Just as the seasons change, so do the activities on the Spruce Creek Ranch located on the Western Slope of Colorado, and outside of a small town named Rifle.
Depending on the time of year of your visit, you are welcome to join in on the ranch work and the heritage of this land. We feel it is important to share our history so that we can continue to use the land for what it was suited for, ranching.
December through April we are feeding the herd of Black Angus cows as they give birth to a new generation. It is always exciting to wake up and find a new, gangly, pitch-black calf, bawling for it’s mama and perhaps wondering why it all of a sudden is so cold outside. If you want to start out your morning in the brisk Colorado air, learning how to buck bales and feed the hungry mouths…we can do that.
As soon as the snow starts melting up high, the ever precious water rights of the ranchers start to come into play, and irrigating season starts. If you are curious we have extra muckin’ boots, and you can learn the art of irrigating (i.e. getting water to run uphill). It is great exercise and combine the oneness that you feel with the land, and the challenge of hitting all of the dry spots actually makes irrigating quite rewarding. Cattle drives are common in the late spring as the ranchers need to get their cattle off of the hay ground and up on the BLM leases so that the cows have plenty of high mountain feed, and the ranchers have time to raise the next crop.
Then as soon as the alfalfa reaches its ripeness, it is time to roll out the swather, baler, and stack wagon and start putting up hay. If you care to learn what each of these pieces of equipment do…we will be happy to show you. When all three of them are working together it is like watching (and listening) to a real western symphony in action. Summer is a great time on the Ranch. The days are long and the nights cool off so that you can enjoy the Colorado outdoors and appreciate and reminisce on how you spent the day.
The cows come home in the Fall, when the nights get too crisp up on the mountain, or when the first snow falls. It is a enigma to most how the cows after grazing several thousand public acres of land, decide to come home, and find their way back to the barn just like homing pigeons (except much, much bigger). They know when it is time to come home. Fall pasture is a luxury and sometimes hard to come by, so we are lucky to have so many hillsides that the cattle can graze around the Lodge. Not to mention they are fun to watch as they continually move and graze. Usually before we are ready, the cold nights turn into cold days and the Winter is upon us again. Thus the feeding and bucking bales cycle starts over and we anxiously start awaiting the arrival of the new baby black angus calves.