Monday, January 7, 2013

Home Ranch Winter Getaway, Clark, Colorado

         Entering this Currier and Ives Christmas-card scene by motor car seems wrong some how.  A horse-drawn sleigh should be carrying us to the entrance of Home Ranch in Clark, Colorado . . .

"It'll nearly be like a picture print from Currier and Ives..."
This quote from the song "Sleigh Ride" describes our feelings
on arrival at Home Ranch.
         The Ranch’s cheerful employees greet us as we walk in the door; we’re shown to our room, The Bonanza, where we unload our bags and suit up for an afternoon of cross-country skiing.  Aspen Arches trail takes off through a tunnel of aspens, and skirts the horse pasture.  

Tim skies the Aspen Arches trail.

         After skiing we have a tough decision to make—lounge in our room or soak in the outdoor hot tub?  We choose the hot tub and watch a family flying down the hill behind us on inner tubes, their screams of exhilaration the only noise filling this peaceful afternoon.
         Dining at the ranch takes place in a large rectangular room; a wood burning fireplace adorns one end, two long tables fill the remaining space.  It’s a communal dining experience and, if that’s not your style, you’re out of luck at The Home Ranch.  This evening we dine with a family from Connecticut.   Jackie and Franz (originally from Holland) and their two kids have been vacationing at Home Ranch for the past six years, and they love these western adventures.

Hot tub in the foreground (intentionally left dark) and tubing hill
in the background.
         The following morning, after a breakfast of flapjacks and poached eggs, we dress in our long-johns and winter coats for a ride on the feed sleigh.  We walk to the barn and find two Percherons named Bob and Bill hitched to the sleigh.  Six other people arrive for the ride and soon we’re on our way.  Our sleigh enters the horse pasture and our wrangler Brady asks for volunteers to unwrap the 1,500 pound bale of hay and spread it about for the herd.  Tim busies himself with that chore—he says it’s hard work!—while I inquire about the use of draft horses.  Brady tells me that Home Ranch prefers feeding its animals with horses and sleigh, as opposed to tractors and ATV’s.  Nice and quiet.  But these brutes eat a lot of hay during the winter—up to 50 pounds a day for each of the 1,700 pound draft horses.

Rita and Tim pose with Bob and Bill.

Tim (green coat and brown hat) helps with feeding time
in the pasture.
         This afternoon we sign on for a 45 minute horseback ride in the snow.  I ride gentle Sequoia and Tim rides Hopi on our escorted outing, weaving through meadows and aspen trees.  After the ride it’s time for a final ski on the Big Meadow trail.  The views stretch from horizon to horizon, from valley floor to mountain peaks.  

Rita and Sequoia out for an afternoon ride.

The Lone Ranger rides again: Tim and Hopi cut a
striking figure on the trail.

Tim skies the Big Meadow with its expansive views.

        It may not have inspired a Currier and Ives print, but a winter weekend at Home Ranch combines 19th century outdoor experiences with 21st century lodging for an unforgettable stay. 
Visit this website to plan your own Colorado winter getaway:

Interested in Ranch Vacations?  Read my previous posting about a trip to Lone Mountain Ranch in Montana.


  1. Wow Rita! Home Ranch appears to be a simply terrific place for a huge variety of activities for winter fun. I'd say that if you couldn't find something here to enjoy, then you must not like winter!

    Lastly, I must tell you that the shadow image of Tim riding a horse is awesome! It does indeed look just like the shadow that would be cast by the Lone Ranger himself! Hi ho Silver!


    1. Hi John,

      Home ranch does indeed provide a variety of activities for every taste and age group, including just lounging in the lodge if that's what you're in the mood for.

      I'm glad that you liked the "Lone Ranger" photo. I've been including some of these shadow photographs in my posts lately. They're fun to take!

      Thanks for your comments!

  2. Hi Rita,

    I think you inspired me this weekend - I took a bunch of "shadow shots" while at Red Rock Canyon outside Las Vegas as the sun was dipping in the sky.

    What a great vacation spot for old-timey winter fun. Those draft horses sound amazing. Are they built differently than regular horses? Taller? More muscles?

    What a peaceful, beautiful setting for your latest trip - so glad you were able to enjoy a real winter wonderland on your holiday vacation!

  3. Hi Vickie,

    Draft horses are the traditional "work horses" of the equine world; the Amish still use them to plow their fields. They are typically much larger and more muscular than regular horses and are often referred to as "gentle giants". The famous Budweiser Clydesdales are draft horses.

    We're happy to have inspired you to take shadow shots of your own! As always, I appreciate your comments.