Category Archives for // water
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    Zapata Tent Camps

    “We’ve got an hour before the sun sets, should we ride out and find some bison?”

    And so kicked off our camp out on the Medano among the wild bison. A combination of laid-back spontaneity and the freedom of having 55,000 acres to yourself set the tone for the evening. With the tents set up and fire ring built, Kate, Jessie and I had our chores done and could go have some fun. We set off north in search of some

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    by Emily Paxson

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  • mdelorme_05022017-08980

    Christmas in Spring

    Photographer Matt DeLorme reflects on his first branding experience at the Chico.

    by Ranchlands Review

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  • Chasing the Green

    This spring feels like it’s pregnant. As if it is about to burst out unchecked as a living being.

    by Duke Phillips

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September 4, 2014

Medano Creek

Medano Creek flows through the Great Sand Dunes National Park each spring and summer with runoff.

Dollar Lake 2
May 5, 2014

Dollar Lake

A time-lapse of Dollar Lake, showing the quick transition from Winter to Spring at Zapata Ranch.

Upper Twin Lake
April 11, 2014

Upper Twin Lake

A timelapse showing 4 days passing at the Upper Twin Lake on the Chico.

May 2, 2013


With only a few snow showers this spring adding up to at most a few tenths of precipitation, we’ve entered into a new phase of reevaluating and then implementing.  Today we continued our work of bringing in dry cows yet to calve to sell next week and aggregating our cow/calf pairs into our pastures with sub-irrigation.  It’s not ideal, but it’s pretty easy to see from the picture above it’s the only place with green grass.

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April 24, 2012

Running Water

The water is flowing and the bison are loving it. They’ve been congregrating around this little creek, sleeping by the water, playing in the water and sticking nearby so they can go in for a dip.

Temperatures will be in the high 70s and 80s this week so the water will continue to run as it melts off the mountains. Jeff and I might try to get some fishing in this weekend before everything gets completely blown out, but it might

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April 17, 2012

Water Thawing Out

We have a lot of water on the Medano side of the ranch including two year round creeks and one seasonal creek. This time of year is when the ground if finally thawed out and the irrigation season has begun. It’s my job to make sure the water gets spread out throughout our meadows evenly. I’m able to do this through the use of “head-gates”, metal structures that water runs through that have slots that boards can be slid in or out of

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January 18, 2011

Cotton Lake

Cotton Lake is a pretty little lake just to the West of the old headquarters on the Medano. The Sandhill Cranes gather here each year and you can hear them squawking and calling as they make their way in to the lake and as they all sit around in the water. It is amazing how much the sound carries and how clearly you can hear them, as if they were standing right next to you. So a few weeks out

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