Waunita Smoke Signals
Volume 5, No. 4, Newsletter 2013, Gunnison, Colorado
A Big Thank You!
Bouquets to our exceptional 2012 summer staff, our gracious summer lodge hosts AND all the folks who stepped into the "Waunita world" for a few days of ranch fun and relaxation!
Last summer we entertained guests from 27 states and 4 foreign countries. 43% of these guests had visited the ranch previously and another 29% were brought or referred by former guests. As in recent years, many new guests learn about Waunita by way of the internet and the various associations to which we belong.
Some Highlights from Summer/Fall
After a mild winter and a dry June, then July and August rains revived our corner of the mountains, leading into a gorgeous September and early October. Thankfully, the summer forest fires did not affect this part of Colorado.
A special "treat" last summer was our "resident artist" in June. Mary Ann Cox, an artist and art teacher from Tifton, GA, was on hand to guide guests through the fine points of "painting-for-fun." She has agreed to return next summer for several weeks.
In September we again hosted a weekend event for the Colorado Model A Car Club. Those old cars parked in front of the lodge always make you think you have been transported back to the 1930's. To our surprise, several club members drove their cars to the Alpine Tunnel!
The 2012 ranch season ended in early October with the first annual Living History Weekend – featuring Civil War period costumes, tools and firearm demonstrations. There was also a Mountain Man exhibit, along with food vendors and hours and hours of live music. We're already planning next year's History Weekend – with more of the favorite events.
It's Now Early 2013...
Snow covers the valley and we are geared up for a busy winter – PLUS looking forward to a great 2013 summer season! We hope that many of you will come our way to enjoy Waunita Hot Springs Ranch and its many activities!
This winter, as in past years, we'll be hosting groups for Bed & Breakfast stays, skiing, snowmobiling, retreats and meetings. This corner of the Rocky Mountains is especially serene during the winter.
Summer 2013 will find us riding the forest trails, galloping in nearby meadows, playing games in the arena and enjoying the mountain scenery between the 9,000 ft. ranch location and 12,300 ft. Stella Mountain or 11,500 ft. Baldy. We're also planning some nature hikes, floating on the Gunnison River or rafting the Taylor River, as well as fishing in our stocked pond, Tomichi Creek, the Gunnison River, and Taylor Reservoir north of the ranch.
Summers are also for cookouts at our breakfast site near the Mullinger Mine, brunch at Hurley's Mine and dinner at Canyon Creek. Add to all that the hay ride, square dancing, skeet shooting, and the Friday night Western music show – featuring songs like "Colorado Horses," "The Ballad of Rod," "Itty Bitty Cowboy," and "I'm My Own Grandma," to name a few.
Did I mention soaking in our huge swimming pool fed by our crystal clear hot springs? Or something about our food? Wholesome and "plenty of it," prepared with care, with attention given to guests who need special diets.
The Ranch Family
Rod and Junelle talk about retiring, but enjoy living at the ranch, where they are available to "lend a hand." Ryan and Tammy very capably manage the lodge and programs. Tammy continues to be involved with "Sophia's Kitchen," a meal ministry for local high school girls. Ryan recently completed his second term on the Colorado Dude & Guest Ranch Association Board of Directors. Randi is enrolled in a cake decorating course in Denver, while working at a bakery. She plans to return next summer to help her brother Kolby manage the barn. Kolby will spend the winter feeding horses and helping with ranch maintenance. Dani is playing on the Gunnison High School JV basketball team, so will log a lot of hours travelling with the team to games throughout Western Colorado.
Away from the Ranch Family
Rod S. and Elisabeth live and work in Abilene, TX. Their son, Josh, and wife, Kallie, were blessed last summer with a daughter (our third great-granddaughter), Parker Elisabeth. Son, Logan, is now living at Narrow Gate, a youth ministry near Nashville. Wes and Kari live and teach in Farmington, NM, while making plans to retire in 2014 and move to Tulsa, OK. The "attractions" there are daughter Jessica and granddaughters, Ava and Liv. Their son Brody currently works in the Denver area.