Posts Tagged ‘Jackson Hole’

Hats off…

January 23rd, 2013 by Amy

cowboy hat

The American cowboy hat, as we know it today, didn’t exist in the 1840′s.  Hats worn by those legendary mountain men were generally made of pelts; a few of wool for the hunters and trappers who ventured into town for supplies.  Moving west hats were generally a sign of a profession, or reflections of cultural practices.  Hardy men trailing cattle wore a variety of styles, shapes and materials to fashion their head gear.

The traditional Chilean horsemen wore what is called the Chupalla.  They were first made of a plant named the bromelia which locals called achupalla.  Now they are made of rice and wheat.  The Chupalla was also used for a traditional Chilean folk dance.  However, with the high cost of hats now a day, it is difficult to see any wage earning cowboy stomping this valuable accessory into the ground with dirty boots and spurs.

Today there is a well-respected cowboy and one of the original “horse whisperers” who is generally seen wearing a version of the Chupalla.  Buck Brannnaman has long been admired for his skill with a horse.  Perhaps Brannaman’s easy going mannerisms; laid back way with horses is symbolized perfectly by the phrase “por la chupalla” which loosely translates to “what the heck”.  Or perhaps he is a great Chilean dancer.

Around 1865 John B. Stetson traveled west in search of a drier climate for health reasons.  He was the son of a Philadelphia master hatter and learned his skills working with his father.   Although hatters were not well thought of in that time period, looked upon as lazy and unreliable, Stetson eventually proved that myth wrong.

During his journey west he demonstrated to his companions how he could create felt out of working fur and shaped it into a large brimmed hat.  Even though his friends made fun of his extreme design, Stetson liked the way it protected him from the elements, created a unique image and perhaps covered a bald spot.  The hat was later named, “The Boss of the Plains”.  Perhaps Hollywood’s Tom Mix carried on the daring fashion statement of the 10 gallon hat to woo audiences.

John B. Stetson changed the berated image of a hatter to become a successful, influential and respected business man.

In 1872 Montgomery Ward opened, offering store bought clothing to rural America.  At first only selling a wide brimmed hat called the “Men’s Panama Hat”; four years later they introduced the “Men’s Planter’s Hat”.  The rounded crown and smaller brim could be molded to adjust to the individual personality of the cowboy.  The smaller brim was also a better fit for the winds of the prairie.

In the 1920′s, millionaire E.R. Byer invested in hat maker Harry Rolnick.  His unique creations caught Byer’s eye and in 1927 Byer-Bolnick started their business in Dallas, TX.  Later they would create the Resistol hat line meaning resistant-all weather.

Now hats come in a wide range of styles and colors.  There is a style for everyone.  Some interesting ones say a lot about a person.

No matter what your style is, be comfortable and enjoy your cowboy experience.  Jackson Hole has a variety of outfitters that want you to be comfortable on your family vacation.  Look around and find the hat that says, “I’m having a great time here”.   And, if you forgot your hat for your Guest Ranch Vacation we have a variety of sizes at Goosewing Ranch to help protect every buckaroo!

Cowboy lore: never put your cowboy hat on your bed.  Also, don’t eat peanuts before a rodeo but that really doesn’t have anything to do with style, just thought it was interesting.

By: Janis Wright

 

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.

Yellowstone, Tetons, Ranches and more…Jackson Hole

November 15th, 2012 by Amy

It’s that time of year again… the family is all together and it is time to decide on next year’s vacation destination.   It doesn’t matter if you are a young couple, mature couple, large family, or small the Jackson Hole area has something offer each diverse traveler.  Make this year’s vacation an adventure filled with new experiences, while exploring this educational and historic area.

Wyoming is home to our nation’s first National Park, Yellowstone National Park, founded in 1872.  However, Yellowstone is not the only park the neighbors Jackson Hole, there is also Grand Teton National Park.  Jackson not only has two historic and magnificent parks in its backyard, but is also home to many guest ranches and summer attractions.

Guest Ranches such as Goosewing Ranch are a great way to visit the area with the ease of an all-inclusive package.  While staying at a ranch you can enjoy many different activities from hiking, horseback riding, line dancing, spa treatments, rodeos, cookouts, off-roading, and more.  But, make sure you save some time to visit Jackson Hole for some shopping, rodeo, rafting and a quick history lesson, and then head into Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park.  There are many outfitters that will guide you through the parks in all fashions, but if you are a do-it-yourself kind of person here are a few tips.  I would suggest leaving your accommodations early in the morning and hitting the trail.  You should allow for a full day or more in each park, 12+ hours.  If you only have one day I suggest driving the lower loop of Yellowstone.  You will see such features as Old Faithfull, boiling paint pots, hot springs and swimming holes, water falls, grand canyons, and hopefully some wildlife.  There are many different board walks taking you safely around various features of the park, and many have interruptive rangers on site to answer questions.  Remember obey all warning and safety postings and keep a vast distance between yourself and ALL wildlife.  Yellowstone might have park behind its name but that doesn’t mean it is safe to play or recreate anywhere.

Grand Teton National Park has much to offer as well.  This is a great area to enjoy the water or spend the day hiking.  Grand Teton has hiking trails suitable for those looking for an easy family picnic and hike to the more adventurous climber and backpacker.  Grand Teton has many great opportunities to view wildlife and is a photographer’s dream.

Jackson, Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Wyoming all have a lot to offer a diverse group of travelers.  With a history, adventure, and science rich environment you will return home with more than a vacation, you will return home with an experience.  Visit Jackson Hole, experience the Wild West!

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 http://goosewingranch.com/the-ranch/employment/ or email info@goosewingranch.com or call 1-888-733-5251.  Join the Goosewing Ranch team and ride for the brand!

Jay

Treat yourself to an All-Inclusive Guest Ranch Vacation….

October 30th, 2012 by Amy

For many a Dude or Guest Ranch vacation seems like a good way to spend a lot of money for doing work instead of relaxing.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  Yes, some Ranches are a bit pricy, but once you take into account that most are All- Inclusive than the sticker shock is greatly reduced.  Guest Ranch vacations have been a part of our history and our economical evolution since the 1880′s.  Guest Ranch vacations are a family friendly environment about Hats, Hospitality, Horses and more.  Try a new adventure this year and discover the the cowboy in you.

Like many cruises and beach resorts, Guest Ranches are a package deal with something for every traveler, and family member.  Why should Mom have to sacrifice doing what she enjoys because Dad wants adventure, and face it the boys don’t always enjoy having to follow their sister around all vacation either.  At Goosewing Ranch we have activities and adventures for everyone, from the single explorer to the diverse family reunion.  Let Mom enjoy reading a book by the pool or treating herself to a massage (included in a 7 night package), while the boys go fishing or exploring on the Polaris Ranger, and little Suzie goes on a horseback adventure with like minded young ladies.  Experiencing the Wild West together is also a great way to reunite a family or bond the vows during a honeymoon.

With an all-inclusive package you will receive lodging with modern accommodations and amenities, meals prepared by an expert culinary artist, entertainment and activities.  Guest Ranches have all the hospitality and charm that is expected of a Southern B&B, with the activities of a top notch resort, and service of a high end hotel, with scenery and views worth escaping the real world for.

Goosewing Ranch in Jackson Hole Wyoming is a member of the Dude Ranchers Association ensuring an authentic ranch experience from start to finish.  We have a season fitting for singles, groups of friends, couples, families, or reunions.  Go ahead make your neighbor jealous and book your Guest Ranch adventure at the base of the Tetons and bordering Yellowstone National Park at Goosewing Ranch, in Jackson Wyoming.  Where you will enjoy everything from horseback riding through the mountains; fly fishing the streams and Gros Ventre River, to target shooting, archery, hiking, and more.

Just remember you get more than sand in your shorts with a Guest Ranch vacation, you will go home with lasting memories and experiences that the family will talk about for generations.

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!

 

A word from one of our wranglers, Katie

July 28th, 2012 by Amy

     The end of July marks the halfway point of our guest ranch season at Goosewing Ranch. The horses and guests have been enjoying the 2012 season and have been up to lots of fun things.

We were able to cross the Gros Ventre River at the beginning of July. Being able to cross the river allowed us to explore the wilderness side of the Gros Ventre. The horses love riding through the river to eat lunch at Soda Lake or riding along Tepee Creek and Goosewing Creek.
The Goosewing Ranch staff enjoyed riding through the Fourth of July parade in Jackson Hole. We invited our guests that week to join us in the parade and everyone had a great time throwing candy and waving our American Flags as we rode by.

This past week our farrier(horseshoer) came to Goosewing Ranch to trim the horses’ hooves and shoe all 63 of our guest horses. Our farrier is Jeff Stuart from Idaho Falls. Jeff got to spend the entire week at the Goosewing Ranch working with the horses. The horses are very happy with their new pedicures and brand new pretty shoes. They are now, more than ever, ready for the second half of the guest season.

Goosewing Ranch incorporated a brand new activity this year… Equine soccer! None of our horses have ever played before, but the wranglers are having lots of fun acclimating all of them to the large equine sized soccer ball. Some horses are definitely more playful when it comes to soccer than others but they all love their new activity. The wranglers hope to incorporate equine soccer into our horse games and Goosewing Ranch Rodeo soon.

As the season continues, the Goosewing Ranch Rodeo has really kicked off. The wranglers invite the best timed and most improved riders to join us at the end of the day and compete in barrel racing, pole bending, egg and spoon and relay races. The guests love to join in by either riding or cheering and clapping along the arena fence.

We are all looking forward to the second half of our season and know there are many great rides to come!

Belt Buckles…A cowboys story…

June 22nd, 2012 by Amy


I am sure many of you out there have wondered what the deal is with the BIG belt buckles that cowboys and cowgirls wear… Of course the practical purpose of the belt buckle is to keep your belt closed, but it also can tell a story. Belt buckles come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, designs, and are unique from one to the other.
Belt buckles are sort of a cowboy’s resume, name tag, and family history all put onto a piece of silver plated metal. Some people will wear a buckle with their name on it, others like to have their favorite tractor or truck, and some their favorite sport or animal to hunt. But, for a cowboy it is usually a trophy to be worn with pride, and to show others their accomplishments. The family history comes in when it is time for a young man or lady to start their own rodeo career, but they haven’t a buckle of their own so Mom or Dad will pass along a buckle of theirs for them to wear.
Belt buckles are given for accomplishments in the “cowboy” world for such things as barrel racing, bull riding, team roping, tie down roping and more. At the local Jackson Hole rodeo contestants compete throughout the season for a chance to win a buckle. At Goosewing Ranch many of our employees wear buckles that they have either won or purchased. You can even buy a buckle with a picture of “Old Faithful” in Yellowstone National Park, or one with the Tetons on it.  Even guest ranches and working ranches have buckles made up with their brand on them.
Whatever your style or choice of buckle wear it proudly! Love live Wyoming’s Cowboys!

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!

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?

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