BEAR BASIN RANCH, SOUTHERN COLORADOBear Basin Ranch, Westcliffe, Colorado. Photo copyright (c) Jim Doty, Jr.
Last Friday, I was in southern Colorado taking pictures with Bob Walker, my brother-in-law and photo buddy. After taking pictures in the Wet Mountain Valley and the Sangre de Cristo mountains, we headed to Westcliffe for lunch. Westcliffe is a small, delightful, mountain valley town with a population that is around 460 and growing. Cabin, Bear Basin Ranch, Westcliffe, Colorado. Photo copyright (c) Jim Doty, Jr.
We stopped a cowboy on Main Street (one look and you knew he was the real deal) and asked him about a good place to eat. (We learned later his name is Ryan.) He sent us to Poag Malone's and said their ruben sandwich was good. He was right - the food was great. If you are in Westcliffe, it is a good place to eat. Coincidentally, Dory who waited on us at Poag Malone's, is Ryan's girlfriend. She asked what we were doing in Westcliffe. When we told her we were taking pictures, she invited us to visit the Bear Basin Ranch 11 miles east of town and take some pictures.Bear Basin Ranch, Westcliffe, Colorado. Photo copyright (c) Jim Doty, Jr.
After taking some pictures south of town, we headed out to the ranch. We are glad we did. This is a real and rustic ranch, complete with a pair of "little houses out back" which are shared by everyone living and working on the ranch. In an interesting combination of the new mixed in with the old, electricity at the ranch is provided by solar collectors on some of the roofs.
The ranch is located in the rolling hills at the eastern edge of the Wet Mountain Valley, with a view of the Sange de Cristo Mountains to the west.
By the time we arrived, Ryan was back at the ranch. He is the manager of the horse ranch part of the operation. We also met Dave, Michelle, Bob, and Phyllis who are responsible for all the events that go on at the ranch. We spent some time learning about the packtrips, hunting, photography, and other events sponsored by the the ranch. Then we wandered around and took some photos.Bear Basin Ranch, Westcliffe, Colorado. Photo copyright (c) Jim Doty, Jr.
We were invited into one couple's home, a 300 square foot, one room cabin. Our host pointed out the office in one corner, the bedroom in another, and the kitchen and living room on the other side of the room. All the comforts of home in one room. The photo below was taken from the kitchen/living room, looking toward the office (left) and bedroom (right). You can see the loft over the office and bedroom. We enjoyed the wonderful hospitality that was extended to us. We were invited to take pictures inside the cabin. I took a couple of still shots and I did one panorama that I will stitch together when I get to my computer at home.
If you think about it a bit, it is pretty remarkable for someone to invite two strangers into their home and invite them to take pictures. It reminded me of a simpler and more trusting time.Cabin, Bear Basin Ranch, Westcliffe, Colorado. Photo copyright (c) Jim Doty, Jr.
After our enjoyable visit, it was time to head down the road. We were grateful that a chance meeting in Westcliife led to an invitation to visit a working horse ranch. I'm sorry I have no horse photos, the horses were all elsewhere on the 5,000 acre ranch at the time of our visit. I would love to go back for one of the roundups.
You can learn more about the packtrips at Bear Basin by going here
and learn about the new photography shoot outs here
. They also have rock climbing, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, hiking, and camping for singles, couples, families, and groups.
Bob and I send our thanks to all the friendly folks at Bear Basin for all of the hospitality extended to us. My apologies if I didn't get someone's name right.
You can learn more about Westcliffe, Colorado here
, and here
.Bear Basin Ranch, Westcliffe, Colorado. Photo copyright (c) Jim Doty, Jr.