“COLORADO SUMMER”

 

Deer Valley Ranch – Nathrop, Colorado

Lodge

Salida Golf Club – Salida, Colorado
 
River Rafting at Deer Valley Ranch Colorado
Noah’s Ark – White Water Rafting – Arkansas River
Buena Vista, Colorado
 
Years ago we were searching for a vacation spot out of the Texas heat.  We began our search in January and February.  Our search led us to a Christian dude ranch in the Rocky Mountains near Nathrop, Colorado.  I had never heard of a Christian dude ranch, so I figured it meant there was a lack of wild partying, etc.  Anyway, we booked a room in the lodge for a week in July.  (On a later visit we rented a cabin)  We arrived on Sunday afternoon and got all settled in.  That night in Centennial Hall we had a sing-a-long.  We used a hymnbook for the song selections.  I began to believe this was really a Christian dude ranch.  When I found out about the early morning men’s bible study, I knew I was in the right place.
 
As luck would have it, the week we had selected was the week that most of the guests were from Texas and so it was called “Texas Week.”  The staff were all college students and many of them had stayed at Deer Valley Ranch with their parents.  There were too many activities for me to list in the post.  The great part about the activities was that you could do them all or just relax.  I tried a combination of activities and relaxing…heavy on the relaxing.
 
The food was great!!!   One day we drove south to Salida to play golf.  We planned to eat at the Salida Golf Club and play golf.  This would allow us plenty of time to get back to the lodge for dinner.  The meal was a “Mexican Buffet” and we had been told it was great…so we didn’t want to miss that.
 
We were paired up with an older couple for a round of golf.  The first hole was a Par 5.  The woman we played with was not a long ball striker.  In fact, she was probably a little less that a short ball striker.  It know that it would be impossible for her to lose a golf ball…unless all present closed their eyes and had no hint of the direction she hit the ball.  Pam doesn’t hit the ball a long distance, but it is always down the middle of the fairway…sickening.  This lady hit the ball maybe 50 yards….maybe.  On the first hole I think I had a par, the other man had a bogey, and Pam reported a double-bogey 7.  This lady said…ME TOO!!!  Pam and I just looked at each other.  She had probably hit her seventh stroke about halfway between the tee box and the green.  But, I gave her a 7 on the scorecard.  They were a sweet couple and fun to play with.  Hole number 8 had a pond from tee to green and was about 110 yards for the women.  We all hit and I thought she would probably “pass” on the water hazard.  The distance across the pond was twice the distance of any shot she had made on the other holes.  But, she proudly steps up and tees the ball.  She hit less than half-way across the water and with her fists clenched, stomped the ground and said DARN!  After finishing nine holes, we decided to return to the lodge for Mexican food…we would never finish 18 holes with this couple.
 
One afternoon we went to Noah’s Ark for white-water rafting on the Arkansas River.  Lyndsey and I thought we were tough enough to not wear a wet suit.  Bad decision!  The water was only 34 degrees because a few days earlier it was snow and ice in the mountains.  Before the guides loaded each group in their raft, there was a time of instruction…mainly safety.  After the safety instructions, the head guide said that we were going to have prayer.  He said that if anyone didn’t believe in prayer, they could go stand in another location….we were going to have prayer right there.  I thought at the time that maybe the river was dangerous if the head guide wouldn’t leave dry land without prayer.  The rafting was great.  Lyndsey and I soon understood why we needed to wear a wet suit.  We had only used the slippers.  When Lyndsey turned “blue.” with teeth chattering, our guide beached the raft and gave her some warm clothing.
 
For a few years we would travel back to Deer Valley.  One year we would take all the family to the beach and the next year our little family would go to Colorado.
 
A Christian dude ranch is not about the lack of wild parties and living.  It’s about the activities that are promoted that bring Glory to God.  It is the same with being a Christian.  It is not about the lack of worldly activities in our lives.  It is about growing in our relationship with God.  I don’t think Deer Valley Ranch would have sent us to Noah’s Ark if this guide service were not a prayerful group.  I admire young men like the head guide.  He was very bold and unashamed to stand on a huge rock and pray for his group of rafters before they loaded in the rafts.  I had the feeling that he was not in fear for the group’s rafting trip.  I felt he saw the need for prayer in all circumstances.  I have come to know that this is true.  Prayers are necessary in all seasons and all occasions.
 
 
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