Posts Tagged ‘Gros Ventre’

Survival of the Fittest

June 3rd, 2015 by Amy Worster

gros_ventre_slide_large

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.

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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.

 

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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!

Autumn in Jackson Hole

October 15th, 2012 by Amy

Well the summer tourist season has drawn to a close.  It was another spectacular summer in the Jackson Hole area, and throughout Yellowstone.  But not all travelers have left and there certainly are locals still in the area… so what is there to do in Jackson during the fall shoulder season?   Well, there is a lot to do.

Goosewing Ranch closed to guests on September 23 for the 2012 summer season, but we are still at the ranch finishing projects and already preparing for 2013.  Without all the families on the ranch to take horseback riding we have some down time to really enjoy the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.

Hunting, fishing, hiking, and great deals are just a few of the things you can experience in Jackson Hole Wyoming during the autumn months.  Flights into Jackson Hole Airport are usually a little less expensive and all restaurants and hotels are offering discounted rates and deals.  The area itself is beautiful also.  The aspen trees are in full color, and the wildlife is abundant whether you are shooting them with a  camera, bow, or riffle.  Hunting is a big part of our local economy and it brings many thrill seekers to the area.  Contact a local guiding service or check out grosventrehunting.com for more information.  Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks also offer great touring opportunities.   With fewer tourists in the area you can travel through the parks with ease.  This is also a great time of year for hiking with cooler temps and spectacular views, but remember the wildlife is preparing for winter so tread with caution.  Fishing is still excellent also.  The steams are easily accessible and the trout are hungry.  With temps ranging for 65 degrees during the day down below freezing at night you will want to pack a variety of options.  But get out and enjoy the spectacular weather the autumn in the Tetons brings.

Make sure you check local listings for off season hours and specials, and also check with the local parks because each entrance and most venders have different dates of operation.  Remember not all of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks are open all year.  If you like cooler weather, great deals, fall colors, small crowds, and lots of wildlife and scenery viewing then checkout the Jackson Hole area.  Most of the people in the area this time of year are hunters, locals, and singles or couples so pack a bag and enjoy the off season touring the Tetons.   I know those of us at Goosewing Ranch and in the Gros Ventre LOVE this time of year!

 

What’s Cookin’ at Goosewing Ranch…

May 19th, 2012 by Amy

Woohoo… We are so excited to announce that the construction on our outdoor kitchen is finally coming together.  We hope that you will agree with us that this will be a wonderful addition to the ranch.  The new kitchen area or “Gazebo” as we are referring to it, is scheduled to be completed June 1, just 2 days before we open to our guests.

This is going to be a beautiful attraction with great views into our pool area, and horse pasture.  We will be able to serve meals, drinks, and just plain entertain in this great space.  I am most excited about the brick oven that will be going in soon.  Bring on the homemade breads, pizzas, and bake goods!

Now for those of you asking about weather, temperatures, and bugs:  we will be doing our best to make this an enjoyable space all season long.  The structure will be fully roofed, with lighting, a sound system, and inferred heaters.  For the mosquitoes, we have purchased numerous types of traps and killers.  We will be spraying the area early spring/summer, as well as operating mosquito traps during the season.

Come join us for some family fun in the Gros Ventre.  Our chef, Angel Garcia, will be serving up some amazing cuisine from basic ranch style food, to more gourmet meals.  Dude Ranching in Jackson Hole Wyoming has taken a turn and better dining is at the first corner, and it is no wonder.  With all the activities to do while on vacation out West you will develop an abundant appetite.  From hiking in the Grand Tetons, touring through Yellowstone National Park, horseback riding in the mountains surrounding Goosewing Ranch, or just relaxing at our Sleeping Indian Spa you will enjoy the delightful meals being served from our new Gazebo!

Yew Haw… Horses have arrived…

May 17th, 2012 by Amy

Giddy up… the horses have arrived and Goosewing Ranch is starting to feel like home again!  Big, tall, small, but not one is skinny… We have horses of all shapes, sizes, and colors; horses for beginner to experienced riders and something for everyone in between.  We are so excited to have them all back on the ranch.  It really is a long winter without them.  The horses have spent the last few months down in Star Valley Wyoming, and have made the journey through Jackson Hole to get up to the ranch.  Our horses are very lucky to get the winter off, which they earn after a long season of taking guests all across the Bridger- Teton National Forest and through the Gros Ventre Wilderness.

We have 62 head of horses on the ranch.  The majority of these horses have been coming to Goosewing Ranch for years.  The great thing about having the same horses year after year is that the horses learn our routine, and trails, and the returning wranglers know the horses and their personality which helps them pick the best horse for each guest.  Our horses are leased through Yellowstone Horse Rentals, similar to many of the local guest ranches throughout the Jackson Hole area.  These horses are the best at what they do.  They stay calm in intense situations, they are very sure footed in varying terrain and weather conditions, and know how to show every guest a great time whether galloping through the meadows, or meandering across mountain tops.

Of course each horse comes with its own personality and behaviors.  One of the more famous Goosewing horses is Snickers.  She is a big grey mare with more personality then one can imagine.  She is an escape artist, a belly scratcher, fence breaker, hobble runner, and the best darn horse to put beginner adult riders on.  Snickers will take care of her rider on the trail, she might not be the fastest but she won’t be “bear bait”.   Snickers best buddy is Goliath.  Goliath is a small pure black gelding who loves children of all ages.  He will cautiously carry the smallest of equine enthusiast through the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem to the more advance buckaroos on adventures excursions.  He is also very smooth and comfortable to ride bareback.   Stay tuned for more horse updates throughout the season.

Our wranglers are busy getting the horses in shape and ready for each of our guests.  No matter if you want to ride high for views of the Grand Teton, or low along the river we have trails and horses to take you everywhere.  Welcome back horses!

The Cowboy Hat…

May 1st, 2012 by Amy

They come in all shapes, sizes, heights, and colors…Some faded, some misshaped, and others perfectly formed.  What is it that is so special about a cowboys/girls hat?  To completely understand the bond between the buckaroo and their signature piece, one must understand the uses of the cowboy hat.

Unlike many other styles of hats the cowboy hat is quite functional.  With its larger brim it makes a very useful sunshade for the face, neck, and shoulders.  This same large brim also protects you when it rains or snows and you can turn your hat into the wind to protect yourself from the blowing dust storm, or hide your eyes in a poker game in Jackson Hole.  A light straw hat will keep you cool in through the Wyoming summer and a heavy felt hat will keep you warm in the winter.  Not only are hats great for protection, but they also serve a useful purpose as a bucket (we have all heard of the 10 gallon hat), or storage area…Cowboys are known for keeping pictures, poems, cash and tooth picks in their hats.  Now if you have never had the pleasure of wearing a cowboy hat and experiencing the versatility then it is hard to explain why some cowboys get so attached…Breaking in a new hat is like starting a colt.  You’re gonna have your good days and your bad days, but after you each get dirty, and take a few spills together you will be working as a team for years to come; and a cowboy never forgets his first hat or colt.

Jackson Hole has a lot great hat shops, but you don’t have to get a custom hat to fit in at Goosewing Ranch.  A good hat should fit well, be comfortable, and serve the above purposes.  I want my hat to be able to stay put on my hand while I am riding a bucking, runaway horse in a windstorm.  But, the snug hat shouldn’t cause pain or discomfort; your hat should form to the shape of your head.  A general rule of mine is if I can bend over like I am picking a horse’s foot and my hat stays on then that’s a good start.  Hats come in all shapes…some are more round with a tall crown, while others are oval with a low crown.  Each region is known for a different shape of cowboy hat, all serving the same purposes but each adding its own flare and style.  If your hat isn’t a sure fit make sure you also purchase or construct a stampede string to go along.  The stampede string secures to your hat and then is tightened under your chin to keep your hat on your head whether you’re in a wild horse chase through the mountains or just horseback riding in some mild Wyoming wind.  Most western stores have a person on staff that can help you find the perfect hat; this person usually will be able to custom shape the hat to fit your head and your personal style.  Take your time shopping, remember you and your hat will make many memories together, from galloping through the Gros Ventre, being smashed to the ground from the winds off the Grand Tetons, to surviving  the family vacation into Yellowstone National Park.  Each adventure takes you one step closer to forming that bond between cowboy and cowboy hat…Where will yours take you?

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.

All-inclusive and National Park vacations..Jackson Hole has it all!

April 5th, 2012 by Amy


Planning a family vacation or personal getaway can be a very overwhelming… Just deciding a region to visit is difficult. What will everyone enjoy, what is our budget, where should we go, what do we want to do, what does the area have to offer; these are just a few of the questions that help narrow the search. Then the more people and different age groups you throw into the mix only seems complicates things. When choosing a vacation for a family reunion, or just a private getaway, western Wyoming has a lot to offer…This year escape to Wyoming, where there is something for everyone!
The United States has 58 National Parks, and Wyoming is home of the Nation’s first, Yellowstone National Park. Bordering Yellowstone is Grand Teton National Park, with breath-taking mountain views, and abundant wildlife. Touring the country’s National Parks is a great way to get in touch with nature, have an educational experience, and see some of the most spectacular parts of our country. Another great option while visiting Yellowstone or Grand Teton is to visit guest or dude ranch. Ranches are typically all-inclusive vacations, including everything from taxes and gratuities to lodging, meals, and activities. Some of the basic activities one might experience on a guest ranch are horseback riding, tubing or rafting the rivers, roping, line dancing, target shooting, hiking, mountain bike riding and much more. Guest Ranches that are members of the Dude Ranchers Association are held to many high standards of service and operation. By choosing a ranch from the DRA you are practically guaranteed to have a wonderful vacation. At Goosewing Ranch we provide our guests with abundant, savory meals prepared by our in house chefs, authentic western hospitality with modern amenities, activities to keep everyone entertained, and a spa for those who wish to relax or relive sore muscles after a day of exhilarating experiences. Also, enjoy viewing wildlife in the Gros Ventre valley, or exploring the Bridger-Teton National forest on one of the Polaris Rangers. Guest ranches aren’t just horses, and barbed wire, it’s more of leather and lace, a rustic setting with resort amenities.
It is important to remember that there are many different types of vacations available out there. Why limit yourself to the same beach vacation, when you can have an all-inclusive guest ranch vacation and visit a historic National Park? Don’t think “City Slickers”, think of a true family vacation with experiences that will keep you smiling for years to come.

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.

Preparing and Packing for your Goosewing Ranch vacation:

March 28th, 2012 by Amy

The countdown has begun and your summer vacation is quickly approaching. Now begins the task of preparing and packing. Packing for any vacation can be a challenge, and a guest ranch is no different. Whether you plan to pick up some essential items in Jackson, or bring them from home, we would like to give you some suggestions on what to pack and expect…

Remember, Goosewing Ranch is located at 7,400 feet in the Gros Ventre Mountains, the sun is very intense, and the weather can change drastically very quickly. Typically the summer months in Jackson Hole are very enjoyable, with mild temperatures and a dry climate. Expect, warm, and dry days, with chilly temperatures in the evenings and nights. The weather can be very different as you travel from Yellowstone to Jackson to the Ranch. We recommend always carrying an extra layer with you while traveling through western Wyoming. The ranch, town, and surrounding National Parks are all very causal and laid-back… You will be welcomed into most establishments in causal summer attire, or your cowboy getup.

Aside from you cowboy or cowgirl gear we suggest that you bring along… sunblock of SPF 15 or high, lip balm with SPF, and make sure to apply throughout the day. Hats are a great tool in keeping you cool, and aid in sunburn prevention. A cowboy hat works well, because it keeps the sun off your face and neck, just make sure it is a snug fit or purchase a stampede strap to keep it on your head. We also recommend bringing a thin long sleeve shirt; this will also help keep you cool and from getting too much sun exposure. We have found that fishing or western button up shirts work the best. For horseback riding, you will want to have a comfortable pair of jeans, and slick soled boots with about a ½” heel. We recommend this style of boot for safety reasons; bulky hiking boots could get stuck and shoes without heels can slide to far forward being very dangerous for the rider. Boots are fun for a night of dancing also. There can be a drastic temperature fluctuation between day and night, so we suggest that you bring a fleece or light jacket, for those of you coming in June or late September, bring a heavier jacket or more layers. Don’t forget your bathing suit, shorts, t-shirts, and comfortable hiking or walking shoes for touring the local area and parks. If you are planning on rafting the Snake River or floating the Gros Ventre bring a pair of water shoes or sandals that will stay on your feet. We have a guest laundry facility located near our cabins for your convenience. We will provide all riders with rain slickers, in case of an afternoon shower. We also have a number of items available for purchase in of gift shop, such as, gloves, hoodies, vests, lip balm, bug spray, sunblock, ball caps, and more… In your cabin for your pleasure are hair dryers, robes, mini frig, coffee maker, and eco-sential bath products. If you are planning on going on an overnight pack trip we suggest bringing wool socks, warm hat, and an extra warm layer. Please feel free to contact at 1-888-733-5251 or 1-307-733-5251 us or visit our website for more information.

Suggested Items to pack:                                                                                                                   Camera (w/ extra batteries or charger)
Western style clothing
Sunscreen (SPF 15+)
Lip Balm w/ SPF
Sunglasses
Bug Spray
Hat (ball cap or cowboy hat)
Light jacket or Fleece
Slick soled boots with ½” heel (great for riding and dancing)
Thin long sleeved shirt (recommend fishing or western button shirts)
Jeans (comfortable to horseback ride in)
Bathing suit
Water shoes (make sure they will stay on your feet in the river)
Hiking or walking shoes
Personal items
Summer attire                                                                                                                                                                             Phone Card (for placing long distance calls from the ranch phone line) there is free Wi-Fi available

Average Temps:
June High and Low: 68 / 35
July High and Low: 76 / 42
August High and Low: 75 / 43
September High and Low: 65 / 33

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