The Goose Creek Marathon

March 27th, 2017 by 4ur ranch

Woman fishing on stream at 4UR Ranch

How many of you have seen those plaques on the wall of the 4UR Lodge that say “Goose Creek Marathon” and wondered what the heck is that? Well, it is a fun and incredibly exhausting way of being immortalized in the 4UR Ranch history. Beginning at Station #1, by the Rio Grande, anglers must prove their skills and athletic abilities by catching a fish at each of the #15 stations. Spanning from the Rio Grande to Fish Fry at Station #15! A whopping 7 miles of stream, and those who complete the marathon experience every inch.

With only a select few of our male guests ever having completed the Goose Creek Marathon, it is even more rare to find a fly fisherwoman capable of the challenge. In the entire history of 4UR Ranch only one has managed, Michele Camp is our only female guest to have successfully completed the marathon. With a time of 10 hours and 4 minutes, it would be great to see more women get their names up on that prestigious plaque in the 4UR lodge! 

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Love at the Ranch, Part II

February 16th, 2017 by 4ur ranch

Carving love out of the 4UR Ice

This Valentine’s Season at the 4UR Ranch leaves us thinking about some of the most recent couples that have fallen in love at the Ranch. Every year a new match seems to be made. This summer we will get two see two couples that met at the ranch celebrate their relationships with June weddings! Here in their own words, are two more 4UR Ranch romances to add to the list. We look forward to their summer weddings and seeing what lies ahead for these two adventurous couples!

Christine and Zach:


Christine and Zach Engagement Photo, Love at the ranch

Zach and I met at the 4UR during the summer of 2013. It was my second summer working at the ranch and his first. 2013 was the summer of the West Fork Fire, as some may recall, and the entire ranch was forced to evacuate. Staff, having nowhere to go, headed out to explore Colorado. We quickly went from homelessness and camping, to living in luxury in Telluride thanks to a few incredibly generous family friends (who also happen to be 4UR guests!). Similarly, my relationship with Zach went from an awkward friendship (at best) to best friends by the time we had returned back to the ranch that summer. I think the evacuation created a bond between all of the staff that was pretty tough to break.

Zach and I kept in touch and remained friends throughout the winter. I was in North Carolina finishing up my last year of college and Zach was working on the mountain in Jackson, WY. By the time summer rolled around again, we knew there was more between us than a close friendship. In June of 2014 we were both back at the ranch for another summer and another adventure, one that I could never have imagined would lead us to where we are today. We’re currently engaged to be married on June 10, 2017 in my hometown of Burlington, NC.

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Ice Cutting and Nordic Skiing at the 4UR Ranch

January 28th, 2017 by 4ur ranch

Everyone watching as the instructor demonstrates how to get up after falling on XC skis

Learning how to get up after a fall on XC skis can be tricky!

This past weekend was a busy one at the 4UR Ranch as we welcomed the San Juan Nordic Club for a Nordic skiing clinic and Humphrey’s Ranch hosted their annual Ice Cutting event. This year was the second annual Nordic ski clinic hosted at the 4UR in conjunction with the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust (RiGHT). It’s an amazing opportunity for locals to come out and enjoy the beautiful winter scenery on perfectly groomed cross-country tracks. Even the kids get to try their hand at Nordic skiing and when its time for a break, hot chocolate is just a few steps away in the 4UR barn. The groomed trails meandered through the pastures behind the barn, around Walton Pond and right through the middle of the ranch compound. Getting to see the beauty of the Goose Creek Valley in the wintertime is truly a magical experience.

A couple XC skiing in the 4UR Ranch pasture along groomed tracks

A couple out enjoying the groomed XC tracks.

Our partnership with the RiGHT organization allows the 4UR Ranch to showcase all of the Goose Creek valley while knowing that it will be conserved for future generations to enjoy. RiGHT lets us share 4UR with more of the community and participate in the conservation of this beautiful valley alongside many other Rio Grande Tail-waters.

Cutting ice cubes from the middle of a small lake covered in snow

Cutting and hauling ice from Hay Press Lake

Further up the Goose Creek Valley this weekend, the annual ice-cutting event was going on at Humphrey’s Ranch. It’s an homage to a simpler time, with a large group of the Creede community coming out to help Humphrey’s prepare for the summer. Using hand saws and ice tongs ~150 pound cubes of ice are cut out of Hay Press Lake and hauled over to the ice house. Humphrey’s uses the ice through out the summer for refrigeration and barbecues. It is amazing to see the ice house fill up throughout the day as men, women and children come together to help out Humphrey’s Ranch.

A delicious barbecue beside the pond put on by the local search and rescue

A delicious barbecue put on by our local search and rescue!

The Mineral County Search and Rescue even made an appearance, firing up their grills and serving burgers to everyone that showed up to help. One of the most amazing aspects of living in such a small community is the sense of camaraderie that comes around in the winter. Ice cutting has been a tradition at Humphrey’s Ranch since the 1920s, the process, tools and tradition are virtually unchanged—the only difference is the influence of new generations to our small community.

Jimmy and grand-daughter sitting outside ice house

Jimmy Adelman and grand-daughter Josephine enjoying the barbecue.

 

Holiday Sweets from the 4UR Kitchen

December 20th, 2016 by 4ur ranch

4UR Ranch entrance with two holiday wreaths and snow all around

Christmas at the 4UR Ranch.

Cooking during the holiday season can be a daunting task so we asked our amazing 4UR kitchen Chefs, Wray, Blake, and Liz to share some of their favorite holiday sweets and advice for keeping the kitchen a stress free place this season.

Chef Wray Warner says the best piece of entertaining advice he ever received was to entertain, not cook, when guests are there.  He plans ahead and has everything ready to go when his guests arrive, allowing for less stress and more time with friends and family. Chef Wray saves the gourmet cuisine for summertimes at the 4UR Ranch and opts for simplicity during the holiday season at home. He admits that his family usually overdoes it at Thanksgiving, so for Christmas they prepare appetizers and finger foods.

Traditionally Chef Wray makes cinnamon rolls the night before and slides them into the oven when he wakes up so they are ready for the chaos of gift giving.

Here’s Wray’s recipe for Christmas morning cinnamon rolls!

Cinnamon RollsPile of flour and butter on a wood work surface

4 cups plus 2 T AP flour

3 packets yeast

1 cup water

2 eggs

1 stick butter, softened

1 tsp  salt

1/2 c sugar

Add ingredients to a stand mixer and mix on 2 for 12 minutes. After about 12 minutes, the dough should form a smooth ball.  If not add a little flour at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Cover and allow to proof until doubled in size.  Once doubled, place dough a lightly floured surface and roll out into a a rough rectangle approx.. ¼ inch thick.  Spread 2 sticks of butter over dough, leaving ½ inch free to allow the dough to seal.  Sprinkle liberally with brown sugar and cinnamon.  Roll dough up from bottom and place the seam on the bottom of the roll.  Cut into the desired size.  Place in to a greased baking pan.  Cover and place into the refrigerator overnight.  In the morning remove the cinnamon rolls from the refrigerator while the oven preheats to 350.  Bake 10-15 minutes or until the centers are done.  Bigger rolls will take longer.  Cool slightly and glaze.

Glaze

1 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar

2 and 1/2 tsp milk

1/4 tsp vanilla

1 tsp butter

Melt butter, add remaining ingredients and mix until smooth.

Chef Blake Bond’s favorite memory from Christmas Eve was enjoying homemade apricot horns and wassail around his grandmother’s kitchen table. He loved watching the apricot horns get assembled and gobbling up the first back right out of the oven.

Here are Blake’s families recipes for apricot horns and homemade wassail.

Glass mug of wassel surrounded by clove and cinnamon stick

Apricot Horns

1 lb. creamed cottage cheese

1lb. margarine, softened

Cream together cottage cheese and margarine. Add 4 cups all purpose flour, one cup at a time and 1 tsp salt. Cover dough and refrigerate overnight. 

Filling:

1 lb. dried apricots

2 c. sugar

water to cover

Add 1 # of dried apricots and 2 cups of sugar to a pot. Cover with water and simmer until apricots are soft.

Procedure:

When ready to make horns, work with a small amount of dough at a time while keeping the rest refrigerated. Roll dough into small balls then pat out a small circle (about the size of your palm). Place a spoonful of filling in the middle of the dough. Bring 2 sides of the dough together and press firmly. Bake @ 350 for 12-15 minutes. While still hot, dust generously with powdered sugar.

Mimi’s Wassail

1 qt Apple cider

1 c pineapple juice

1 c orange juice

1 c water

1/4 c red hots

1/4 c sugar

1 -2 cinnamon sticks

1/2 t ground cloves

Put red hots and cinnamon sticks in basket of percolator.  Add juices and spices.   Percolate and serve.

Stack of Sugar Cookies surrounded by candy canes and holly branches

And from Liz Wolfgang, the newest member of the 4UR kitchen team, she shares some tidbits about achieving stress-free Christmas dinner. Clean as you go so the dishes and remaining ingredients don’t overrun your kitchen. Liz also suggests prepping as much as possible the day before. For example, peel and cut your potatoes the day before submerge them in water and drain when you are ready to use. Lastly, pull out all of your clean kitchen towels, you’ll be needing them!

From the Wolfgang kitchen in Florida, Liz would like to share her Great Aunt Marilyn’s sugar cookie recipe with all of you! Enjoy!!

Dough

5 cups All-Purpose Flour

¾ cup Granulated Sugar

1 cup Brown Sugar

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1 teaspoon Baking Powder

½ teaspoon Salt

½ cup Shortening

2 each Eggs

1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

1 cup Sour Milk*

1 tablespoon Vinegar, White*

Icing

1 lb. Powdered Sugar

1 stick Butter or margarine

1 pinch Salt

As needed Milk

Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to milk and set aside. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a stand-up mixer combine brown sugar, granulated sugar and shortening. Slowly add eggs and vanilla, being sure they fully combine. Gradually add dry ingredients, alternating with the sour milk. Mix well. 

Form the dough into a ball and wrap in wax paper. Chill the dough for at least an hour. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Divide the dough into four portions. Roll chilled dough out one by one on a lightly floured surface. Make sure to roll the dough out evenly, and to avoid making them too thin. Place on a cookie sheet or cookie stone and put into the oven. 

Bake for 10-12 minutes and check. You want the cookies to be light brown. Once cookies are removed from the oven, remove the cookies from the sheet and cool on a wired rack. 

For the icing, add powdered sugar, butter, salt and mix. Gradually add milk until icing is spreadable. Once cookies are cool begin frosting, add sprinkles before frosting hardens on cookies. 

 

From our 4UR Ranch family to yours we hope this holiday season is filled with family, friends,  and cherished memories.

Sitting Back and Giving Thanks at the 4UR Ranch

November 8th, 2016 by 4ur ranch

Four wranglers sitting on a bench outside the barn talking

Wranglers sitting back and catching up after a days work.

 

Fall has arrived at the 4UR Ranch and, as the seasons change, the San Juan Mountains surrounding 4UR Ranch turn golden and become even more beautiful. With fall comes a time of reflection, a time to look back on the 2016 season and all of the things that made it great, and a time for giving thanks after an amazing summer. 

This year we are exceptionally grateful for the full-time staff that make up the 4UR Family. Having such wonderful and hardworking people makes 4UR Ranch one of the best places in the world to work.

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A Visit from the Equine Dentist at 4UR Ranch

October 12th, 2016 by 4ur ranch

Equine Dentist Walck has a horse in stall, head is being held up by pulley as he sedates the horse.

Dentist Troy Walck getting ready to examine Cochise.

At 4UR Ranch we just wrapped up our season with an annual visit from CEqD Troy Walck, an experienced Equine Dentist. Having an equine dentist come each year to work on the horses is something that plays into our values as a guest ranch. While the horses visit the vet very often the work of a horse dentist is vital to keeping the 4UR herd healthy and happy.

You wouldn’t expect it but having bad teeth can lead to poor performance while out for a trail ride. Have you ever ridden a horse that refused to turn left? Sometimes the fix is as simple as smoothing out their teeth so they aren’t in pain each time you signal a left turn. Head Wrangler Damon Gibbons noticed a significant drop in the amount of negative behavior in the horses after the first few visits by CEqD Walck. For the wranglers to give each guest helpful and constructive horseback instruction the horses have to be in the best shape possible. Having Dr. Troy come out, gives the 4UR Ranch that edge.

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The Small Arts Town of Creede, Colorado

August 10th, 2016 by 4ur ranch

fireworks light up evening sky aove the small arts town of Creede ColoradoWe at the 4UR feel very grateful to be situated near a small arts town rich in history and culture. Creede, Colorado is home to several art galleries, a true repertory theatre and master watercolorist, Steve Quiller.

The 4UR Ranch is surrounded by the stunning scenery of the San Juan Mountains. It is tucked in its own little valley off highway 149, which is part of the Historic and Scenic Silver Thread Byway. Along this byway, just a short eight miles from the 4UR, is the town of Creede, Colorado.

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Fantastic Family Fly Fishing at the 4UR Ranch

July 14th, 2016 by 4ur ranch

a sunny blue sky with green mountains in the background and a fly fishing guide in the foreground practicing his castThe 4UR Ranch has been delighting fly fishing families for decades with its incredible Colorado fly fishing experience. With over 6.5 miles of private tail-water on Goose Creek and 1.5 miles of the Rio Grande River, 4UR has become one of the premier fly fishing destinations in the West – attracting both novice and experienced fly fishermen.  This Colorado Fly Fishing resort has evolved into a catch and release destination with full service fly fishing guide instruction.

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4UR Horsemanship Program acquires New Horses

May 4th, 2016 by 4ur ranch

group of ranch guests on a running ride toward camera, in natural horsemanship program. Mountain pallisades and river in background.4UR Horsemanship Program Increases its Herd

It is spring on the ranch, and seven new horses have been added to our summer Horsemanship Program. The whole herd has been frolicking in the occasional spring snow, shedding winter coats and getting shoes on for summer. The wranglers are brushing up on their natural horsemanship skills too, and gearing up to give our guests an experience that will help to establish a great relationship with their horse during their stay here at the 4UR Ranch, and for encounters outside the ranch.

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Cross-Country Ski Clinic at the 4UR

March 15th, 2016 by 4ur ranch

lone skier on groomed path in front of old fluorspar millWinter is already melting away  at the 4UR, here is a look back at a cross-country ski event, one of the many fun pastimes from early 2016!

On Sunday January 10th, The Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust (RiGHT) partnered with the San Juan Nordic Club held a Cross-Country Ski Clinic at the 4UR. They came out the day before the clinic to groom about a 1 1&2 mile ski trail around the barn and closest pastures.

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