web serverSylvanDale.com and Sylvand Dale’s Colorado Dude Ranch blog were moved to a new, more powerful server last Thursday. Although the migration required service disruption for a couple days, everything is now back in order.

Rocky Mountain Computer Solutions, the company that has provided network systems support to Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch, and hosted Sylvan Dale’s websites for many years, managed the migration of the two websites to the new server. RMCS continues to offer outstanding support, and Sylvan Dale’s remaining websites will soon be migrated as well.

Past visitors to SylvanDale.com will find the newly moved website noticeably more responsive and the pages quicker to load. We are excited for the better online experience this change will provide to all of our online guests.

Thanks to RMCS, issues that were ailing the old site (like slow and partial page loading, and occasional blank, “white pages”) should now be a thing of the past, and if you haven’t visited our site recently, we invite you for a ‘quick’ visit!

Filed under Miscellaneous by on #

2013 Big Thompson Fundraiser T-shirt

Big Thompson Fundraiser T-shirt


Cowboy Up and Get Your 2013 Big Thompson Fundraiser T-shirt!

Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch is trying to recover from the Big Thompson Flood. The funding from the t-shirts will go to cleaning, rebuilding, and getting the their feet back under the business. Do your part and cowboy up with a helping hand.

— David J. Hart

Get your t-shirt here: https://www.booster.com/bigthompson

Editor’s Note: While this entry is by a season member, day guests have always been able to fly fish our private waters with at least a 1/2-day guided trip w/guides available from 12+ shops around NoCo. Support Sylvan Dale in rebuilding, but also local fly shops & professional guides who have also taken a big hit during the Colorado Floods.  Email Fishing@SylvanDale.com for details.

“I enjoyed the private waters of Sylvan Dale on Wed, Sept 25 with fly fishing buddies Frank and Dave. It was a gorgeous sunny fall day with high Big Valley View from Easttemps in the mid 70s and little wind. While other parts of the ranch were hard hit by the flood, including the lower bass ponds and river, the valley was almost untouched, except for some road issues. Read more on Fly Fishing Member: “Get Your Big Fish Fix at Sylvan Dale!”…

Filed under Conditions, Fishing by on #

The Wagon Wheel Bunkhouse, flood 2013

The Wagon Wheel Bunkhouse

Dear Friends of Sylvan Dale,

Shock and awe. Twice in two days.

First came the massive torrent that ripped through our beloved Sylvan Dale Ranch during the pre-dawn hours of Friday, September 13. Linda and I, and Susan and her Dave, couldn’t believe our eyes. How could another “500-year storm” happen only 37 years after the one that menaced our parents, Maurice and Mayme Jessup? This time, unbelievably, the destruction was even greater than the famous flood of 1976. You can view the damage on the video below. Read more on A Flood of Water; A Flood of Support…

Cassie

September H.O.T.M. — Cowboy

Cowboy, a cream colored buckskin gelding, has become one of the most requested mounts at Sylvan Dale. Born in 1996 out of Judy and by Sylvan, Cowboy enjoys working both in the arena and on the trail with any skill level.

Both children and adults alike love competing in Gymkhana events with Cowboy since he’s such a well-rounded horse. But watch out when you turn that 3rd barrel towards home because he really wants to win that blue ribbon! And since Cowboy’s bloodlines date back to the great cutting horse sire, Doc Bar, he is surely true to his name and great at working with cows.

Cowboy’s full sisters are Jewell and Valley Girl. All three of them love helping to jingle the horses and roundup the cows, pinning their ears back as a message to others to move out of their way.

Visit our Horse of the Month page

What A Race It Was!

2013 USA Pro Challenge Stage 6 Recap


August 24, 2013 will be a busy and exciting day at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch as sixteen world-class professional cycling teams sprint by on the second to the last leg of the 2013 USA Pro Challenge — twice.   We’re Cranked!

USA Pro Challenge Sizzle Video

Staff and guests will get the opportunity to catch all the action of this once in a lifetime event as it passes by twice; the action will come from both directions as the peloton races by on the trek to Estes Park in the early afternoon, and again en route to Old Town Fort Collins, via County Road 27 and Masonville, for the Stage 6 finish.

2013 USA Pro Challenge, Stage 6: Loveland to Fort Collins

…contenders for the Leader Jersey will have only this stage left to make a move or lose it all. The outskirts of Loveland will see the racers off as they spend some early miles on the flat windswept plains passing through Windsor and back to Loveland. Then it’s up Big Thompson Canyon where things will heat up. Split north onto Devils Gulch, the race’s last King of the Mountains competition, before hitting Estes Park and back down Big Thompson. …(USAProCyclingChallenge.com)

Just two weeks to go!

We wish all the riders a safe and successful event, and a good time for all the fans and spectators. Visit the links below to learn more about the race (and the road closures).

Sylvan Dale "Bike" Ranch

Learn More:

Cassie

August H.O.T.M. — Foxy Trail West

Foxy Trail West, a tall palomino mare with a small star on her forehead and a sizable dark spot on her right hind leg, has become a ranch favorite.

Foxy exhibits a curious, alert, and athletic way of going. When she has the chance to take the lead, she loves to stretch her legs and walk out.

Being that she’s a mare, she sometimes makes faces at other horses, but that is no reflection on her friendly and loving nature as a mount.

Foxy Trail West and RiderFoxy has learned a lot about working with cows and has become a steady, dependable girl. Foxy was born in 2004 and was out of Sun Sails (Cassie’s mother) and sired by Dusty.

Her siblings are Heart-J Lady and Silky. Come out and give her a try this year!

Visit our Horse of the Month page

It’s gymkhana time at Sylvan Dale! For those of you who do not know what a gymkhana is, it is an event in which riders play games on horseback. Each week our guests participate in a gymkhana, and winners receive prizes!

The kids played against each other on the horse they were assigned to for the week. They played games such as pole bending, barrel racing, the boot scramble, the cow pie toss, and an egg and spoon race! Adults competed against each other as well and played similar games with added difficulty.

Where does “gymkhana” come from?

Gymkhana is a term that originated from Read more on Gymkhana Time!…

Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch is a great place to visualize patterns and processes of Earth’s history. Earth science students from local middle and high schools as well as the University of Colorado, the University of Northern Colorado, and Colorado State University often use the Ranch for field trips. Patterns of geology are the foundation for everything else, from vegetation to human land use to the awe-inspiring scenery.

Several of the great ages of Earth are on display at Sylvan Dale.

The granite and schist of Green Ridge, Inspiration Point, and Alexander Mountain represent the Precambrian Era.

A view across 1.8 billion years:

A view across 1.8 billion years: from Ice Age Little Canyon of the Big Thompson
to Pre-Cambrian rocks of Alexander Mountain. ⇱

The Paleozoic Era, the “Age of Fishes and Amphibians,” is represented by the Fountain Formation, the oldest of local sedimentary rocks. Most of our sedimentary rocks are from the Mesozoic Era, the “Age of Reptiles.” Cenozoic rocks, from the “Age of Mammals,” are missing from our immediate area, eroded to sandy bits, hauled downstream, gone to rest in the Gulf of Mexico. The last 2 million years, Read more on Earth History at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch…

Craig and Fred, Mother Lake

Craig and Fred, Mother Lake

Ben Miller, professional guide out of Rocky Mountain Anglers and a favorite among guests, enjoyed a day of fly fishing for giant trout this week with his friend Craig (pictured left) and his other long-time friend, Fred (also pictured left ;-).  When he related they had a great day on the waters despite the summer heat, I asked the question all anglers want to know, “What exact fly pattern caught Big Fred? What flies were working well through the day? That is if you divulge your special flies, of course!”

Ben replied, I’m sure sporting a sly, wry smile (though I couldn’t see it through an email), “The fly in question is kinda my secret weapon out there, but I can tell you that large streamers with a fast strip was the answer. Dry droppers worked well in the morning: a juju baetis dropped below a sparkle dun. Small black leeches turned some fish as well on a slow strip.”

Classic answer from a true angling pro!  Ben and other guides who have their own “Secrets of the Hook” at Sylvan Dale’s private fly fishing waters, can be reached at Rocky Mountain Anglers if you want to have a chance at learning that “secret weapon” and other fly fishing skills!

Filed under Conditions, Fishing by on #

Cassie

July Horse of the Month — Cassie

Cassie is a blood bay mare with a small white marking on her forehead and a JVL brand on her left shoulder. She came to the ranch in 2003 from Lost Valley Ranch after most of their pastures had been burned during the Hayman Fire.

For five years, Cassie raised foals for the string! Now she has retired from being a broodmare and is one of the most reliable guest horses here. All ages and abilities just love riding her comfortable gaits.

Cassie does prefer to ride on the trail versus in the arena, but she will of course do both. She also loves to work with the cows! Some of Cassie’s foals (Tee Cross, Sugar T, and Sandy) have followed their mother’s footsteps, turning out be smooth reliable mounts!

Visit our Horse of the Month page

We are honored to have one of Colorado’s top-tier guides, Chris Eussen (of CE Flyfishing & Kirk’s Fly Shop) enjoying our private fly fishing waters with his special clients.

Check out his website link above if you want an adventure with a real pro who shares his life-long love of the great outdoors in a special way!

Way to go Mark! An acrobatic rainbow trophy trout!

Way to go Mark! An acrobatic rainbow trophy trout!

“Arrived on Mother Lake 8am on both Friday 6/7 and Monday 6/10. Lake is full, springs are running, water temps are getting warmer… big fish are still being caught! Both days fished identical. Both leading to trophies! 1st day with 3 anglers (Fred, Jared, and Jake) found fish hungry and active.

On Monday 3 anglers (Fred, Bruce, and Mark) also had a good day with plenty of action.

Fish were taken on Chironomids, Callibeates, and Damsel Nymphs. Read more on Fly Fishing Report ~ Summer Time Hog Hunting!…

Filed under Conditions, Fishing by on #

Sylvan Dale Ranch Livery Stable

On the Rail at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch ⇱


Choosing a quality riding stable

Heads up! If you are looking for a quality horseback riding adventure near Fort Collins or Loveland, you may find the experience is not that easy to find.

A few weeks ago we received a call from our good friend Jeff Anderson at Tip Top Ranch in Bellvue letting us know that they have closed their riding operation and guest facilities. Now, Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch remains the sole riding stable in the area. In this article you will learn how to choose a quality riding stable.

When choosing a riding facility here are some things to look for:

Read more on How to Choose a Quality Riding Stable…

Dillon

June Horse of the Month — Dillon

Dillon came to Sylvan Dale from Lazy U 2 Ranch in 2002. He’s a sorrel gelding with a distinctive roman nose, a large star that blends into a stripe, and a left hind sock. He also has an old scar on his left hip and a lazy U2 brand on his left shoulder.

Dillon is one of Lonnie’s favorite horses! You might see him jingling the horses down to the barn, leading rides, or being the pack horse for a breakfast ride. Being that he proves to be such a solid mount, he is suitable for any rider. As he gets older, he will be used mainly by children and light riders for shorter length rides only.

In the herd, you will often find Dillon hanging out alone. He does tend to be at the low end of the pecking order. While mounted, he does not like horses behind him for fear that they might bite at him! To respect Dillon’s wishes, we place him towards the back of a ride. Unless of course he’s being the wranglers’ horse in which case he feels so special that he can be quite the gentleman. ;)

Visit our Horse of the Month page

cedar-park-grazing-road-crossing

Road Crossing at Cedar Park ⇱

The ecology of Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch is remarkably diverse. Its 3200 acres are ideally situated to include a huge sample of Colorado’s native wildlife. For example, over 60% of the mammalian species of Colorado occur on the Ranch. In fact, Sylvan Dale has more species of native mammals than does the entire state of Iowa.

Maybe the rabbits tell it best. In the grazing lands and hayfields of the Big Valley, a mile east of the Main Ranch, the Big Thompson becomes a lazy, prairie stream and the well-developed riparian vegetation shelters eastern cottontails. The native and tame pastures on the Main Ranch support desert cottontails. The west end of the Ranch, on Palisade Mountain, is habitat for mountain cottontails. Our three species of cottontails demonstrate that Sylvan Dale is a microcosm, a "cross-roads" for species that, combined, range nearly from coast-to-coast—from Washington DC to Washington State, and from Alberta to Costa Rica.

Read more on Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch—Remarkable Ecological Diversity…