Avalanche Ranch is the perfect place to have a family merge. I am biased, of course, but I am sure that it could be confirmed by all 14 relatives of mine who were just here. What I have witnessed over the years is that the property provides a certain amount of autonomy for each family as well as plenty of opportunities to spend time together. The true value is the quality of time. Without cell service, TV, and prolific wi-fi, families are forced to interact with each other. Activities such as conversation, cribbage and soaking are abundant.
I feel incredibly fortunate to live in a place where people will come to me, because otherwise, I may not see anyone, not only because I am married to this place, but because I am a bit of an introvert. So, this month I enjoyed visits from 6 cousins (and their spouses), 7 first cousins once removed, and 1 aunt. I had to look up the fact that they are my “cousins once removed”. There was much discussion this past weekend as to what terminology we should use for one another. My aunt and mother had gone rogue, introducing each other more than once as each other’s daughter or mother. I anticipate that once you are related to 3 linear generations and so many parallel generations, there is no way to keep it all straight. Not even the ability to define your own sister.
For visitors, Avalanche Ranch cultivates a slower pace. My cousins stayed 2 nights and I witnessed them shedding their busy selves and slow their heart rates. In the heart of our house, the kitchen, I caught up with one cousin’s many accomplishments from his car dealership to his cave diving. I realized that even though we live 30 miles apart we never carve out this kind of time. Conversations manifested themselves over coffee, feeding “Baby” the lamb, preparing fly and spinning rods for fishing, before and after a hike and over a casual dinner crowded around the table. The most stressful decisions being made were what fly to use to catch the monster Trout in the pond and what time was appropriate to crack the first beer.
My cousin once removed, Nate, married his long-time love, Britt, last weekend here at the Ranch. The snow rolled in Thursday and temperatures plummeted. It was perfect. Cooler temperatures forced us to snuggle in under the tent, around the campfire, and in the hot springs. It mandated intimate spaces to gather. The weekend was wonderful and I too slowed my heart rate, settled in to visit, eat, visit, eat, reconnect and laugh. It begged me to question, when can we do it again?!