In the late 1990’s Jim, my husband, and I bought a piece of property in southwest Colorado. Our plan was to design and build a straw bale home and live off the grid. We found the perfect property, forty-five acres of ranchland.
We were still working when we bought this land and had a lot to learn about maintaining a large property. New words entered our vocabulary: Ditches (running irrigation water onto the property), Fence-lines, Irrigation, The Federal Farm Bureau and more. Since we lived in California we needed someone local to help us.
The former owner told us he leased his property to an Outfitter and Rancher. He ran his mules and horses on several local properties including the one we had bought. We called him and he said that he would meet us on the property.
On a sunny afternoon, Jim and I and our realtor arrived first on the property. As we were standing there talking I turned to see this cowboy riding down the hill on a beautiful mule. He was dressed in full western gear. I smiled and I could tell Jim was experiencing the west for the first time.
So began our relationship and friendship with Ron of Ron’d View Outfitters. He became our mentor and teacher and friend. I always felt that he had our backs. He guided us gently and kindly in the right direction for everything we needed to know to manage our forty-five acres. He was a good resource. He knew many people. When we needed to replace our fence line he referred us to the perfect fencer. We learned about the Federal Farm Bureau after Ron suggested we apply to obtain irrigation pipes, and the government was offering a good deal. And when we put up a gate at the entrance it was Ron, his brother, and Wendall who raised it topping it with a horseshoe heart.
Like almost all outfitters his big season was in the fall when hunters would arrive to hunt elk and deer. He was also known for breeding and selling the finest mules. In the off-season, he took chuck wagon tours into the mountains of southern Colorado, and onto the Navajo reservation to camp and explore at the end of Canyon del Muerto, part of the Canyon de Chelly complex.
Jim and I knew we had to prove our mettle with this outfitter. We were from California and the small towns of Colorado did not always have the best impression of Californians. Jim and I decided that the best way to get to know him, his partner, Miss Carrie, and others that worked with him was to go on some of Ron’s tours.
We rode by horseback to fish and camp in the Weminuche Wilderness. This was our first horseback riding adventure with Ron and his friends. It was the first time Jim had ever been on a horse. It was a great way to spend four days in some of the most beautiful mountains in the world. At the end of the long weekend, Ron invited us to come and see his ranch. I knew we were making positive strides in establishing a relationship with this gregarious and kind man.
Our next chuck wagon tour was to the end of Canon del Muerto, part of the Canyon de Chelly National Monument complex, on the Navajo Reservation. The six-hour ride into the canyon was amazing. The cliff-dwelling ruins clung to the sides of sheer walls. For three days we explored on horseback with Navajo guides and Ron, Miss Carrie, and Wendall among others. The ride out was another adventure and can be told at another time.
After Jim’s death, Ron and Miss Carrie continued to be my local eyes and ears. I appreciated their support and caring during a rough time in my life. When I returned to the property, Ron would arrive first on his tractor to mow a swath of the grass, so I had a nice spot for my RV. Even across the miles, we continued to share our lives.
At the end of December 2022, Ron passed away at eighty-two. I recently learned of his death and have sat with the knowledge of his loss for a few days. I needed time to absorb the loss of a larger than life character, a man I respected and admired and considered a friend. He was a guide and a teacher to Jim and myself. He will be missed by so many. He will missed by me.
I am honored to have known him, learned from him and laughed with him.
Today I am thankful for having a True Cowboy and Legend in my life. Ride well Ron.