Love at the 4UR

February 17th, 2016 by 4ur ranch

Over the years, the 4UR has witnessed several couples emerge from our summer staff. We know of seventeen couples who have married or are in a serious relationship, and we’re sure there are more that have missed our radar. One may look for employment at the 4UR for a fun summer experience, which oftentimes leads to meeting your best friends, and sometimes your true love. While we are not suggesting we are better than a dating service, here are a few the love stories which blossomed here at the 4UR:

Kyle and Kate Michaels

Kyle and I met on the 4UR Ranch during the summer of 2004, when he signed on as a ranch hand and I as a housekeeper. We both were looking for a summer that consisted of making new friends, hiking, working hard, and enjoying all of the incredible outdoor opportunities that the ranch has to offer. Little did we know, a friendship that started during Ping-Pong games, hikes, fence-building, meals in the EDR (employee dining room), bonfires and barn dances would develop into a love that would endure for 12 years (and counting). We were married in an open park overlooking station 10 on June 4th, 2007. We now have two amazing daughters, Ruby Mae (3) and Ella Jane (1 month). We feel so blessed to have found one another (who would of thought that a PNW girl from Oregon and a country boy from West Texas could make it work?!), and to call Creede our home. I work as a RN (Creede Family Practice) and Tobacco Prevention Coordinator (Mineral Co. Public Health), and Kyle is assisting with all of the exciting renovations at La Garita Ranch, across from the 4UR.

bride smiles as groom looks at herin the middle a black and white of two daughters on right happy couple with newborn

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A Snowy Holiday Weekend at the 4UR Ranch!

December 17th, 2015 by 4ur ranch

Smiling Brady Gibbons takes young son on Colorado snowmobile adventure!

Brady Gibbons takes son on snowmobile adventure in Colorado

Thanksgiving brought us about 10 inches of fresh powder, and it just keeps coming! It has been a gorgeous holiday season and we’ve taken full advantage of it. Brady and Damon rigged up the snowmobile with 3 sledding tubes and pulled the 4 Gibbons’ kids around the hills, much to their delight. (The children enjoyed it too!)

Gibbons kids LOVE the snow!

The cross-country skiing has been sensational. Wildflower Mesa and Breakfast Ride have about 2 feet of snow along the trees and a gorgeous view out to Ute Peak. The trails we usually use for horseback riding and hiking are covered in a sparkling white blanket of snow. What a blast it is to cruise through the trees on a pair of skis.

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4UR Ranch and the Wagon Wheel Gap Fluorspar Mine

November 10th, 2015 by 4ur ranch

historic photo of two miners walking down hill from fluorspar mill

Miners walk home after a long day of work at the CF&I Fluorspar Mine

The mine is one of the most fascinating historical structures on the 4UR Ranch.  It catches your eye as you scan the beautiful horizon of the Ranch and it stirs up questions of what life was like 100 years ago for the miners and how different things must have looked. What was the mine used for?

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Season: Summer to Fall at the 4UR Ranch

September 24th, 2015 by 4ur ranch

guest ranch patio is lit by evening sun in foreground as parents wave to children passing by on hay wagon in background

Guests see children off from the new deck as they continue on to the last hayride and kid’s cookout of the season.

close up of top of a citronella candle with fire pit burning in background

The new patio features a large fire pit, great for enjoying an evening cocktail or early morning cup of coffee.

The 4UR Ranch has had an amazing summer season, and we’re all looking forward to a fantastic fall! As I write this blog, I can hear laughter through my open windows as the final week of our Children’s Program is winding down and the kids are enjoying their last “hurrahs” before heading back to school. The summer season has been busy, and it almost seems impossible that it could be  ending as quickly as it came upon us. It was a season packed with new experiences and friendships as many of our guests took advantage our  Hiking Program , and an evening cocktail on the new deck area located just off of Maude’s Bar (a favorite).

group sit on open deck with wine and blazing fire pit

Group of artists enjoy an evening sunset and cocktail before dinner.

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Hiking At the 4UR Ranch

July 20th, 2015 by 4ur ranch

foreground of flowery mesa with dark green mountains and blue sky in background

The 4UR Ranch has many exceptional programs to offer guests during their stay, but this year’s top of the list is our Hiking program. We have offered hikes to our guests on a request only basis in the past, but this year hiking has become another asset along with our horsemanship program, kid’s program and guided fishing experience. Guests are able to sign up for hikes throughout the week as soon as they check in, and have a multitude of trails available – from an easy paced hike up to Wildflower Mesa to a more advanced trek to Table Rock. The ranch has two hiking guides to take you on your journey, Jamie Smith and Amanda Gibbons.

male and female hiking guides stand with backpacks in front of a flowery hillside

Hiking Guides Jamie Smith and Amanda Gibbons

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Office Space at the 4UR Ranch

May 4th, 2015 by 4ur ranch

The 4UR Ranch has spent this past winter/early spring remodeling the offices and reception area in our Main Lodge. This week, Kathy, Robin and Aaron are finally moving in. There are boxes with miscellaneous computer cords and office supplies occupying counter tops and filing cabinets in the entrance, but our Managers have a smile on their faces as they move into the new space.

looking through doorway into new office space of fly fishing guest ranch

A Breath of Fresh Air

New cabinetry, new windows, and a reception counter with an art wall are just a few of the improvements.

Kathy is looking forward to having an area that is more conducive to the daily dealings of managing the behind the scenes operations, as well as still having accessibility with the guests. Before, Kathy’s office was a long rectangle with an oversized, bulky desk. Now her square shaped, streamlined office makes it easy to access what she needs at an arm’s length in any direction!

office manager looks up from paperwork and computer to smile

Kathy enjoying her new space

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Big Red’s Legacy at the 4UR Ranch

February 21st, 2015 by 4ur ranch

This winter at the 4UR, we had to say goodbye to our old faithful feed truck, Big Red. Although he will be missed, his replacement, Big Red II has proven the “new guy” is ready to face any given task with ease and muscle.

head wrangler hugs old feed truck with mountain pallisades in background

Damon Hugging Ol’ Big Red after Feeding Horses

 

Winter is vehicle maintenance time at the 4UR Ranch. Our whole fleet gets a full tune up and is readied for the busy summer season. We realized Ol’ Big Red wasn’t going to make it through the upcoming Guest season, being that you had to hold your breath to get him started (due to a stripped fly wheel), and he started to burn oil. It was time for retirement. Damon had a bitter hard time letting go, as Big Red has been a part of his whole ranch history.

The Ranch bought Big Red, a 1985 GMC pickup, in the late 1990’s, and outfitted him with a flatbed. In the early years, the truck was the only vehicle to haul trailers, hay, and functioned mostly as the ranch hands’ work truck.  It was the only standard transmission on the ranch, and taught many  young employees how to drive a “stick shift” on the way to fish fry.

pregnant woman drives loaded red hay truck to horses in snow men throw hay bales to horses off old red feed truck three men in 1985 GMC truck smile as they feed horses on colorado ranch head wrangler hugs old feed truck with mountain pallisades in background old 1985 GMC feed truck travels down ranch road full of hay fish fry next to colorado mountain creek on fly fishing guest ranch

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4UR Ranch Remodels This Winter

December 22nd, 2014 by 4ur ranch

This winter, the 4UR Ranch is remodeling and building to continue to bring you excellent service.

All remodels and construction are the combined efforts of Creede America and Vineyard Construction.

Main Lodge Remodel

When you arrive at the Ranch this summer, you will notice the first remodel as you arrive and check in. We have expanded our reception area and rearranged our offices to better serve your needs during your stay.  The result is a more open, friendly atmosphere to greet you, while still keeping the same 4UR charm.
Maude’s bar will have a new, larger deck with more outside seating, and a fire pit to enjoy the cool Colorado nights while having an after dinner cocktail with friends.

bead bord and wood walls with large open reception area at colorado guest ranch

New Reception Area (as you walk in front door of Lodge)

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RIGHT Photography Workshop at the 4UR Ranch

November 11th, 2014 by 4ur ranch

Last month, the 4UR Ranch hosted a photography class sponsored by the  Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust (RiGHT). It was taught by Mike Blakeman, an accomplished photographer who has been donating his time and contributing his expertise to RIGHT for several years.

What is RiGHT?

RiGHT was founded in 1999. It is a non-profit organization that works with private landowners, public agencies, and other conservation organizations to preserve the natural beauty and wildlife habitat of the area and to promote a sustainable agricultural lifestyle. RiGHT’s goals are to protect and support working ranches and farms, water resources, wildlife habitat, scenic landscapes, and inspire a culture of conservation in the San Luis Valley.

The 4UR Ranch strongly supports the values of this organization and is just one of the many conservation easements held by RiGHT throughout the San Luis Valley.

The Photography Workshop

When we were approached to host this photography workshop, it was with much joy that we accepted. The workshop gave many budding (and seasoned) artists and photographers a chance to visit the 4UR Ranch and experience the natural fall beauty of the Goose Creek Valley. One of our own crew was able to join in on the workshop, and rediscovered an appreciation for the gorgeous landscape we work in every day.

man speaks to photography workshop and showcases sample photography

Accomplished Photographer Mike Blakeman instructs group before sending them out to shoot

woman with camera takes picture of creek on fly fishing guest ranch

A photographer looks for the perfect shot of Goose Creek

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Hay Harvesting Season at the 4UR Ranch

September 16th, 2014 by 4ur ranch

Red tractor sits in hayfield with colorado mountains in backgroundHay season is in full swing at the 4UR.  We love this time of year – the sunlight seems a little more golden, there is a hint of fall in the leaves, and the air is a little crisper.  A few weeks ago, there was a taint of sadness with many staff returning to college and children back in school, and then hay season came upon us!

We look forward to the harvest. Beside the excellent fishing conditions the stream provides in September, the guests are getting some prime photo opportunities as they drive along Goose Creek Road. The staff enjoy helping with picking up bales from the freshly cut fields and stacking them in the barn. The sense of togetherness, pushing as a team to get a very hard job done, and seeing substantial progress made is very rewarding. It’s no easy task, as bales can weigh up to sixty pounds and some days require picking up and stacking over seven hundred in a day!

new holland tractor with attached baler sits among baled hay in ranch fieldpicking up hay in colorado guest ranch pastureOur hay meadows are filled with many types of grasses and forbs, our favorite composition being clover and timothy, clover being high in protein, and timothy is a good source of calcium and phosphorous. A good broadleaf or legume (such as clover) intermixed with grass captures the sunlight most efficiently while fixing nitrogen in the soil. Properly managing the grazing of our pastures, along with the timing of irrigation and using only natural fertilizer left behind by the horses, produces healthy plants. The hay is used to feed our herd of fifty horses throughout the winter and into spring. We are very lucky to be able to provide our own hay for our herd, and to have pasture for them to graze on all summer.

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