was a pure joy to be around! We hope she comes back soon! Just a couple of our hilarious new guests kicking up their heels with us! (We have the best guests. Hands down!) Now you may not “recognize” this couple, but we bet you’ve seen some of their work! Gene and Beverly joined us last summer when we hired them to come do a photography session and also take footage to create the new Bar Lazy J promotional DVD. If you’ve received one of those in the mail, then you’ve seen their amazing work! It was even MORE amazing that after their week “working” here, they decided they wanted to come back for their own vacation. (Guess that promotional DVD did it’s job!) What a pleasure it was to have them here again and let them enjoy a ride withOUT having to document it all! (Although they couldn’t help themselves and still took LOTS of pictures—old habits die hard!) For a beautiful arrangement of some of Bev’s photos from last summer here on the ranch, check it out on her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=524582520891218&set=vb.100000184246281&type=2&theater And here we have “the last supper” so to speak—a meal fit for the roughest and toughest cowboys…. …(who are truthfully all “puppy dogs and ice cream” at the core. Uhh…don’t tell them we said that. But if the argument comes up, they ARE eating ice cream….) People always ask if the Adult Weeks offer the same things as the family weeks?? You betcha! Right down to that awesome ice cream sundae bar Saturday night….sooo goood. Sunday morning we said goodbye to our final guests of the season, but we weren’t quite ready to close things up. We had a whole week of projects to tackle before our final event of the season. By now the leaves had finally started to begin their change and things were getting extra quiet around here. But as beautiful as they’ve ever been! Elk Mountain from way below. That night we celebrated another great season with a staff party at Mustachio’s on the Lake as a thank you for all their hard work. As we headed for Grand Lake, the storm clouds were rolling in… But that didn’t stop us from having a grand time inside! Just look at the difference in the water levels of the lake from our opening staff party in the Spring until now. Thank goodness the levels were low before we got all that rain! -----> is what it looks like right now, and below is what it looked like in May. What a change! And that storm that followed us in was gone by the time we left, but not without giving us our first show of snow this Fall! Officially turning colder! Monday morning, the rest of us that remained got down to business. Sue was working hard in her office to get the last of the ranch’s summer affairs in orderand Dale was seen darting in every direction taking care of end-of- season projects and winterizing the buildings. Meanwhile, other staff tackled some things we don’t get time for during the summer months. Let the projects begin! Charity, our Head Housekeeper is an incredible seamstress and took to the task of sewing all new curtains for the cabins. The kitchen got a whole new paint job and these bandits were eventually caught and made to pay for their crimes. I mean really--wearing white after Labor Day? Of all the nerve…. You know all those boots in Sam’s shed we let you guys borrow? They got a good cleanin’ and conditioning before getting stored away. That’s a lot of boots! (And you know what’s the funniest part? 200 pairs of boots and these guys didn’t even remember to clean their own.) With the riding all done for the season, the horses all had their shoes pulled and feet trimmed as the lady wranglers began trailering them out to winter pasture. It’s bittersweet, but turning these guys out is one of our favorite parts. The horses seem to know they are getting 8 months off (not a bad gig) and trot happily out to graze with all of their buddies after a kiss goodbye from us. We’ll be checking on them weekly from now until Spring, but these guys will have LOTS of room and LOTS to eat! Good thing they grow LOTS of hair to go with it, cause Colorado winters are not for any fluff-muffin horses! Headin’ for those green pastures! And just like our horses, we gave a bittersweet goodbye to several more of our wonderful staff. Off to those other pastures as well, but hopefully we’ll be seeing many of them back in the Spring! Still working and waiting for our fishermen group to arrive, we enjoyed several days of simply incredible Fall weather. And amazing colors! We honestly wish all of you could see the changing of the colors here. Even after all the years we’ve witnessed it, it never ceases to take our breath away. If you think the ranch and our mountains are beautiful in the Spring and summer? You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen them in the Fall! But with the cooler weather, comes the unpredictability of the occasional snow dusting…. But then you wake to a sunrise like this. And a whole different kind of beauty! The snow didn’t last long and we were back up in the 70s again by the next day. We snapped some pictures for you just because we can’t bear to keep it to ourselves. And with these pictures we have to tell you—if you can make it out the last weeks of September when the leaves are changing, we highly recommend it. You can’t even imagine how incredible the colors are in person when they‘re at their peak. These pictures don’t even do them justice! This past Monday our final group of guests made their way here at last and this special group of individuals is one of our favorites. We were honored once again to host them and share our stretch of river with these gentlemen. Reel Recovery is a national non-profit that offers free fly fishing retreats for men recovering from all types of cancer. The people we meet and the stories we here are both moving and inspiring. It moves us to tears every year. Thank you Reel Recovery for letting us once again be one of your Colorado retreats and serve a small piece in your mission to give men with all forms of cancer a unique opportunity to share their stories, learn a new skill, form lasting friendships and gain renewed hope as they confront the challenges of cancer. “Be well! Fish on!” we hear them tell one another. And we certainly couldn’t say it any better! We’d like to thank everyone who joined us this summer and say what an absolute pleasure it is to share this ranch with all of you year after year. Our hearts are full and the laughs we shared and the memories made here with you all will hold us over until next season when our first guests arrive back in the Spring. We hope to see all of you again! Until then, it’s time to put this old ranch to bed and once again tuck her in for her winter’s rest. She’s earned it! Happy Trails everyone!