Bill and Juanita, owners of Allenspark Lodge B&B, are living their dream...

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Spring Pollen

 Juanita and I have been riding 2 or 3 times a week for the last month.   Her horse Washoe has been behaving himself (for the most part.  Just occasional snacking on the trail.) And Alloy hasn't dumped me on the ground so far. 

Ten rides now.  

I really hope I didn't just jinx it...

This spring has had it's normal pollen season that seems to be just about over.  Riding down the trails, if you bump a tree limb the yellow cloud poofs down around you.   It kind of cool looking.  But the pollen does settle down all over everything.

One of our guests came in and told me about some prints on the back of her car.  The pollen was acting like fingerprint powder and showed everyplace the car had been touched.  

For reasons I do not fully understand, I decided to "roll" my face across the back window.  The next morning, THIS showed up.

I find it to be equal parts cool and terrifying.... 


Friday, November 13, 2020

Continuing to Stay Safe


In keeping with our practice of staying socially responsible we have temporarily shut down the Lodge for the remainder of November, 2020, to help quell any new uptick in COVID-19 cases for our guests.  This is only temporary; we have major plans to reopen with some exciting new winter packages that we think will help get people through the harshness of our cold winter weather with a bit of fun and quiet peace – and do our share to help stop this pandemic.  We will, of course, reassess the situation for December, but let us all do our part to get our nation healthy and keep our people safe.

As a good example, Estes Park has announced they will still hold the Catch the Glow parade’s Festival of Lights – but safely.   You will be able to drive through the town’s events complex (rodeo grounds) and “watch” the parade displayed from the safety of your car.  Use this link for the formal announcement. 

On the plus side of things like the pandemic, it so easy to 'social distance' while riding.  We had many, many good rides with friends and neighbors.  A new neighbor for the summer.

A new found friend and neighbor.

We actually were able to enjoy so many things this summer that are not our norm.  We met many of the neighbors on long walks; those who are normally here and those who moved here from their town locations, now able to 'work from home' up here.

We had time to teach our youngest grandchild the basics of riding.

Time to visit with friends from out of town.

Time to lay flagstone at our daughter's new house.

Expanding our chicken herd flock.

Time to visit grandkids at local campsites - who fed Alloy his first grapes.

Time for hiking with family in RMNP.

Growing my first garden in 23 years - even if the veggies were on the small side.

The best of all - the bond that Bill built with his horse Alloy!

All in-between serving guests at the Lodge.  Looking back - it was a mighty busy summer.

Watch our Facebook page for the newest specials – coming soon!

Many, many thanks to all our guests for all they did to help keep us and future guests safe this past season.

Bionic Cowgirl

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

New Cat

One month ago, we lost our old cat, Kitten Caboodle.She went peacefully during her afternoon nap.

Our other cat, Pounce de Lion, misses her.  A LOT. 

When you have 2 cats, it's like only having one cat, because they spend most of their time bugging each other.  If you only have 1 cat, it's like having 10 cats, because it really thinks it needs a lot of attention.  Poor Reba the lodge dog spent every night getting rubbed against, head butted and generally annoyed by the lonely remaining cat.

So we started looking for another cat.  Preferably a feral kitten.  Preferably a female.  Preferably a "grayish" short hair.

One of our daughter's friend's daughter's husband's grandmother's kittens was just such an animal.  In Nebraska.  Eastern Nebraska.  We met them halfway, in Ogallala Nebraska.  Yes, we drove 4 hours each way for a free cat.

Meet Demi (Demi is short for Pandemicat)

The drive back from Nebraska

Hanging out in the lodge's spare quarters.


She is really cute, and very sweet, But she has a sneeze, so she is in quarantine.

Welcome to 2020 Pandemicat.


Tuesday, July 21, 2020


Our vet called today and asked if he could come by and give Alloy his shots.  (He was in the neighborhood.)

He apologized for not getting back to us sooner to set up an appointment saying that he has been swamped  with work since the pandemic went into full swing.

He figured people have a lot more time on their hands to worry about their animals, and he told us about several of his calls.  The one that really stuck out in my mind was a call he got because someone's goat had laryngitis.


This old goat doesn't know what to say, either.


(Alloy stood nicely for his shot, by the way)

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Timeout for Alloy

Sometimes, Alloy the horse loses his mind.  And I lose my seat.

No damn fun being bucked off. 

So sometimes he just has to stand in timeout for a bit, saddled and at the hitch rail.  As he was standing, I noticed some "rolls" on his hip and accused him of being overweight.

I'm not above fat shameing a horse that just tried to kill me.



Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Up and Running!

It's been a good week so far.

We have done a "soft opening" to see how our Covid-19 plan of operation will work.  I think we have got this.  Mostly.

We had a single guest in the other day (a hiker), and just a couple minutes before the food was going to hit the table, we got a call from a neighbor.  "My horse is STUCK!  She can't move her front feet!  Can one of you come and help?  We may need to call a veterinarian!"  Juanita stayed to eat with our guest, and I drove over to the neighbors place a couple miles down the road.

There were 3 people standing by the horse, looking worried.  The horse was standing on the hillside, weaving back and forth.  It's flanks were drawn in, and it was quivering slightly with its' lips slightly pursed and a distant look in its' eyes.

"We just can't get her to move!"

I looked under the animal, and there was a small aspen sapling rubbing the horses' belly.  Apparently in JUST the right spot.  I could almost hear the horse saying "Feels! So! Good!"

I showed the horse a halter and asked "Boots, do you need to work a little?"  And the horse took off like a shot and galloped UP and DOWN the pasture.  WHEEE!!!

"Your horse is fine,   Just had an itch."  I got back in time to eat breakfast.


I fenced in the wood shed and installed a screen door on it so the young chickens can get out of the livestock tank that has been their home for the last couple weeks, and they can look out at the two BIG chickens running around it the chicken yard.  Everyone seems to be happily ignoring one another.


We also fenced in the back yard with a hot wire so the horses can go out and mow for us for a half hour each day.  They seem to like it, and I do not like mowing, so it's a win/win.


Our youngest son (The 40 year old.  Jeeze.) came up the mountain on his motorcycle and helped us take down a couple standing dead trees out back.  He got some training at that back in the day when he was a wild-fire fighter.  No building or power lines were damaged during the process.  Another win.

We left one dead tree up that had some holes in it that the birds might be nesting in.  The kid told me "You might want to take it down anyway, it's on it's way out...". but I didn't want to bug the tenants.

It fell over the next day in a wind storm.

I had to cut it up without the kid's help.  Rats.  But Juanita was around so I chainsawed it up and she hauled off the logs.

"Bill." she says "You need to come look at this."  She pointed down at one of the holes in the sawed up tree.  It was stuffed with Oreo Cookies.  It was probably 15 feet up when the tree was standing  Must have been one TALL Keebler elf to fill that hollow tree.


Juanita and I were inside doing chores when Reba the Lodge Dog barked.  Again?!?  That's the second time this week!  What is it this time, dog?  A homeless guy?  A bear?  Uh, no.  Remember when I talked about the horses mowing for us?  Well, Washoe the horse had wandered onto the back porch,  Reba was incensed.  It's her porch, don't you know.


So, we are back up and running now, on a limited basis.  Full social distancing and masked like bandits in the common areas.  You should come and visit!

                                 We have cookies.


Friday, June 5, 2020

Rural Terrorists

Yesterday morning I walked outside and was attacked.

Several angry hummingbirds flew at my face and eyes.  "What in the...!" I shouted. I looked up on the second floor deck and sure enough, the feeders were empty.  "Sorry guys.  I'll be right up there." and I took the jug of home-made nectar up to fill the feeders.  When I stepped out on the porch, there was someone already out there.  Oops.  Wait...  We didn't have any guests the previous night.

"Excuse me.  Can I help you?" I asked the sleeping form on the couch.

The still very groggy homeless gentleman said "I climbed up the wall to sleep up here last night." "That's nice" I told him. "You need to leave now.  Why don't you come inside and go down the  stairs to leave, rather than climbing down the side of the building."

He packed up his pack, and headed down and left through the front door.

Very strange.  We've been here for over 22 years now, and that's a first.
This morning I woke up just before 4:am.  I lay in bed for a bit and got up to get a drink of water.  I was just snuggling back in to go back to sleep when the dog barked.

The dog barked.  One "Woof".  In the 5 years we have had this dog, she has NEVER barked in the bedroom.  Ever.

"Crap" I thought. "The homeless guy is back."  Only the dog was facing the other way.  She was looking at the bathroom with it's open window.

And then I heard the bear.

Sort of a long low moaning and huffing... I've heard it before  I reached for the half open bathroom window and SHOUTED!!!

Actually, I screamed like a little girl, because just as I opened the window, a clawed ball of fur hit me in my bare chest, HARD!  Damn cat was watching the bear out the fricken window.

When I caught my breath I shouted out the window again, pulled on pants, boots and, at Juanita's suggestion, a sweatshirt, and headed out with my shotgun. (When we first moved up here, the Colorado Dept. of Wildlife recommended people keep a shotgun handy loaded with rubber buckshot for this sort of thing.)

Juanita and I wandered around for a while, making noise and shining the flashlights around and we saw nothing.   We went back inside, and I replaced the batteries in the shotgun's barrel mounted flashlight/laser pointer sight, and then we went back out again.  Still nothing.  I was just getting ready to head back in when I heard him again.  That low moaning and huffing.  Behind me.  Up high.  In the dark.  In a big tree.

I shown the flashlight into the big ponderosa pine tree, and could just make out the eyes of a black bear reflecting down at me.

Okay, now what..  Shoot the bear in the face?  That just doesn't seem polite.  Juanita found a better angle. Only butt showing.


Okay, let's clear out so he can leave.  Make it easy for him to do the right thing.

We went up on the back deck and listened to him.  He moaned pretty loudly for about 15 minutes or so, and then we heard it shuffle down the tree, and he was gone.  I felt terrible, but it's important that bears are afraid of town and the people in it.  If they become a nuisance, the DOW will put them down.   And I don't mean by telling them that they smell bad, or that their mother dresses them funny.

And speaking of unpleasant smelling and odd clothes...

As I am finishing this story, I realized something about myself.  I am guilty of "Species Privilege".

It never even occurred to me to shoot the homeless guy in the butt.

(But, in my defense, the guy wasn't after my chickens...)


Wednesday, May 27, 2020

A Quick Rundown

In the Middle of last November, we took our horses down to their winter pasture to run free for a few months.  It's usually a little warmer for them down there, they have other horses to run with, and WE DON'T HAVE TO FEED THEM! (That is a good thing when there is 3 feet of snow on the ground.)

Usually, during the winter, we try to stop and see them at least once a week, pet them, give them treats, and generally keep them used to seeing us and maybe even look forward to it.  This year, with the Covid-19 pandemic, we didn't get to see them NEARLY as often.  And it showed.

Juanita and I went down to get our horses and bring them home yesterday.  We knew it would take some extra time this year, so we took some stuff for a picnic and set it up under the herds favorite tree in the pasture.  Next to the neighbor bulls.  RIGHT next to the neighbor bulls.  "How they hanging, boys?" is not what I would have expected from Juanita...

We set up our portable PVC catch pen next to the trailer, and then had lunch.  Almost all of the herd (7 or so horses) showed up to see what we were doing. The bulls left. One of them muttering something like "There goes the neighborhood."  We snacked of sardines and crackers while the horses had carrots and crackers.

Wow!  This is going to be EASY!  Unless, of course, you touch a halter.  Then it's all over.


Most of them took off (including our two, of course) and started running around the 60 acre pasture, crossing the seasonal river, and circling the area between the 2 ditches.  They would slow down enough that we could just catch up with them, and then they would continue the figure 8 journey.  They could cross the first river, but we chose to use the bridge, which added considerably to our walking.

A couple hours into our walk, I changed from a halter to a lariat.  Now I haven't thrown a loop in over 10 years, since I tore a rotator cuff (and I was never very good even before then).  When I tossed the rope over Alloys head, I caught the whole nose, but only one ear.  When he tossed his head to shed the loop while he was running off, a quick loop formed in the tail end of the rope and took part of my left hand with it.  Or tried to, anyway.  Just the little finger.  Not too important compared to the others...

I was glad I was wearing gloves.

I put the rope away, and picked up the halter again.  Just because.

After another couple hours, Juanita said "I think there is some sweet feed in the back of the trailer."  And there was, so we salted the ground in the catch pen with it.  After just a few minutes, Alloy came in to see what the excitement was all about, and (after one of the other horses smashed the fence PVC, you know) Alloy was caught and had a halter on his head.  Suddenly he was a perfect gentleman.  And he walked right into the trailer.


Now to call Washoe over for the trip home.  He's such a good horse.  All Juanita has to do is call him and  he runs right up to get his halter on,

Until yesterday.

Earlier in the winter, we had the vet come out and remove a growth from his ear.  I don't think he ever forgave Juanita for that.

Another hour running the figure 8, and we finally caught Washoe, too.  Unfortunately, we were on the WRONG side of the river.  Being ever the gentleman, I told Juanita to take the very narrow foot bridge back, and settle my horse who was hollering in the trailer.  I would lead Washoe across the river.

Now I don't think I have told you about this seasonal stream.  The stream over the years has cut a 8 or 10 foot deep cliff walled rut in the pasture.  Just a couple very steep slides into  or out of it.  And the field is on a clay base.  So it is a couple slick slides into or out of it.  I led the horse up to the cut, carefully worked my way down to the stream and looked up at the horse.

He said "Oh hell no."  And spun and ran away. With all of the time we had spent catching the little hay-wrecker, I was NOT going to let go.  He pulled me up that cliff and drug me a little over 20 feet on my belly, face first, until I rethought my strategy.

I let go.

Juanita hadn't gone too far, as she had thought I might need some help, so we caught the horse again in a hurry.  Then we both headed for the river crossing.  She thought she could convince him to walk down with her.

Now, Juanita was in standard slick soled cowboy boots and when she hit the path down... well... have you ever seen the mud-slide scene in "Romancing the Stone"?  Yeah, pretty much.  I was wearing hiking boots, so I got down with her (still holding the horses lead) and gave her a rear end boost to get her back up so she could convince the horse to walk down with me.  Just a couple taps on his rear end and he stepped down, nice as can be, and we crossed the river. 

The stream  was only about 20 feet across, but it is a seasonal stream.  We had snow in the mountains last weekend.  Seasonal streams in Colorado are full of snow melt in the spring.  Snow melt is cold.  Very cold.  And the stream is about 3 inches above crotch high.  Guys will understand.  "How they hanging...?"  Nope.

By the time we got up the other side, I was less happy than I had been all day.  Washoe loaded nicely, and I sat on a blanket on the truck seat to keep the leather dry, and my tush warm(ish).

A half hour later we were home, and the horses were unloaded.  When I went back to the truck another half hour after unloading, there were 2 puddles where my feet had been during the drive.

I really am glad the horses are home.

Thursday, April 16, 2020


April 11th

April 12th

April 16th

April showers bring frostbite.


Tuesday, March 31, 2020

A Day in the Life of a (Quarantined) Horse Owner

With the covid-19 quarantine in full swing, we are spending a lot of time spring cleaning here at the lodge.

Yesterday, Juanita and I went down the mountain to visit our horses on their winter pasture to get out for a bit.

About halfway down to Lyons, one of the windows in the back seat rolled down.  Reba the Lodge Dog was THRILLED. She looked surprised when it started down because we NEVER let her stick any body parts out the window of a moving car, but she took advantage of it and jammed her head out the window to feel the wind blowing in her face.  We moved her off the button so the window would stop trying to roll down, and I disabled the back windows.  That's a trick we don't want her learning...

When we got to the winter pasture, the 3 horses still on it were standing WELL apart.  Like a hundred yards between them. Practicing "social distancing" horse style, I guess.  Our two came up for treats and stood right next to us anyway. I mean, treats, don't you know.

Washoe had some fresh blood on the side of his face that had been dripping out of something at the base of his ear.  We didn't have a halter with us, so Juanita couldn't get a good look at it.  Burrs tangled in the hair?  A ruptured sarcoid growth?  It was just a little wet from fresh blood, so we will head back down to check it in another day or so.  With a halter.  And a water bottle to rinse it with.  And of course, more treats.

Then we went on into Fort Collins to drop off some paperwork to our renters, and then visit our socially isolated grandson.  We had to drop by after he posted on facebook    Day whatever in quarantine... I've named the dust particles.. Steve's a real asshole

He cracks me up...

Then we hit the store for some necessary supplies.  Bag of frozen corn, a tube of toothpaste, fifty pound burlap bag of rice.  The usual.  (Really.  Fifty pounds.)

Then we went back up the mountain and back into isolation.  All in all, a great day.

Think I'll have a bowl of rice for lunch.