Day 4: Yellowstone National Park
Can you believe I’ve never been to Yellowstone National Park? So when we booked our trip to Lone Mountain Ranch they were running a special- a private Yellowstone tour! PERFECT for our 5-year anniversary trip. The ranch has tours into the park and you go in a little mini-bus, but for this tour we got to take the black SUV and moved at our own pace. Yellowstone is shaped like a figure 8. There is the upper half (including Lamar Valley where a lot of the animal sightings are) and the lower half (featuring Old Faithful). I so badly wanted to see wildlife BUT since I hadn’t yet seen old faithful we figured we’d do the lower half and see what we could see for wildlife. We met Colleen for an early start at 7 AM. It took about an hour to get to the park entrance. We saw several waterfalls and we arrived in time to see Old Faithful erupt.
We saw the famous Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and we saw wildlife. We saw trumpeter swans, bison, and a black wolf feasting on a carcus that Colleen thought looked like an Elk. Everyone was pretty excited about the wolf spotting. I on the other hand was not so impressed. They had several binoculars and telescopes set up and we still couldn’t see it. Finally Fred pointed out a (small) black dot hopping out in the field and I zoomed in with my little camera. I was thankful to get a decent (although blurry shot). But seriously– this thing was a LONG ways off! But it was still fun and exciting to see. I was only slightly bummed that we saw no Elk, Moose, or Bear.
We left the park at 3:30 and had a brief moment to stop along the road and say high to Kyle, Fred’s cousin that lives in West Yellowstone, before heading back to the ranch. That night was prime rib night-. It was a wonderful feast.
Day 5: Cowboy Breakfast and Canoe Trip on Cliff Lake
It was a chilly morning today! We met some of the ranch guests at the stable and loaded up the wagons. The horses took us up to the small cabin in the woods and we had our cowboy breakfast. This was a GREAT breakfast, WONDERFUL-COZY atmosphere, and all around awesome! We both enjoyed it very much.
Kali Armstrong (pronounced Kay-Lee), one of the wranglers, sang for us up at the cabin. It was BEAUTIFUL. Watch for this little lady- she will be in Nashville before too long and I’ll bet we’ll see something from her!
After breakfast today we left and did another all day trip! We met up with guests Joe and Jane and headed out with Mike, our guide, towards Cliff Lake. It was a 1.5 hr drive. Before we came into the beautiful clearing we rode through this prairie. Looked like nothing was around, except the antelope! Yes we saw antelope!
As we passed from prairie to a little bit more country and finally more into the mountains we came upon CLIFF LAKE. A BEAUTIFUL lake. The words “water like St Thomas” came out several times. Beautiful tropical green-blue waters! We canoed and saw birds… oh! And a snake! And then we had lunch.
When we got back to the ranch we went to eat supper. Joe and Jane came shortly after we had ordered so we invited them to sit and enjoy with us! We enjoyed our talking with them. On Thursday nights in Big Sky, in the summer, they have a local come in and play music in the park- we decided as a group to go into town and check this out. We got the ranch SUV to drop us off in town and then we walked around a bit. BOY did it attract a crowd!
Having enough of it we decided to try walking back to the ranch. We could’ve called but we decided we wanted to walk. The cautious men calculated that it would take 28 mins to walk the 1.2 miles and they were concerned as the sun was setting fast. So we hurried along to get started and BOY I am glad we chose to walk. As we were going I was in the lead and I happened to look up the hill and low and behold what should I spot?!
Now- needless to say I was THRILLED to see this cow moose and a little breathless at the same time…(because I was a little nervous)! We snapped our pictures and then Fred urged us along as it was fast getting dark and we didn’t want her to charge there was nothing but 2 trees separating us from her. As we neared the highway we had a beautiful last night sunset viewing.
And at that point we decided it would be safe to take our chances on the highway than to chance running into other “unseen” animals on a trail we were unfamiliar with. When we got back we stoke the outdoor fire in the fire pit and helped ourselves to some s’mores before saying our goodbyes to the other couple and heading to our cabin.
Day 6: the final farewell
This morning we enjoyed one last fire in our stove, I enjoyed the ranch slippers as I sipped on my hot mint chocolate tea! Ahh- very relaxing indeed!
I managed to get the Stable manager to allow Fred and I to take one last short horseback ride at 8:30 (instead of the 9:30 ride) so that we could be back by 9:30, shower, and out of our cabin by 10. The weekend we left the ranch was full with an incoming destination wedding so we needed to be out early. So they obliged and gave us one last trail ride with Kali! We enjoyed our talks with Kali and our trail ride. After that we headed to our cabin for a quick shower and to get our bags out of our cabin. Then we got the ranch SUV to take us up to the Big Sky Ski Resort so we could walk around. There were shoppes, tons of restaurants, and places to stay. We could’ve ridden the ski lifts up the mountains for more great views or even taken a tram up to the point of the mountain but we chose to just walk around instead. Around noon we went back to the ranch for lunch before catching our 1 pm shuttle to the airport for our late afternoon flight.
I was truly surprised at how peaceful and relaxing this busy trip was. While we hiked or horse-backed or canoed we were BUSY but when we got back we’d have an hour here or there and we’d just lay around. We read the bible, talked, played outdoor games like horseshoes, hiked on our own and sometimes just totally SAT. It was wonderful. I just told Fred last night- I miss our little cabin and the creek flowing by! ~Until Next Time~
So what did you think of our adventure? I’d love to hear your thoughts and any questions you might have for me on this beautiful ranch and this beautiful state!