Posts Tagged ‘dude ranch’

The Whiskey Gentry meets Goosewing Ranch

September 10th, 2015 by Amy Worster

The Whiskey Gentry

The Whiskey Gentry

Just over a month ago we had a very special band come visit us at the ranch. The Whiskey Gentry boasts an excellent collection of covers and original songs which they serenaded our guests with while they were here. It started with Jason, guitarist and overall band savant (on occasion referred to as “head honcho” if you will), and his arrival at Goosewing Ranch nearly two months prior. Then, he did not come as a rising superstar, but as one of two sons celebrating their father’s birthday.

Jason with his guitar and cowboy hat

Jason with his guitar and cowboy hat

It was easy to befriend Jason and Tim, as well as their enigmatic father, Bob. Soon enough, we learned of the Atlanta-based band, whose music shines a modern and edgy light on the blend of bluegrass and traditional country, and Jason’s casual mention that they would be in the Jackson area in a mere handful of weeks. Bob and his sons departed the ranch a few days later (not without style: never did I imagine my job would include banging on their cabin door at four thirty in the morning so they wouldn’t miss their shuttle to the airport), and three weeks passed before it occurred to me that The Whiskey Gentry should be passing through our area soon.

Price, quite happy about the double rainbow

Price, quite happy about the double rainbow

A few emails later, and we shook electronic hands that they’d come stay with us for two nights and give our guests some good entertainment. The ranch quivered with excitement; most of the staff recalled Jason and Tim with fondness, and knew the company he kept couldn’t be that bad. We were greeted with grins, and quickly introduced to the five strangers spilling out of the van after Jason; Lauren and Rurik, Price, Sammy, and Jeremy. Their energy was infectious, snaking through the ranch as they took it all in; it carried through to their performance.

Lauren and Jason

Lauren and Jason

We took them on a trail ride; besides being good musicians, they were funny, kind, and easy to get along with. They took goofy pictures and one brought home a souvenir: a baby elk leg we found along the trail next to some wolf prints. Overall, these were some pretty cool dudes, and you should check them out.



This post was written by Sara Massery, who is experiencing her first season at Goosewing Ranch,as the Office Assistant. She hails from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and has just completed her B.A. in English Writing and Literature at Emmanuel College. She was looking for an adventure, and she found one.

Survival of the Fittest

June 3rd, 2015 by Amy Worster


Gros Ventre Slide seen from Shadow Mtn.

On June 23, 1925, a landslide on Sheep Mountain dammed up the Gros Ventre River with a high tower of rocks and dirt. Lower Slide Lake was born in the following flooding, only six miles from the town of Kelly, Wyoming. Over the next two years, the lake filled in, and the nature-made dam held. But in May of 1927, just before a huge election between Kelly and Jackson, a portion of the dam broke. The town of Kelly—which was favored to win—suddenly found itself under six feet of water, at least temporarily, and Jackson “won by a landslide.”

When you drive by Slide Lake, the scar of earth is still apparent on the mountain; an ugly welt of naked dirt among a landscape of crisp green pines. At the edge of the road above the lake you can see the gravel and rocks that were pushed as far as they would go and then abandoned, broken and forgotten about. Long-dead trees stand in solidarity near the center of the lake, barren and eerie but still very much present. There were things interrupted here, and the land can’t forget it yet.

Coming to Goosewing Ranch, I didn’t know what to expect. I wanted to fall in love with the area, but I wasn’t sure if it was possible. I dreamed of being so happy here that I would stay, and that has a lot to do with where my life is headed: straight into a tunnel of Unknown, where thinking of my future is exactly like being caught in a landslide. When I got here, it almost felt like this was life pushing the pause button. Work here… and then what?

There is a group of trees at the base of Sheep Mountain that were not always there. Their place of origin was at the top of the mountain. When the landslide happened, the trees went with it. But instead of dying, uprooted, they replanted themselves. And we’re not talking a few trees, but a square mile of them. They found a safe place and stuck with it. The trees you can see today are the same ones from 1925, and that says something about these trees’ commitment to existence.

That’s the thing about sliding down a mountainside, or flying across the country to live in a new place: it’s foreign, it’s terrifying, but it’s most definitely survivable. And maybe it’s better than where we started, even if we don’t know how long this haven is going to last.


This is Sara Massery’s first season at Goosewing Ranch, where she is the Office Assistant. She hails from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and has just completed her B.A. in English Writing and Literature at Emmanuel College. She’s very excited for the summer ahead!

The Beginning of a Journey

May 26th, 2015 by Amy Worster

sara at yellowstoneI graduated from college on May 9th, and six days later I was on a plane headed to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The time I spent in the airport—a total of about four hours across two layovers—didn’t feel real, and my impending adventure was suspended above my head. I had flown alone before to visit family, and this didn’t feel any different. When the plane touched down in Jackson—that was when it hit me: I was in for one unique summer. I walked off the ramp and almost stopped short.

Growing up in the western part of Massachusetts, I was used to the way the mountains encircled the town. We were in the foothills of the Appalachians, after all, and I liked their rounded tops and the way they protected my town from bad weather. These were different. These mountains were so sharp they could cut the sky if it got too close. Home, spring was in full bloom. Here, the air was crisp and light and there was still snow on the mountaintops.

On the day I arrived, the trees clung to the fog. The tops of the mountains were obscured by fat clouds that yearned to touch the ground. We passed Slide Lake and the Grey Hills, and around every corner I kept wondering, how close are we?

I know the distance of forty miles. On a highway, it would take less than forty-five minutes to drive. I thought the wilderness of the Gros Ventre River Valley and the Grand Teton National Park might be exaggerated, but nothing could have prepared me for the trek to Goosewing Ranch. The road passes the small town of Kelly and climbs upwards into the park. From there, it could be equated to a mild roller coaster ride. Sometimes you can see the road extend into the distance for a mile; other times you might question if it even continues after this hill; it is always winding and twisting. And my perception of forty miles changed—it took nearly an hour and a half to drive that distance here. Finally, there it was: the ranch spread out in front of us, as glorious (even in the rain) as the pictures that I had pored over during the previous months.

I wake up each morning excited for the day ahead, for the work we’re doing to make this ranch the best it can be for our guests. I am nearly bursting with excitement waiting for the guests to arrive, because they’ll make my new home come alive with activity. I’ve been here for almost a week, which is the same amount of time most of our guests will be here, and I know that’s not enough for me; I’m not done with this place yet. And I can bet you will feel the same.



This is Sara Massery’s first season at Goosewing Ranch, where she is the Office Assistant. She hails from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and has just completed her B.A. in English Writing and Literature at Emmanuel College. She’s very excited for the summer ahead!

Romance on a Jackson Hole Guest Ranch

February 12th, 2013 by Amy

2011 Girl and honeymooners 349

With it being Valentine’s Day and all we thought it was a good time to talk about Romance on the Ranch.   Yes, a Guest Ranch in Jackson Hole Wyoming can be very romantic, in many ways…  Goosewing Ranch has been host to just a couple of very special weddings, but have embraced many honeymooners, and couples looking to escape and enjoy each others company in a very beautiful place.  We aren’t talking about the mushy stuff here, we are talking about experiencing new adventures together, horseback riding, wine tasting and relaxing by the pool and spa, treating yourselves to couples massage, dancing,  photography and more.

While at the ranch we encourage couples to get out and explore the area.  Whether on one of the Polaris rangers for a picnic lunch in the National Forest, or to either Grand Teton or Yellowstone National Parks.  No matter where you explore  there are endless options when it come to photography.  This is a great way to make those special moments last,  we can also arrange for some spectacular couples photos, with a natural back drop that you must see to believe.

What could be more relaxing and romantic than spending a long weekend filled with exciting days and warm evenings cuddled up with your sweetie, and a glass of wine by the fire…  That is what you get with a romantic weekend at a Jackson Hole Guest Ranch.  BUT…Goosewing Ranch is more than just a great place for couples, it is also a great place to celebrate your true love with the entire family.  This is a great way to make lasting memories that all your loved ones will cherish for years to come.  With lots of daily and evening activities everyone is bound to be fully entertained.  This is a great way to get the family together to celebrate and anniversary or reunion.  We will even prepare your favorite cake for all to enjoy.

Try something different this year; do something that your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers will be jealous of… embrace your love in a beautiful area, filled with natural beauty and adventure.  We can provide all your meals, lodging, ranch adventures, and a romantic setting for any occasion.  Let us help make your dreams come true at Goosewing Ranch.

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Jackson Hole Antler Arches, an iconic symbol…

December 17th, 2012 by Amy

The Grand Tetons, the Mormon Barn, The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, and the Antler Arches on the town square downtown Jackson Hole are just a few of the most memorable and most photographed features of the valley.  As Jackson transformed from a mountain man town into a dude ranch town the antler arches grew in popularity with family travelers and locals alike.

There are four antler arches, one marking each corner of the town square.  Though there isn’t an exact date of when the first arch was built and placed on the town square, most sources cite 1960 as the year the first antler arch was added to the town square.  In 2007 they began to replace the arches, and auctioned off the old weathered ones.

Each arch contains about 10,000 pounds of elk antlers.  Don’t worry not one elk was harmed in the making of the arches.  Elk grow antlers that they shed annually.  Unlike horns that must be cut off and are hollow inside, antlers, fall off naturally and are solid.  Starting May 1 locals, tourist, and the local Boy Scout club hit the National Forests and Elk Refuge in search of the all the antler sheds.  Each year at the Old West Days the Boy Scouts put on an auction where they sell their antlers.  Others sell them to jewelers, furniture makers, private deals, dealers from overseas, or just keep them to enjoy in their own homes.

Next time you are in Jackson Hole Wyoming on vacation, make sure you stop by the town square and get your iconic picture in front of the JH Antler Arches.

Jackson Hole Guest Ranch Bound…

November 7th, 2012 by Amy

Jackson Hole here I come!

I recently received an offer from Goosewing Ranch to join their team for the 2013 summer season.  It is a herd of horses, pack of dogs, flock of sheep but what do you call a bunch of cowboys and cowgirls-Wranglers, and wranglers are what we are!

It is my pre-conceived idea that Wranglers grew up riding horses, and dreaming of being a cowboy on a dude or cattle ranch.  Why would anyone want to do anything else?  However, life didn’t lead me down the road to the West, only in my thoughts.  Marriage, corporate life, and children temporarily changed my focus.  However, I always kept a horse and stayed active in a few events when the kids didn’t have something going on.

As the kids grew, I at least got to enjoy a Western life style.  They competed in youth, high school, college and pro rodeos.  Barrel racers, goats, breakaway and the boys rode bulls.   Kept putting them on horses but they liked riding bulls.  As a family we traveled and made wonderful, long-lasting friendships and memories.  But there was always a part of me that wanted to be the one on the horse, not the spectator, cheerleader, chauffeur or rodeo secretary.  When my daughter headed off to college she took my barrel horse to compete in college rodeo.  That was about twelve years ago and I’m still waiting to get the horse back!

Now, the kids are grown; independent, hard workers with families and careers of their own; spread all over the country.  For me, retirement is fast approaching.  To supplement my income I could work part-time in the office that is so familiar.  Then out of the blue, the idea to follow my own dreams, try to recapture fantasies of riding the range alongside people with the same interest.   So I took a leap of faith and started applying, Wrangler, cook, housekeeper, just give me a chance.  Goosewing Ranch is giving me that chance and I could not be more excited.  The opportunity to work at the ranch will fulfill a lot of my bucket list goals but it has given me a lot more to add.  Guest Ranches have opportunities to employee all types of individuals, old, young, experienced horseman/women, cooks, novice horseman and more, just apply and find the dream job you have been waiting for.  Jackson Hole is an area that is full of adventures just waiting to take place with both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks in the local area.

To my surprise/delight, I have actually had a couple of ranches contact me but none compare to Goosewing.  Reviewing videos, talking to the manager, looking at the history, I feel privileged to have the opportunity to be a part of this quality outfit.   Friendliness, caring and a genuine commitment to the guests, show in the comments from visitors and staff.   I look forward to sharing experiences, the beauty of the location, friendships and being a part of fulfilling not only my dreams but those of the guest.

Now the down side!  I’ve got to get in shape, lose some weight so I don’t look like I am scaling Everest getting on my horse.  Besides my daily job, I run a stable of 12 horses, which require attention before and after work.  So even though I am in pretty good shape, a little more preparation won’t hurt.  Read up on the history of the country, the native plants and wildlife.  Get my first aid and CPR certification.  Like I said, my bucket list just keeps growing with more challenging and exciting adventures.  Looking forward to my Wyoming Guest Ranch experience.

You can apply at or email or call 1-888-733-5251.  Join the Goosewing Ranch team and ride for the brand!


From our head wrangler, Kris…

June 1st, 2012 by Amy

Well another spring has arrived and life on the ranch is as exciting as ever. The tack room is cleaned, and ready for a fun filled summer of horseback adventures into the Wyoming back country. We have 62 head of horses on the ranch, with mostly familiar faces, but a few new ones to learn. The horses have all wintered well and are looking fit for our guests. It is always a happy reunion when the horses return, both for them and the wranglers. We all get a good laugh watching them wonder around the ranch showing the new horses the routine of their life on a guest ranch.
All of the horses have been ridden and taken out on different trails into the Gros Ventre wilderness and Bridger-Teton National Forest. The new Goosewing Ranch wranglers are as fun to watch as the new horses. They are in awe of the terrain and vistas surrounding the ranch and on the trails we ride. They all are excited to learn more about the area and the horses they will be caring for throughout the summer. Every day is a new adventure. They remind me of myself and the reasons why I started leading trail rides. With eight wranglers this year we will be able to provide excellent service and a variety of trail rides daily.
The wildlife has been abundant both on, and near the ranch and on the trail rides. We have spotted numerous herds of Elk, mule deer through the thin foliage, and watched as the antelope move back into the valley. We have also spotted wolves, badgers, grizzly bears, eagles, and a few moose. The horses have handled the wildlife spotting’s, new wranglers, and various trail conditions like old pros. One never knows what to expect in western Wyoming where we are part of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.
We are all looking forward to the vacation season starting in the Jackson Hole area, and can’t wait to entertain all of our guests by taking them on horseback adventures, touring Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, and enjoying all the a resort ranch has to offer. The horses are “rearing to go”, the trails are drying out, and the wranglers are saddled up and waiting for all the different guests to arrive. We still have cabins available, so, it’s not too late to book your Dude ranch vacation at Goosewing Ranch. Come and enjoy our western hospitality!

Rodeos…A cowboys resume…

April 25th, 2012 by Amy

Rodeos have a long and vibrant history. The roots of modern rodeos can be traced back to the late 1700s and 1800s. Spanish ranchers who settled in Mexico brought over many of their ranching techniques and taught them to their Mexican ranch hands, also known as vaqueros. As Spanish influence waned in the 1800s the vaqueros moved north and passed on much of their knowledge to Americans moving out and settling the new western frontier.

As the West was settled nearby ranches began holding informal competitions between their outfits to see who was the best at doing ranch chores. Chores like breaking horses and roping cattle provided the basis for the modern day events that we see in rodeos. Many cowboys began to find themselves out of work as trains spread toward the west coast and the range lands were fenced in around the time of the American Civil War. The solution for these cowboys was to travel around and exhibit their skills in Wild West Shows, and local rodeos. In the early days the performers in the two shows were one in the same. The rodeos of this time period were still almost completely unorganized, which led to much confusion. Rodeos were put on by local communities and there was little communication between them. Many of the competitors didn’t know what events were being offered, or even what the rules were going to be until they arrived and paid their entry fees.

In the early 1900s rodeos began to be structured more and more by official rodeo organizations. These organizations put together a formal set of rules and judging guidelines. Eventually Wild West shows fell on the wayside and rodeos became more and more like we see them today. Rodeos were actually one of the first sports to have a dedicated governing body with the creation of the Rodeo Association of America(RAA) in 1929. Today we have the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association(PRCA) which puts on the famous National Finals Rodeo every year in Las Vegas.  From Memorial Day to Labor Day, Jackson Hole, has a rodeo every Wednesday and Saturday night.  Rodeos have been popular on guest ranch and dude ranches, like Goosewing Ranch, for generations.

Rodeos have changed quite a bit over the years, but it’s fun to think about how rodeos have transformed from a simple competition between neighbors to the competitive sport it is today.

Other interesting facts about rodeos:

  • The ‘invention’ of steer wrestling can be attributed to just one man, Bill Pickett. It is the only event that can be attributed to only one person.
  • The most popular event in the rodeos in the late 1800s and early 1900s was trick roping, also known as ‘fancy roping’
  • Women were a regular part of bronc and bull riding in early rodeos, but became publicly unpopular after a woman was killed in 1929
  • There are many claims to the first rodeo, but the earliest recorded is Santa Fe, NM (1842)

Our Independence Day Special includes a trip in to famous Jackson Hole, Wyoming for the parade, lunch in Grand Teton National Park, rodeo, and fireworks.  This is a great family vacation package…

Goosewing Ranch Gone Green..

April 15th, 2012 by Amy

Guest Ranches aren’t about a bunch of rough cowboys trying to find a way to make a living. It is about an honest, hardworking group of people that love the outdoors, and want to share a piece of their world with others. Modern Guest or Dude Ranches come in lots of sizes, shapes, and with varying accommodations. In today’s world a destination vacation needs to offer more than what meets the eye; they need to be able to prove to their clients the businesses sustainability. Goosewing Ranch is no different, and we would like to tell you a little bit about what we are doing to improve our guests experience at the ranch.
I like to think of the experience a guest receives at Goosewing Ranch as mixing leather and lace. You get the rough, tough western experience, all while enjoying cozy accommodations and modern amenities. Goosewing Ranch is doing its part to help maintain a healthy environment by using natural or “Green” cleaning products, bio degradable laundry detergents, and eco-friendly spa and bathing products. We offer Eco-sential brand shampoos, conditioners, hand, and body wash. These products break down and won’t pollute the ground water. We also offer locally grown organic oils in our spa. Get in touch with Wyoming’s nature while being pampered.
It is important to reduce, reuse, and recycle at any location, but being located in the Gros Ventre Wilderness and Bridger-Teton National Forest it is essential. Recycling not only reduces the amount of waste we have to pay to dispose of, but it also provides our employees and guests a sense stewardship to the environment. We provide all of our guests with a reusable water bottle at check-in and encourage everyone to fill it with our natural spring water that is available from every tap on the ranch. This water is excellent…not only is it from our very own spring, but it flows at a refreshing 42 degrees! We also try to limit and reduce the amount of energy, water, and detergents we use by asking our guests to reuse their bath towels. A hanging towel means you will reuse it and a towel on the floor means you need it replaced with a clean one. The ranch produces it own power through clean burning propane generators. The oil from these generators is recycled to a local business to be reused as a heating source.
Jackson Hole might have started as a hide-away for outlaws, but it has grown into a global attraction. With Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks neighboring both Gooewing and Jackson there is no wonder way we want to limit our footprint on this beautiful country. Our goal is to provide you, our guests, with the best vacation, while helping you experience all western Wyoming has to offer. This is an area full of history, adventure, change, mystery, and beauty…We want you and your grandchildren to enjoy the same majestic views and wildlife encounters those generations before enjoyed. Experience Goosewing Ranch the way Mother Nature intended. Check out our sustainability page on our website for more information.

Wildflowers, the best in Jackson Hole…

April 2nd, 2012 by Amy

As the snow begins to melt and I am hearing all the birds chirping throughout the day, I can’t help but dream about the wildflowers in bloom.  No matter where I see wildflowers, they always seem to take my breath away, and cause me to stop and enjoy the moment.  But, in my mind there is no comparison to the wildflowers in the Gros Ventre.

Jackson Hole, Grand Teton, and Yellowstone National Park are home to many spectacular sights and creatures; Goosewing Ranch is fortunate to be located in an area where we are surrounded by these things daily, and get a little of everything!  Wildflowers will bloom during different times of the summer depending on the elevation.  As you increase in elevation spring and summer can be slow to come into bloom, but as things dry in Jackson new life is forming in the mountains.
I have been fortunate enough to have ridden through many fields of wildflowers, and still the sheer beauty takes me by surprise…  A feeling of happiness and peace just seems to rush through me when I crest a hillside to see all the colors of summer opened to the sun.

While at Goosewing Ranch you won’t want to miss the opportunity to horseback ride, and enjoy a picnic in a field full of lupine, Indian Paint Brush (Wyoming’s State flower), Columbine, and more.  Not only are the flowers a beautiful sight and smell, but they also make for great photography opportunities.  Different flowers are blooming at different elevations throughout the summer, but the prime time to view them close to the ranch is from late June until mid-August.  The higher you venture the later you can see them.  Visit Goosewing Ranch and get more than just a vacation get an experience that will live in your heart for years to come.