The Christmas tree ride is a high pressure photo moment, somewhat akin to dressing up one’s family for the perfect family photo. I love the way the tree envelopes Carter and bobs along down the trail. Once the tree is secure, the procession down launches quickly, ideally with few or no stops. The guides were tolerant of my photography quest. The angle of the sun was not. This classic handsome tree, horse and guide combo amidst beautiful mountains and sky is ok, but the photo I liked best is the back view of the whole ensemble disappearing into the canyon.

I find the Christmas season to be similarly fleeting and rich ~ the build up and busyness, family logistics, and then the day itself grabs me wholly. Whatever your faith, the rituals of holidays offer moments to connect. But it is different this year! Everyone is stretching to be ok with the necessary changes. We have many fewer guests than usual, but scarcity encourages us to cherish what we do have all the more! Our crew contributes daily to all the normal ranch work plus the special touches and flexibility required by our Covid-Care program. Like all of you, we look forward to the time when it is easier for people to be together again!

Many of you have asked how things are going. Here are the basics. We are open and business is roughly 50% off the norm. Our crew is fantastic. Guests who have visited seem comfortable with and supportive of our covid-care operational changes. It is one of the driest years ever and we’re feeding vast quantities of hay. We have seven lovely foals that were recently weaned. Our family and crew are healthy, including Charley and Tom’s mother Jan who is buckled in tightly at her residence in Tucson. We are trying some new things to enable our friends from afar to participate in our 75th anniversary celebration by purchasing limited edition items from our new online store, as well as one of 75 gift cards for one week vacations. The gift cards are available through the online store, but if you’d like to support the ranch a little more, consider contacting the office and purchasing the gift card with a check (to avoid the credit card fees). And when the moment is right for you, we hope you’ll visit!

In closing, we wish you and yours happy holidays and the launch of a peaceful and healthy new year. Savor the simple things and encourage the spirit of the holidays to settle with you for a few days. Here are a few lovely moments I enjoyed on my hike to the Christmas tree spot, all in holiday red.

With love on behalf of all the Miller Family and Elkhorn Crew

Mary Miller

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