ranch wear

Eight reasons to visit Colorado

Colorado is the home of the Rocky Mountains, the gateway to the West, filled with pioneer history, real life cowboys, hip towns, hot springs and some of the best hiking, biking, camping and climbing you’re ever likely to find – all only one direct flight away, with British Airways flying to Denver seven times per week.

Winter here is rightly famous, but the adventure lasts all year. In summer, wildflowers carpet the mountain slopes; in autumn, golden hues race through the forests. There are 300 days of sunshine a year, more 14ers (mountain summits over 14,000-feet) than any other state and a festival scene that doesn’t quit - from the spectacular Snowmass Hot Air Balloon Festival where hundreds of balloons fill the sky with colour, to the slightly mad Iron Horse Bicycle Classic (fancy chasing a steam train up a mountain anyone?), Colorado’s got you covered.


Powder dreams

Photo by Dolly1224 on Pixabay

European ski resorts might get all the airtime, but for true winter junkies a Rocky Mountain trip is a must. Powder here is drier, lighter and perfect for carving, plus the runs are empty and enormous. The amount of choice is superb too, from the wide-open bowls of Vail and Breckenridge to the fast lines of Aspen and Snowmass, as well as more than a dozen other world-class winter resorts within a short drive of each other.


Elevated adventure

Photo by Unknown on Pixabay

Colorado is home to 12 national parks and monuments, offering everything from backpacking and horseback riding to rafting, rock climbing and even, in Great Sand Dunes National Park, sand boarding among North America’s highest dunes. Most ski resorts stay open year-round, switching from pistes to downhill mountain biking trails and keeping the lifts running for high-elevation hiking and easy-to-reach panoramic views. The town of Grand Junction makes an excellent adventure base-camp, with some of the best outdoor activities in the state right in its back yard.


Some like it hot

Photo by on kahern Pixabay

Combining the spectacular scenery of the Rockies with five of the hippest hot spring towns in the country, the 720-mile Historic Hot Springs Loop is the best way to soak up Colorado’s healing waters. With 30 natural thermal pools open year-round, highlights include the largest mineral hot springs pool in the world at Glenwood Springs, the soothing natural vapour caves of Ouray and the bubbling delights of Steamboat.


National Parks

Photo by Niagara66 on Wiki Commons 

Rocky Mountain National Park is legendary: a 415-square-mile wilderness of jagged peaks and high alpine lakes home to coyote, black bear and moose. The fun mountain town of Estes Park, a great base from which to explore it, is just 1.5 hours from Denver. There are lesser known national parks too such as Black Canyon of the Gunnison, a spectacular 2,000-foot gorge that rivals the Grand Canyon but draws a fraction of the crowds, and the cliff-dwellings of Mesa Verde, one of the best preserved examples of Native American culture in the country.


Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Photo by VISIT DENVER

If you’re after something a little less strenuous, try Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre – by day it’s a free city park just 30 minutes west of Denver with hiking trials and giant rock formations, by night, an outdoor music venue that has hosted everyone from The Beatles to local jazz, rock and bluegrass artists.


The Wild West

Photo by VISIT DENVER

From ghost towns and vintage trains to working cowboy ranches and the largest rodeo in the world, Denver’s annual National Western Stock Show and Rodeo (as well as the first: the Deer Trail Rodeo which started in 1869) – the Wild West is alive and kicking in Colorado. 

Saddle up or join a cattle drive, and you’ll feel the spirit of that old frontier still; footprints of dinosaurs embedded in stone, petroglyphs carved into cliffs, rivers where you can pan for gold. 

Want to look the part? Head to Rockmount Ranch Wear in downtown Denver, where Western icon, Jack A. Weil, invented the first cowboy shirt with poppers instead of buttons and popularised Western wear into popular culture.


Hop Heaven 

Photo by VISIT DENVER

With more craft breweries per capita than any other state, Colorado is heaven for hop heads. Denver’s Great American Beer Festival is the largest craft beer event in the country while the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival is set in a spectacular valley. But, it’s the little-known gems that really catch the eye: The Grimm Brothers, serving fable-inspired brews in Loveland, and the mountain views from Avery’s enormous outdoor patio in Boulder, are two local favourites. 

Get the true lowdown on a self-guided tour along the Denver Beer Trail and sample everything from stouts to lagers.


Sports Mad

Photo by colour line on Wiki Commons 

Denver is Bronco’s country. When Colorado’s American Football team plays, the whole city dresses in orange to support. Catch games live at the Blake Street Tavern in the heart of downtown. But with seven premier sports teams in all, don’t stop there. On a warm summer night, hot dog in one hand, cold beer in the other, there’s no better place to be than Coors Field, home of The Rockies baseball team.


On the Rails

Photo by Carol M. Highsmith on Wiki Commons 

The steam-powered Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway, built in 1882, cuts spectacularly through the canyons and remote mountains of the San Juan National Forest – a journey taken by Colorado’s first pioneers more than a century ago.  While vintage train lovers will adore Pikes Peak Cog Railway, near Colorado Springs. The highest cog railway on the planet, it climbs to the 14,114-foot summit of Pike’s Peak, the view from here inspired the song America the Beautiful

Plan your Colorado holiday with British Airways


Words by Aaron Millar

Header Photo by VISIT DENVER

The Ranch (Part 2)

Inspired by this beautiful piece of art by @tane-p

Note: The Ranch renames the centaurs they capture. Part of breaking down their identities. I’m thinking maybe one or two more parts to this story. Maybe more if I get a real wild hare.

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He gets left out to his hunger and thirst twice more. Once, because his flanks aren’t for the grubby ranch hands to pet, and once, because he literally bit the hand that fed him. He’s not an animal, anyone who tries to give him apple slices as treats as if he is one deserves what’s coming to them. It’s after a week of not giving them a reason to withhold food and water, that he is declared tamed enough to be moved from his post to the stable where they keep the other centaurs.

He hasn’t seen any of his own kind up close since his capture. Occasionally he’ll see somebody being rushed from one place in the ranch to another off in the distance, but they’ve been keeping him isolated. Maybe they were worried he’d spread unrest. Despite how they treat them as laborers, pets, or vehicles for entertainment, the humans in charge of breaking them, seem to be very aware of how dangerous they can be if they put their minds to it.

One of the ranch hands leads him to one of a the few big stables he’s been able to see from the post. The relief from the noon day sun stepping inside provides is immediately counteracted by the smell of too many people cooped up in too small of a place. Tiny stalls line the walls of the room he’s taken into. Each one just barely big enough for a full grown centaur to turn around in. Tall sturdy gates with sharp points prevent anyone that doesn’t want to gut themselves from clambering out, and floor to ceiling walls on either side seem more to prevent fraternization than to grant the occupants any kind of privacy.

Curious eyes follow him as he’s led by. Most of the stalls are empty at this time of day for various reasons, but those that aren’t, want to get a good look at the new guy. Keith is just as curious about them. One of the things he can’t help noticing is that most don’t have their arms tied back in either ropes like himself or the fancier leather holders he knows the humans prefer they wear. The ranch hand sees him staring, “When we can trust you. You’ll be allowed to stay in your stall without a lead too,” He says. Keith snorts. He’ll escape long before they get to that point.

The stall they stop at is just as small as the rest. Keith briefly consider stomping with his front hooves and making a run for it, but he knows he’d never be able to make it out from this deep in the Ranch in broad daylight without getting spotted and caught again. He reluctantly enters the stall, and his lead is tied off to a bar that looks specially made for this exact purpose. He’s pissed, when he realizes that the hand tied it too short for him to make full use of the already limited space provided. Keith’s forced to stand right beside the gate, without enough slack to even turn around. Bastard.

-

“Keith?” Keith shakes awake, blinking blearily. He doesn’t remember falling asleep, “Is that you?”

He looks up and is greeted by a sight he’s been dreaming about for a year, “Shiro!” Keith stumbles to his feet, kicking and bumping the stall walls in his haste to get up.

“Woah there, buddy. Calm down, it’s okay,” Keith hears Shiro’s words, but he can’t. Yanking roughly at the ropes binding his arms, hooves clacking on the hard floor, as he all but dances in place. Shiro’s here, after all this time. Alive on the other side of the gate, and all he wants to do is hug him tight and never let go. A big hand cups the back of his head and drags him forward, until his nose is buried into Shiro’s chest, “Hey now, slow down for me,” Shiro says softly.

Keith takes a shuddery breath and finally manages to hold himself still, “You’re okay,” He whispers, pressing into the other body. Shiro has always been bigger than him, half a hand at the withers and even more in the upper body leaves Keith at about eye level with Shiro’s pecs.

There is a humorless laugh from above him, “I guess, for some definitions of the word,” Keith pulls against the hand holding him until he’s allowed to lean back and look up. He actually processes something beyond the fact that it’s Shiro looking down at him this time. There is a shock of white in Shiro’s formerly all black head hair, a nasty looking scar bisecting his nose, and a sad look in his grey eyes that doesn’t belong there. What have they done to him?

Shiro opens his mouth to says something, but is cut off by another voice, “You know this trouble maker, Champion?” They both turn to look down at the unwelcome interrupter. Another one of the ranch hands, just as unrecognizable to him as the rest.

“He’s a friend,” Shiro says. They’re more than that, have been for a long time, but he’s fine with not sharing that with this human. None of his business what Keith and Shiro are to each other.

The human scowls at Keith, “You should pick better friends. This one’s about one step away from being more trouble than he’s worth.” Keith scowls back at that, and pushes closer to Shiro, the gate spikes dig into his stomach but he ignores them. If he’s so much trouble, maybe they should just set him free. He didn’t ask to be captured, “Come on, enough dallying, you have places to be.”

Shiro looks between the hand and Keith, “Can I just have a minute more? We haven’t seen each other in a long time.” Shiro asks. Keith can’t help the way his back hoof stomps at that. The bigger stallion shouldn’t have to ask permission to stay with him like some sort of colt, especially not from a human.

“No. Now move, before we mark that one down as a bad influence too.” Shiro gives Keith’s neck a squeeze, but backs away to follow the human as told.

“Shiro?” Keith calls after him, but the other stallion doesn’t look back.

It’s not until the sound of Shiro’s hooves on the hard ground have faded that Keith realizes something glaringly obvious. Shiro’s missing an arm.

Next >

I post a lot of Hell on Wheels because it’s a great show and also the main character, Cullen Bohannon, is my inspiration for my Rancher!McCree. Of course, McCree’s skin is browner but the way Cullen dresses is how I picture McCree would dress. He would put the vest on only if he was about to do business or something. If he’s working on the ranch, he wears something a little more comfortable. Maybe like this:


He may even go shirtless at times and just use his serape to protect him from the sun. I do bring up McCree’s arm and how he lost it in an accident while working on the railroad. Prosthetics back then were not great so he does have challenges but McCree still has that can do attitude that I love so much.

Anyway, sorry for blabbering on. I just wanted to let you all know that when you see me post a lot of Hell on Wheels/Cullen Bohannon it’s because I’m working on my story.

“We met in 1944, and we didn’t like each other. He was in uniform, I was an art student. I called him a fascist. But we met again a few months later when he was on furlough from the army. We were both vacationing at the same dude ranch. I was wearing my father’s suede jacket, because he’d just passed away, and the sleeves were too long for my arms. And without saying a word, he walked up to me, and rolled the sleeves back a bit. And I thought it was such a sweet gesture.”

The Colony Ch 8: I Put My New Boots On

Cover art by satousei13

read the entire story on ff.net or AO3

Chapter 8: I Put My New Boots On

Delphine checked her appearance once more in the mirror; she helped her golden curls forward with a flick of her head, letting them hang loosely in front of her face catching just in front of the dark patches at theshoulder of the pearl buttoned cowboy shirt she had bought at Sears that day.

The store was a bit further off than she hadwanted to wander, but the concierge assured her that for authentic ranch wear, the department store would do much betterthan the tourist boutique on the strip. She considered donning the Stetson she had bought on impulse. Having already committed to two pair of dungarees, three shirts and some two-tone boots (black embossed leather, with a grey, winged cap across the toe), adding the stiff, light brown hat to her purchases seemed like both and after thought and a commitment at the same time.

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