Sun continues to shine into the basin here at the 7D Ranch. There have been many shifts and changes in the staff recently; we are down to 12 staff members as Meade and Chris Scheer have bid us farewell to return to guiding hunters. Carol finished second in her rodeo event, Breakaway Roping, and fourth overall; we are SO proud of her! Guests and staff both cheered her on during the penultimate rodeo of the season. Lauren has started her next adventure in Maine, leaving behind her mourning housekeepers. Luke will catch up with her shortly, as he leaves next week. We also say goodbye to Cordelia, who dances like an intoxicated octopus. Thankfully, she will not be missed as Chelsea’s cousin Andrea Verdegan has arrived and is working harder than ever as a housekeeper, ranch hand, and part-time wrangler. Vanessa is back in kitchen action, cooking the most delicious brownies ever eaten by man.
Excitement continues with a rescue mission executed at the end of August: Our adventurous cook Grace didn’t return from a morning hike, the staff embarked on a search and rescue mission at 10PM. Chelsea spotted a faint light high up on the cliff at which point Grace radioed us to say she was alive but cliffed out. Meade, Chris Scheer, Josh, and Jeff bushwhacked toward the faint light and finally retrieved the hungry and dehydrated hiker, arriving home safe and sound circa 1:30 A.M. Grace later recounted her excursion in a Facebook note, reflecting how she felt: “I knew I was dehydrated, hungry and exhausted. I could summon all my strength to go back into the woods, but it would be dark and hard to see. I could attempt to climb down the cliff, but with limited rock climbing skills and dizziness, I would most likely get hurt. Or I could stay on this ridge and wait until the sun comes up again to find a better way down. Plus, to remain calm I rationalized with myself that the wildlife wouldn’t walk on this ridge and I would be safe… I heard a vehicle and saw lights in the direction of the brunch spot. I quickly turned back on the walkie talkie and radioed a couple times. “Grace?” It was Sherri’s voice. I felt relief tremendously; it was definitely comforting to hear her voice… Overcome with a huge sense of relief and safety, I patiently waited. I held up my cellphone in hopes they would see that light better than my headlight. I saw glimpses of a light and whistled a couple times… I really appreciate the wonderful staff at 7D and I am grateful for their quick response.”
On a slightly sadder note, a poor calf was killed by a grizzly bear next door in the witching hour of one night. The grizzly has subsequently been captured in a live cage and relocated to the Jackson, Wyoming area. The new evening activity of the weeks is a guest lecturer named Scott who presents a detailed powerpoint on wolves and their habits. But life still grows as Basin (baby filly) gets bigger and bigger every day. She will even come up to you to be petted if you call to her from the fence. The 7D has seen the last of the younger folk for the season. From here on out, we are enjoying adult-only weeks with fewer guests, giving the shrinking numbers of staff a little break. With the extra time, we organized a delightful campfire and sing-a-long last Saturday night. Cordelia’s dad John broke out his accordion and accompanied Carol on the guitar for a splendid evening of folk and campfire songs along with some polka lessons from Andrea V. & Chelsea. We even had a nimiety of campfire songbooks printed up as a donation to the ranch in hopes that the fire sing-a-long tradition will continue.
The other huge event of the season was the wedding of Josh Stanley and Melissa Ridgway. They had their rehearsal dinner here at the ranch before getting married at Elk Creek. A pulchritudinous tent was set up in the front lawn decorated with floating lanterns and twinkly white lights everywhere. The staff worked with admirable ardor for two full days cooking, serving, cleaning, washing dishes, organizing wedding supplies, and chatting with the 150 guests who showed up to celebrate the momentous occasion. Roistering in the presence of new staff, missing loved ones who have migrated south for the winter, we all sing, “I want to linger a little longer, a little longer here with you. And as the years go by, I’ll think of you and sigh… This is goodnight but not goodbye!”