Ice Cutting and Nordic Skiing at the 4UR Ranch
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.
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.
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.
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.