Archaeological investigations have documented that the San Luis Valley was utilized by various Native American cultures for thousands of years. The earliest time period, the Paleo-Indian stage (approximately 11,500 B.P. to 7,800 B.P.), was characterized by highly mobile, specialized big-game hunters whose sites are sometimes associated with the remains of extinct megafauna such as mammoth, bison, camel, and ground sloths.
A lone hunter weaves his way through the sagebrush islands pockmarking the sand of the San Luis Valley. He left at daybreak, just as he has on countless autumn mornings before this. His breath, suspended and frozen in the air, reflects the color of the fiery sunrise barely eclipsing the peaks of the Sangre De Cristos before him and wraps him in an ethereal halo against a background of blue shadows.
Bison Works, which takes place annually at the Medano-Zapata Ranch, is a photographer’s dream. Running bison kicking up clouds of dust, early fall light, and the chance to get up close and personal with one of our continent’s most iconic animals species. We’ve rounded up our all-time favorite photos from many years of photographers capturing this special time of year.
For six years, Nick Chambers, aka Chef Funghi, has managed Valley Roots Food Hub, a distributor of locally grown produce located in Mosca, Colorado. Besides supplying truly local produce to consumers across Southern Colorado, Nick’s operation supplies the majority of produce featured on Chef Chase Kelly’s menu at Ranchlands’ Zapata Ranch.
Next fall Zapata Ranch will be hosting a writing workshop with award-winning American author Pam Houston.
“The Crane is wildness incarnate. High horns, low horns, silence, and finally a pandemonium of trumpets, rattles, croaks… a new day has begun on the crane marsh. A sense of time lies thick and heavy on such a place. Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty. It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language.”
Feeding hungry guests after a long day of ranch work is no small task, but Chase Kelley is no stranger […]
Thousands of years ago, a large plate in the Earth’s surface shifted. This rift created the San Luis Valley in Colorado, a valley roughly the size of Connecticut. As the plate rifted and rotated it pushed up a large mountain formation we refer to today as the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. The San Juan mountains, which form the southwest border of the Valley, were formed due to violent volcanic activity.
We have a wild rhubarb plant growing behind an old building at Zapata, so last week I harvested some of the rhubarb and made a simple compote that goes great on toast or mixed into some yogurt and granola.
This recipe makes one 8 inch galette or two 4 inch galettes.