God’s Creation Exemplified
BY BAILEY HARRIS
Silver Cliff Ranch was created in 1984 as a Christian camp, serving their visitors along the Collegiate Peaks of Nathrop, Colorado. The facility got its name because of its location at the base of a tall and earthy-silver cliff, along which a small, clear stream is flanked by off-white aspen trees and an abundance of Colorado wildlife.
In 2011, Silver Cliff Ranch became part of the BCFS System, and though its ownership changed, the establishment’s commitment to its Christian roots did not.
Last fall, Pastor Bailey Harris was invited to Silver Cliff Ranch as part of a sabbatical. The complimentary stay was a time where he could approach Christian teachings in a relaxed but focused way while enjoying the natural beauty of Colorado. The following is his reflection on the time he spent there.
I drove out of Colorado Springs, Colorado, on a crisp fall day. The car I rented from the airport was on the smaller side, but it handled the mountain roads with ease. Less than two hours of a scenic drive later, I found myself in Buena Vista, Colorado, only 15 minutes away from my final destination. It was a quaint town I would return to several times during my stay, to fill up on gas or buy groceries, or to wander through some shops that let the locals know I was from out of town.
I kept driving and soon was in Nathrop, Colorado, where I arrived at Silver Cliff Ranch. Before long, I was settled in what would be my home for the next five days: a single-level wooden cabin with a stone fireplace and my own kitchen, with a porch past the back door.
On my first evening there, I met a group of men from an inner-city church in Denver, Colorado. They invited me to join them for dinner that night, where I learned that twice a year they hold a men’s retreat at Silver Cliff.
I was also able to enjoy fellowship with them the next morning, where several of the men spent time sharing stories of how their lives were being changed thanks to this group they were surrounded by, here in the middle of an incredible example of God’s creation on a mountainside.
After the group from Denver left and headed back to the city, I spent the rest of my sabbatical enjoying the solitude of my cabin, where I prepared meals in a fully furnished kitchen and split time between the living room and back porch when I wasn’t exploring outdoors. In the mornings and evenings, I walked the grounds of Silver Cliff, taking a different path each time. No matter where I was, the serenity of the property came with an audible peace – the sounds of cicadas at night and birds during the day.
A beautiful setting and some practical amenities made Silver Cliff Ranch a perfect place to spend my sabbatical. I left the ranch refreshed and focused, able to do some writing and long-term planning during my stay in the Rocky Mountain State. The only distractions I had were the occasional rabbit or ground squirrel that would run across my back porch.
I am grateful for the people who have worked to make this ministry possible over the years, and for their generosity in donating some of their space for my time away as a pastor. I hope to return soon.