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Maxed Out!

September 24, 2013


Woke up this morning to snow on the mountain tops. Got out early for a walk up on the rocks just in time to see the wranglers down in the meadows gather up the horses to bring them to the corral. The the sound of hooves pounding the ground echoed through the valley. Horses whinnied and whined as they were driven at a gallop up the road. I sat for a long time and watched a bald eagle perched in a tree watching the pond for breakfast. The fish began to jump but the eagle lost interest and flew up the river. The sun wasn’t up from behind the mountains yet and I could hear a coyote screeching up the valley.


Inside the Lodge.

Before long, they rang the triangle for breakfast.

It’s a really nice atmosphere here, Ron and Phyllis are 5 th generation owners of the property which was purchased in 1917. It was a working ranch till 1976 when they began having guests. We are situated 30 miles as the crow flies outside of Yellowstone in the Absaroka/Beartooth wilderness. Because of the roads, it’s a three hour drive out and around this valley to the north gate of Yellowstone.

Any way, Ron, Phyllis and the rest of the staff make you feel right to home here. There’s nothing fancy or pretentious about this place. Staff and guests eat meals together and are constantly intermingling during activities and free time. It feels like you’re staying with your relatives.

Shortly after breakfast this little girl showed up. Staff said she’s around all the time. Could get very close to her.

The view from my room

Fly rods for fishing the pond or river

Peg, one of the other guests tries on some antlers, lol

Out cabin on the property

Mountains behind the property



At 10:00, it was time for our first ride of the week. We walked down to the corral and got matched up with our horses.



Josh, one of the wranglers stands with my horse Bruzer. The shirt Josh is wearing, he tanned the hide and made it himself.

That’s 69 year old Ron….proprietor.

That’s me atop Bruzer heading out.

For our introductory ride, we headed down into the low meadows just to get a feel for our horses. I of course ended up with the big horse that turned out to be the big sissy. Some whitetails bolted out across our path and spooked my big baby. We got turned sideways but at least he didn’t take off! He pulled it together and we were able to get straightened out.

Ron has about 30 horses here. At night they roam about freely in the surrounding mountain meadows. Each morning the wranglers head out at about dawn, riding in opposite directions to round up and drive the herd back to the barn. It’s a sight to see and hear. In the winter, they drive the horses to meadows lower down and closer to Big Timber but they stay out and wild all winter. No shelter and no food. It amazes me that they are able to round them up each spring and get saddles on them again but Ron says only a rare few give him a hard time.


The ride took about an hour and a half. It was very windy out in the open meadows and I was happy to get back to the lodge and sit by the fire. The have a few concurrent events going on at once around here and it’s often hard to choose what you want to do. After lunch, they had another ride planned or a hike to the water falls. Who could make that choice out here? I chose to go riding again. Every one else went to the falls. So, because it was just me and 2 wranglers on the ride, we got to trot a good part of the way. This ride went up into the hills behind the property and it was beautiful. The sun was shinning and we were in the woods out of the wind. It was just gorgeous! We trotted the horses up some of the rocky trail! New underpants please! We were moving so fast we cut a 2 hour ride down to about 1:30. When I got back to, everyone was still out either hiking the falls or fishing.

It was a beautiful blue sky afternoon so I set out on my own to do a little exploring. I headed down to the river and spent a good 2 hours brambling over the boulders on the Boulder River. Lol, I crack myself up!






Does anybody know what three long scratches on a riverbank are from?




So as has become a tradition, I always like to get at least my feet wet! It was cold!





Mountain reflections in the fishing pond.

It was getting late and I was headed back to the lodge when I noticed that the meadow gate was closed. That means 1 thing….horse in the meadow! It was late afternoon and the sun was shining so bright, the sky was so blue I decided to walk up the meadow to see what I could see.




My big Bruzer


I just got sucked deeper and deeper into the sunny hilly meadow until I realized I had probably missed dinner :(. I put it in overdrive hauling ass down through the slopes carefully avoiding the steaming piles, through the gate, up the long winding driveway and to the lodge just as Ramon the
cook rang the dinner triangle :). Perfect timing….

After dinner…… There was yet more fun to had when Ron took us via pickup down to the pond for a fly fishing lesson.


Ron and his classic cowboy toothpick.

Peg picking a fly out of Heidi’s hat. Uh oh!

Needless to say, it was less than a productive venture. Spent a lot of time in the weeds. Toward the end, I accidentally either got a bite or snagged something in the pond. Hard to say 🙂

So there it is……. No more fun. If everyday turns out like this, I’ll be dead before the weeks over 🙂

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