Sylvan Scenery

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…

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…

Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch, west of Loveland, Colorado, encompasses about 3200 acres, 5 square miles of foothills beauty, a naturalist’s paradise.

This is "up-and-down country." Elevations range from 5140 ft. along the Big Thompson River in the Big Valley to 7340 ft. on the north slope of Palisade Mountain above Cedar Park. That is some 2200 feet of elevational range, a greater range than in 15 of the 50 states!

old-hay-rake-cedar-park

Old hay rake in Cedar Park ⇱

Read more on Elevation and Biodiversity…

20130529-faucet-in-grass-field

Water pump in the River Pasture ↗

If you live in Colorado, you know we had a rather dry winter… but then along came April.

Average precipitation for Northern Colorado in April is about two inches, but this past April brought more than four inches of water to the region, and with the rain, greener pastures.

Last night brought a steady rain that continued into early afternoon. The result of all this spring, Colorado precipitation is a delightfully green, and wet, landscape.

I hope you enjoy these fresh photos taken around the ranch this afternoon—no need to get green with envy—we’re happy to share the views! If you think you know where some of the ‘less obvious’ shots were taken, post your answers below.

Related Stories:

And, speaking of “green,” do you know about Sylvan Dale’s green practices? Since 1946, “green” practices have been integral to the Ranch.

Our Sustainability Mission:
To apply practices in our daily work routine that support a sustainable operation in harmony with the natural environment through the principles of ‘Reduce-Reuse-Recycle’.”

cow-camp-cookin.jpg

Dave and Art at the Cow Camp grill ⇱

One of my favorite spring rituals at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch is the first trip to Cow Camp—to make sure facilities are guest-ready. Until April we had about the driest winter on record, so the trail would have been passable about any time. When snow finally arrived—in what was officially spring!—we got a typical foothills winter’s worth of moisture in a couple of weeks. So the 4-wheel drive trail has been muddy and impassable. This is the first week I could get in without tearing up the trail or burying my pickup!

Read more on Sylvan Dale’s Cow Camp Looks Beautiful!…

Goodbye Fall, Hello Winter…for today anyway!
Colorado is known for its unique "summer today, winter tomorrow" weather. Yesterday was a comfortable light-shirt day — today, no so much.

While locals were enjoying the temperate weather in the 70s just days ago, beginning last night, the region received its first "official" snow of the season.

I waited too late to capture the white frosting fully covering the grounds early this morning but here’s a few samples of what still lingered on the leaves, and lawn and beyond. By the time you see these, the snow will have all but vanished!

Blue Spruce by Rainbow Lake

Blue Spruce by Rainbow Lake

Jesse King

Jesse King

About this same time in 2010, the waters at Sylvan Dale underwent a minor transformation as Bonfils-Stanton’s Jesse King rescued a dozen submerged river rocks, placing their natural talent for grace and balance on display. Of course, it was really Jesse’s talent being showcased, but he couldn’t have done it without Sylvan Dale’s stable stones! ;-)

The Bonfils-Stanton Foundation’s team returned this year for another group event and once again Jesse returned to the river, fishing the cool waters to find the best candidates to upright, building another ephemeral testament to the beauty of simplicity. View the photos from this year and 2010 below.

Read more on Return to “Sylvanhenge” – Rise of the Rocks…

Jesse King, a guest at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch during Bonfils Stanton Foundation’s company retreat, took a break from the activities to create a wonderful display of balance. More than a dozen actually. Despite the rising waters from the rains the stones remain steadfast.

It’s not Stonehenge but still impressive to see; slender stones peacefully projecting skyward from the rushing waters of the Big Thompson River. One might say it’s symbolic of what happens during a stay at Sylvan Dale. Finding balance in the oftentimes riotous current of life.

Shall we call it Sylvanhenge? Hmmm.

Finding Balance at Sylvanhenge
view the photo gallery