As the sun sets, and it’s last rays reach across my meadow, I see far away through the valley and down into the high plains of Colorado. From my vantage, a towering smoke stack sends out a single beacon of light. White swathes of snow break up the greys and browns of winter on the harvested farmlands below.
Our artist, Amy Brackenbury, has captured this poignant ambiance of dusk in northern Colorado in her painting, “When the Lights Come on”. From our perspective in the mountains, we enjoy vivid sweeps of color across the sky and the merry twinkling of lights emanating from a distant cluster of humanity on the Front Range.
Come express your own interpretation of “When the Lights Come on” under the expert and kind guidance of our professional artist. Drink some wine with us, listen to music, enjoy the company of your friends, and paint to your heart’s delight.
When: Saturday, April 9th, 3- 7 p.m.
Family style dinner is included. Please let us know in advance if you have dietary restrictions (gluten free, soy free, etc.)
– Please let us know in advance if you have dietary restrictions (gluten free, soy free, etc.)
– Menu for Saturday, March 26th: Parmesan Breaded Chicken, homemade rolls, mixed vegetables, salad, mashed potatoes, chocolate cake with ice cream
– Menus for other dates available soon
ArtistAmy Brackenburylives on her family’s ranch in the foothills of the Rockies in northern Colorado. She studied art and painting at Colorado State University. When she’s not spending time with her husband & two daughters, her animals, ranch & garden, and a myriad of other creative pursuits, she can be found in her studio painting masterpieces of the Great American West. Her effervescent personality and joie de vivre plainly show in her joyful paintings of her adored animals and sweeping landscapes.
Artist Amy Brackenbury lives where she was raised on her family’s ranch in the foothills of the Rockies in northern Colorado. It is a lifestyle that she loves, in tune with the outdoors, the abundant and varied surrounding wildlife. Living on a ranch gives her an opportunity to work from live subjects.
It was no surprise to Brackenbury’s family when she went to Colorado State University to study art and painting. There were also several proficient artists on both sides of her family. Amy Brackenbury admires oriental art for its sense of composition, negative space, and simplicity. Realism is the style with which she portrays her animal images, with attention focused on the main subject.
Brackenbury paints primarily in acrylics, but for fun she may use oils and may “stray to unrelated abstract subjects.” In between spending time with her husband, artist Lars Larson, her two daughters, the animals, the ranch, the garden, and a myriad of other distractions, Brackenbury finds the time to paint. Her effervescent personality and joie de vivre plainly show in her joyful paintings of her adored animals.
Future painting classes will be guided by Amy’s paintings, such as:
Cutting your own Christmas tree in the forest can be a great family adventure!
Consider visiting us for a night or two of Bed & Breakfast quiet get-away and maybe a bit of horseback riding in the snow. And then, on your way home, stop at the Canyon Lakes Ranger District Christmas Tree Sale!
Christmas tree cutting on the Canyon Lakes Ranger District will be from December 7-15, 2013.
Permits go on sale December 2, 2013.
On the weekend, permits may be obtained at the cutting area. For weekday cutting, permits must be obtained in advance from our offices in Fort Collins at 2150 Centre Avenue, Building E.; Boulder at 2140 Yarmouth Avenue; or Greeley at 660 “O” Street. The District never runs out of permits! The price is $10 per tree, with a limit of five trees per person.
Planning Your Trip
Chains or four-wheel drive vehicles are required.
Snowmobiles, motorcycles and ATVs are prohibited.
From Fort Collins take Highway 287, 21 miles north to Livermore. At Livermore turn left onto County Road 74E (Red Feather Lakes Road). Follow Red Feather Lakes Road 16 miles and turn left onto County Road 68C (Boy Scout Road). Follow Boy Scout Road for seven miles. Signs or Forest Service personnel will direct you into the area.
The sale area will be open during periods of bad weather unless Highway 287 is closed. For more information please visit the Colorado Department of Transportation website.
Smokey Bear’s Cabin
Smokey Bear typically greets visitors for part of the day on Saturdays and Sundays.
Make sure to bring your camera!
There are several miles of roads within the cutting area, so remember to spread out when searching for your tree.
Use a handsaw or axe to cut your tree. Chainsaws are prohibited.
Cut trees only within National Forest boundary and respect surrounding private property.
Cut trees with a stump diameter of 6 inches or less and within six inches of the ground, below any live branches.
Take or scatter any unused portion of your tree.
Attach permit to tree in a visible location.
Do not cut any tree marked with blue paint or designated as a wildlife tree.
Do not forget something to safely tie down your tree.
Pack out all trash.
Safety & Comfort
Roads are narrow and slick with limited sight distance, please use caution.
Drive slowly within cutting area. Park off roads in plowed areas or pull-offs; do not obstruct traffic. One-way traffic only on all roads within the cutting area.
If someone in your group is missing, don’t wait, notify Forest Service personnel immediately.
Have a full tank of gas.
Each year a number of people either lose their keys or lock them in their vehicle. Bring a spare key and give it to another member of your party.
Remember, cell phones may not work in the cutting area.
Expect winter conditions, including below-freezing temperatures and cold winds. Dress warmly.
Bring food and a warm beverage, blanket, shovel and first aid kit.
Don’t forget sunscreen and sunglasses.
Pets are not recommended; dogs must be on a leash if brought into the area.
Visiting Mountain Pine Beetle-Hit Areas
Remember, your safety is your responsibility.
Falling trees are always a hazard when visiting the forest.
Be aware of your surroundings. Avoid dense patches of dead trees. They can fall without warning.
Stay out of the forest when there are strong winds that could blow down trees. If you are already in the forest when the winds kick up, head to a clearing out of reach of any potential falling trees.
Park vehicles in areas where they will not be hit if dead trees fall.
Last summer, Justin rescued a very skinny and remarkably ugly little gray mare named Jazzy.
Under his skillful watch, Jazzy blossomed into a fat and loving all-around children’s horse – a favorite!
In March, Jazzy started looking “funny.” You know, this big bulgy
tummy started sticking out. Not worms, not
melanoma, not too much beer. The obstetrical experts (Justin and Ellen) examined her to find…. a kick! ANOTHER kick! A BABY!
Little nameless filly was born April 12th. Then it snowed, and snowed and its still snowing! So the tractor shed was renovated into the mom and baby nursery, where they are both doing quite nicely, thank you!
Baby is now old enough that she will approach us and allow us to hold her head and pet and generally love on her.
Justin: Best Wishes on your New Dude Ranch Adventure!
Sad for us, a
Great and Joyful Adventure for You!
Although he told us: “I have a dream that when I grow up I will be the CEO of Wal-Mart or NASCAR,” it came as no surprise when Justin told us that he is buying his own dude ranch.
He’s a cowboy through and through, and it will be heart warming to watch his dreams grow and unfold.
On the secret staff Page, Justin introduced himself to his staff with these words:
Hello there my future minions… So Justin Ripley here (Believe It Or Not) I am your Barn Manager but I do anything and everything needed on the ranch. I have a dream that when I grow up I will be the CEO of Wal-Mart or NASCAR until then I am just playing..
I am from Indiana, a Vet Tech, horse trainer, and former Military. I needed a break from the real world so I moved to Colorado a few years ago to follow my childhood dream of working on a dude ranch for a summer. Ends up I refused to leave so I took over managing the ranch for awhile. Then I was off to AZ to play with the rattle snakes and cactus at another ranch. I would not recommend taking up Rattle Snake Charming anytime soon.
Dan and Ellen decided to rescue me from a horrible death from snake bite.. I have been at Sundance since Nov 2010 and have fallen under its spell.
And now the spell of his own place! Yee-haw! Here are his websites:
Justin is now working on fleshing out his Business Plan, Balance Sheets, PPM Offer and all that other fun stuff.
Not sure if Ellen’s “town job” gives us enough income to invest, but we sure do plan on being customers. We can’t wait for the opportunity to visit. Yes, dude ranchers tend to vacation at dude ranches! And summer in Montana is beautiful; both weeks!
Happy trails, Justin. We welcome you into the neighborhood of dude ranchers and wish you all the happiness in the world.
Flat Stanley is a pal of our friend Julian Byrnes from New York. He loves to travel and Julian suggested that he might enjoy experiencing a Colorado Dude Ranch vacation. Flat Stanley arrived and immediately threw himself into the excitement of winter in the Rocky Mountains.
He had to be a little careful on his first few days because it was very windy and blustery up here and he doesn’t have a whole lot of body mass. He was afraid he might blow away!
He braved the wind in the afternoon though to help me feed the horses.
Flat Stanley also helped me feed the chickens.
Finally the wind died down enough for Stanley to go riding with me. He was very excited when he learned that we had a horse named Stanley on the ranch. So here is Flat Stanley riding Little Stanley. We went up into the woods so that Flat Stanley could look out at the Mummy Range of the Rocky Mountains and check out some Aspens and Ponderosa Pine trees.
After a long day on horseback, kicking back in the hot tub is the perfect way to relax.
And even better if it’s followed by an evening in front of a roaring wood fire.
Just before he had to leave, Stanley was lucky enough to meet another ranch friend. Madam Moose stopped by to check on us.
Unfortunately, Flat Stanley had to be on his way. We’ll miss him but we’re sure he’s having a great time in South Carolina with Ellen and Dan. I’m sure there will be more stories of his adventures upon their return. From the staff at Sundance Trail, we hope you had a fabulous winter and have exciting plans for the coming summer. Maybe we’ll see ya up on the mountain!
A very BIG special thanks to Ms. Marian, who was Stanley’s wrangler!
Family Christmas Dude Ranch Vacation: 10% Discount
Details and rates here.
Come join us and relax over a long Holiday weekend. Let us cook and clean! A Christmas Eve Seven Course Dinner, a Family Style Christmas Dinner of Turkey carved at the table; a Champagne Breakfast on Boxing Day: family fun, including for mom!.
Some typical Morning Activities:
Trail Riding, maybe in the snow! With lessons available.
And available Afternoon Activities:
Trap and rifle shooting
Trail Riding, maybe in the snow!
Horse back riding lessons & coaching available
Make and decorate Holiday/Christmas cookies
Decorate the tree (help us find and bring home just the right tree)
Pool Table & Foosball Table
Evening Activities we are planning:
Square Dance (if we have sufficient number of guests)
Cowboy Christmas Music with Lars & Amy
Star-gazing with our family telescope
Evening soak in hot tub
Pool Table & Foosball Table
Hot chocolate & cookies
(Murder Mystery Possible!)
Wine, spirits and beer available at our liquor store.