Monday, July 15, 2013

Dome Peak Ranch

Last Monday morning we left Rocky Mountain National Park and headed out on another wonderful adventure--our dear friends Charlotte and Tom from Atlanta have a ranch not too far from Steamboat Springs where they spend much of every summer, and had invited us to come visit them.  It was a pretty drive, up across a high mountain pass, and as we came over the pass we found a nice spot to pull over to have lunch, just as it was beginning to rain--another of the "6 inch rains" so frequent out here, where one drop falls and the next one falls 6 inches away!  But it was a very nice view and then back on the way.  There were wonderful mountain vistas and glorious fields of wild flowers on the way, and especially after we turned off the highway onto the road back into their ranch--lovely wooden fences, cattle grazing in the fields, rushing water down the mountain alongside the road.  And their place is simply spectacular.  Such tremendous long range views of the mountains, including Dome Peak, for which their ranch is named, and just more wild flowers than you can imagine.

Once we arrived they showed us around and then we went for a drive up into the Routt National Forest, where we hiked up and around one of the several reservoirs that are nearby.  Beautiful flowers, wonderful sunshine on the mountains and streams, and we encountered a herd of sheep that had been moved up to the higher elevations.  We met Travis, the delightful young man who is the caretaker for their place and several of the other ranches there.  He's just a great fellow--went off to college and got a degree in ranch management, and there's nothing he can't fix or take care of.  He was busy thinning out some of the dead trees on their property, with his faithful dog, Dollar, always nearby.  And when he was finished and leaving for the day, Dollar hopped up onto the back of his ATV where he rides whenever Travis goes from place to place--very cute!

The next day Travis joined us for breakfast out on their patio, overlooking the mountains--what a wonderful way to start the day!  Later we took a ride in their Razor, this super 4 wheeler with great shocks and suspension for riding over all kinds of terrain.  We visited one of their neighbors who was working on a barn, using lots of "beetle kill," lumber from lodgepole pines that have been decimated by beetles.  It's sad to look up into the trees and see so many dead ones from the beetles, but they have milled a lot of this into beautifully colored wood for paneling the walls.  This man had made a gorgeous living space above the barn, with lots of unbelievable wood throughout.  It was fascinating to see what he had done.  Then later we drove into another area of the forest for more hiking among more gorgeous wild flowers, down to a beaver dam in one of the streams, and among groves of beautiful aspens.  That evening Travis came over for dinner, along with their neighbor, Sally, who is this petite, soft spoken woman, whose appearance belies the fact that she once ran a very sizable ranch, and, from what Tom and Charlotte said, brooked no guff from anybody!  It was hilarious imagining how a bunch of old men, seasoned and weathered ranchers, had to deal with this little woman as the boss of a big ranch--apparently they soon learned how competent she was and finally made their peace with it.  Anyway, she is a very serious horsewoman, and has horses there on her ranch, as well as in Ocala, Florida, where she spends part of the year.  It was fun to talk with her, since I grew up in Ocala, but when I was there in the '50's and '60's it was a small town, not like it is today.

But we had a wonderful visit with these dear friends.  Charlotte and Tom lived in our neighborhood and were members of the church where Trisha served--they were always so gracious to host numerous church functions at their lovely home.  Every Easter our church had a number of small Maundy Thursday services in homes around Atlanta, and Trisha always led the service in their home--a very special memory.  It was great to see their place in Colorado, and to catch up with them and hear about their family too.

We left Wednesday morning and drove to Grand Junction, CO, where we stopped to see Kate and Mike, a couple Trisha had married several years ago, and their beautiful little daughter, Sophie.  Mike is working for an oil company there, and Kate and Sophie had just joined him a couple weeks before we came.  We had not had a chance to meet Sophie before, but have loved seeing her growing up in Facebook pictures.  She is just the most darling little girl, and we were so happy our schedule allowed us to stop by and meet her, and to see Kate and Mike.  Trisha had knitted her a cute little shawl, and she was so funny when she opened it up and immediately put it on and pranced around their house--too cute!

We drove on to Green River, Utah for the night, and the next day came to St. George, where we spent the night and had dinner with Sue Ann and Jim.  It was great to see them again, since it had been almost two months since we had been with them as they guided us all around Zion National Park.  Had a chance to step on their scales, and am so happy that, now that it's been 5 months since we started on our vegan adventure, my weight loss is right at 70 pounds!  Wooohooo!!

On the drive from the highway to Tom and Charlotte's--that's Dome Peak to the left in the background.

 The drive to their house
 Lots of wildflowers!

 The barn they share with several of the other ranch owners

Lovely fields of yellow wild flowers.

Shots on our first hike in Routt National Forest
Hiking along one of the reservoirs

Trisha and Charlotte

A little jammed on this self shot pic!

Another herd of sheep!
If mama stops for just an instant, little lamb zooms in for a swallow of milk!

Shepherds' horses, getting a well deserved break

Travis and his faithful dog, Dollar
Dollar waiting for Travis to finish working so he can hop on the back of the ATV
Second day's hike in the forest

Beautiful mountains, Dome Peak on the left

Looking down on the beaver dam

Just love all these beautiful columbines!

Look at how the beavers knaw these logs!

More beaver chomping!

With all these wildflowers, Trisha's toe shoes were bound to pick up a couple!
Breakfast on Tom and Charlotte's patio
Spectacular view from the patio
And when you turn slightly to the left, this is your view!
Sunrise on our last day there

Our gracious hosts, Tom and Charlotte--two of the most generous and gracious people you could ever meet!
The shawl Trisha knitted for sweet little Sophie

Sorry for the fuzzy focus--Sophie modeling her new shawl for Daddy
Kate handing back her yogurt after she put on the shawl

She was so happy with it--after she gave Trisha a thank you hug, she ran over to Mike and said "Daddy, I got hugs!"  Just too cute!!


  1. Wonderful pictures...............and 70 pounds. I have worked so hard just to lose 25. You have to be so proud.

    Anyway continue to love the posts.


  2. 70 pounds?!? You're looking downright svelte!

    Mary Lou

  3. 70 pounds?!? You're looking downright svelte!

    Mary Lou

    1. Thanks, Mary Lou! I'm feeling a whole lot better, too.

  4. Love your blog, Jack! Congrats on the 70 lbs lost - Wow! Well done!!!
    Tessa in TX (from Vegan Vagabonds) :)

  5. Tessa, thanks so much for the kind words! You'll never know how much you, Evelyn and Lynne have inspired my wife and me. Never thought I could do this, but I'm hooked!