Devil's Tower Country - Black Hills of Wyoming

by Hidden Trails 03/26/2009

New Haven Ranch

Story by Kent & Charlene Krone

“A dark mist lays over the land…Devil’s Tower up thrust against the gray sky as if in birth of time the core of the earth had broken through its crust and the motion of the world was begun.” wrote N. Scott Monday. “There are things in nature that engender an awful quiet in the heart of man; Devil’s Tower is one of them.”
This says it all!
Riding in Devil’s Tower country is a unique experience, both in scenery and feeling. According to Native American legend, this magnificent geological wonder is etched with claw marks from the Great Bear.  In its aura, you hear echoes from the past, pulling the past very much into the present.
Located in north-eastern Wyoming, the Devil’s Tower region is exciting to ride not only because of its rich history and abundant wildlife, but for its magnificent and varied scenery.
Devil’s Tower or “Bear Lodge” as it was known by Native Americans, was formed by an intrusion of molten rock into or between other rock formations.  Over time relentless erosion wore away the surrounding sandstone and shale, thus exposing the much harder columns of greenish-gray igneous rock.  The tower rises 1,280 feet above the nearby Belle Fourche River.
In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt recognized the uniqueness of Devil’s Tower declaring it our nation’s first national monument.
Wildlife thrives here.  More than 150 species of birds populate the area, as well as white-tailed deer and black-tailed prairie dogs.  During one picnic ride, we spent a fair amount of time watching the playful little prairie dogs going about their business in their “dog town” below the Tower.
Devil’s Tower country is a magical, mystical place to create an adventure.  Take your own horse or ride someone else’s, but head out and explore this country.
The Ranch
Places are like people.  Each is unique and has its own personality.  New Haven Ranch isn’t a dude ranch where one goes to relax and be pampered.  This is a family-run working cattle ranch on the edge of the Black Hills in northeastern Wyoming. 
The ranch gives you an opportunity to get involved in the ranch work, learn about holistic ranching, enjoy riding adventures, and be around lots of animals.
Four generations of the Bohl family live and work on the family-owned ranch.  Since 2003, guests have been invited to share their ranch life.  Doerte, a German guest, enjoyed ranch life so much that she quit her job in Hamburg to work on the ranch.  Then she discovered not only did she love ranch life, but also her boss!  She and Nick were married in 2006.
The Ranch is located on the grounds of an old ghost town, New Haven, in the northeastern corner of Wyoming.  To get to the ranch, we drove 18 miles on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere, as they say.
In this tough, rugged country, survival of the fittest is the natural way of life.  Homesteaders here were 150 years ago.  Many were driven out by the unforgiving climate, hostile Indians, and greedy cattle barons.
Today, 800 cattle graze the ranch carefully managed by Nick and Doerte.  If you look around, you’ll see remnants from the past.  Old buildings and rusting machinery bear mute testimony to past inhabitants.
The ranch, also referred to as New Haven Lodge, has five bedrooms, three bathrooms, and an additional half-bath.  There’s a balcony where you can sit and watch the changing light over the Missouri Buttes.   After a long day’s ride, you can enjoy the hot tub under the stars.  Not a bad way to chase away saddle sores.
Meals at the lodge are taken family style around a large table next to an immaculate kitchen.  If you enjoy fresh, organic produce, humanely raised meat, and creative meals, these folks have got your number. Mealtime was happy and relaxed.
Although you can just hang out and relax, New Haven Ranch is a tremendous opportunity for energetic folks wishing to explore and partake in ranch activities and work.
Because of holistic ranch management practices, cattle are rotated to different pastures approximately every eight days.  This necessitates a great deal of cattle gathering and moving in addition to regular cattle care.
Riding opportunities abound in this beautiful corner of “God’s Country”.  There are timbered canyons, high plateaus, and aromatic sagebrush prairie.  With your own horse or a ranch horse, you can saddle up for an awe-inspiring sight of Devil’s Tower.
There’s a picturesque lake where you may go fishing, swimming, boating, horse-swimming, picnicking, or do it all.
If you’re an animal lover, you’ll love this ranch!  We saw goats climbing trees; we didn’t know they could do that.  There are also sheep, dogs, cats, buffalo, geese, and ducks.  Buddy has had some problems with the ducks.  They were hoping he would share his grain with them; Buddy doesn’t share!
Nearby animals that fend for themselves include coyotes, snakes, mountain lions, eagles, skunks, racoons, prairie dogs, antelope, deer and porcupines.
Nick and Doerte are justifiably proud of their horses, which are strong and healthy, both mentally and physically.  All the horses like people and are safe to ride. 
Nick exudes vitality and contagious passion for holistic ranch management.  He’s studied in-depth sustainable agriculture and land reclamation.  He uses his goats to battle noxious weeds.  “You’d be amazed at the kind of weeds these goats can take down,” he said.
Doerte, his beautiful, energetic partner, is a gracious and hard-working woman who shares Nick’s vision of holistic management.  She’s responsible for much of the organic produce and ranch-raised ducks, geese, and chickens that are served for dinner.

A weeklong stay with all activities is $1260 - for details see:
http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/wyoming_new_haven_ranch.aspx

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