November 20, 2017

The Red Cloud Ranch Says “I Know Jo, Do You?”

red-cloud-ranch-01By Jo Mixon

Many of the attendees at last Thursday’s Business after Hours, at the Red Cloud Ranch, told me what a great experience they had and although the Red Cloud Ranch has been a member of the Angel Fire Chamber of Commerce since 2001 (13 years) they had no idea it was such a wonderful secluded Bed and Breakfast.

Because of the many comments, I wanted to rerun the “I Know Jo” article I wrote about them a few years back. I have mixed photos from the original story and the business after hours. So please enjoy!

Red Cloud Ranch
Stevie Bass & Ken Gallard

You know, whenever I visit one of our Chamber member businesses, I think it is the greatest place I’ve ever been. But the next week comes around and I find yet another member whose business is absolutely magical! This week my grandson Greg and I had the privilege of spending time with Stevie Bass and her husband Ken Gallard at their little piece of heaven on earth. Nestled in the forest high on the mountain between Angel Fire and Taos, is their Red Cloud Ranch Retreat. It is a rustic working cattle ranch that they open to the public in June, July and August as a Bed & Breakfast. Serene, secluded and sacred are the words that came to mind as they toured us around the grounds.

Twenty-four years ago, Ken and Stevie purchased the 220 acres and began restoration on the old hunting lodge, the only building on the property at the time. It dates back to the 1930’s. With their two young children in tow, they spent the first few summers living in tents as they renovated the cabin, turning it into what is now the Welcome Cabin where guests are served a gourmet breakfast, as they look out over a brook fed trout pond to the majestic Wheeler Peak and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

They spent the first six years at the ranch without water or electricity! It is obvious that this ranch is a labor of love! They now have two other guesthouses, which are available for rent in the summer months. A perfect place to relax and unwind from the fast paced stress of city life. They want your stay to be a “rejuvenating and healthful experience”. With an emphasize on serving healthy natural foods, Stevie uses fresh organic items from her garden whenever possible. She serves only hormone free meats and no trans fats. The real secret treat I discovered is that Inn Keeper Stevie is a well-known nationally published food stylist and recipe creator. Better Homes and Gardens featured the food of Red Cloud Ranch in an 18-page spread in June ’96. I’d say you might not want to miss her breakfast!

They also put emphasis on keeping their land as a traditional wildlife habitat. Land stewardship is what Ken calls it. No motorized vehicles are allowed past the cabins. All of the work on the ranch is done on horseback. We took a hike on the Nature Trail Stevie and Ken have cleared. It into an interpretive nature-hiking trail, complete with 55 stations along the way, that explains the flora and fauna and give environmental facts about the forest. Greg’s favorite was the Ponderosa Pine Tree, or as Ken called it the Ice-Cream Tree. A few years ago, he and Stevie were horseback riding in the forest and an aroma filled the air. They could not explain the phenomenon. He said it smelled like jamocha almond fudge ice cream. Ken said he finally got off the horse and stuck his nose into the bark of the Ponderosa Pine and sure enough this was the source of the smell! With a little caution Greg stuck his nose to the tree and let out a joyful giggle and said it does! So I had to try it, too. They are absolutely right, jamocha almond fudge. I swear I could even smell the waffle cone! Also dotting their trail are many whimsical creatures that Stevie has artistically created out of wood she has found in the forest.

As an added personal pampering touch for her guests at the Ranch, Stevie provides monogrammed robes both for adults and children. And they photograph their guests, sending them the photos after their stay. This brings me to another fascinating fact I learned about our hosts. Ken has his own internationally known “side-line”. His extreme ski and lifestyle photography is published in many magazines in the US and Canada. I googled him later and found his photography to be beautifully breathtaking.

I highly recommend a stay at the Red Cloud Ranch. Included in their rates is a four-day special, the fourth day is half-priced and a week special, the seventh day is free. Spend your days in the relaxing untouched beauty of the ranch as you hike, bike, bird watch, fish or canoe in the pond, or simply enjoy the solitude while you soak in the hot tub.

Visit their website, www.redcloudranch.com for a virtual tour. Or call Stevie at 575-751-0015. Tell her Jo sent you!

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