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Planning a family reunion

Jackson Hole Wyoming Family Reunions

Family time has always been important, but getting together for an extending family vacation now is as important as ever. Families are living farther apart than ever before. Yes we have the technology to stay connected, but is that really enough? It is no longer the era where cousins are spending entire summers together at the Grandparents farm; sometimes we are lucky to get together during the holidays. This is why multi-generational vacations are so needed. We need our children to know how fun it can be to play for endless hours with siblings and cousins making connections through experiences, and how cool and adventurous grandma and/or grandpa can be. This is a time to grow as a family and create lasting memories through adventure, education, experiences, and time spent together. This is a family reunion where you will disconnect from daily distractions and reconnect as a family making memories together.

There are a few key points to consider when planning a family reunion. Here are a few that we think are important to make this the best vacation and the easiest to achieve. Making lasting impressions and memories is the end result, but we want this to be great for even the planner. We love hosting family reunions and have had a many great experiences bringing families together from all over the world.

Planning: This can seem very daunting, how am I going to schedule 10 – 30 people a vacation and ensure all will have something they will love and enjoy. The best part of planning an all-inclusive family reunion at Goosewing Ranch in Jackson Hole Wyoming, is that the planning ends when your vacation begins. Once you are on the ranch everything will be taken care of for you. From meals and lodging to activities and equipment. Let us help you plan your next extraordinary family reunion.

Choosing dates: Once you have the list of family members who are interested in attending you will need to have a list of the dates that they are available. Don’t forget that we are a small property and can book out 6 months to a year in advance. Something else to consider is the season on which to visit. If you have young children (ages 0 – 15) we recommend visiting us in July or August. For more mature families you might be able to find great options in either June or September. Each season comes with different weather and activities. Also, how long should you stay to make the most out of your time together.

Gathering Details: We are happy to send information via mail or email about what to expect, weather, activities, packing tips, food details, and more to all members of your family or just you to disperse. We feel the more information provided the better to ensure everyone’s expectations are met.

Choosing accommodations: Depending on your group size you might have the entire ranch to yourself or you might need just a few cabins. We are here for you to help arrange the best accommodations possible. What we will need would be age, gender, and desired lodging accommodations for each immediate family.

Helpful Information: It is very important for us to know as much about each family member as possible. We are interested in know if there are any dietary restrictions, allergies, medical conditions, special needs/requests, horseback riding level/interest, other activity interest, if there are any special occasions (birthday’s, anniversaries, graduations), or unique activities we can arrange (National Park trips, photographer), who is the main contact for us. All of these details will ensure that you are provided with True Western Hospitality and all your needs will be met.

Travel Insurance: We strongly recommend travel insurance to all our guests, but when you are dealing with multi-generations traveling together we feel it is even more important. When making a reservation with us you can opt into additional travel insurance that will cover all members of the traveling party and extended family member emergencies. It is always better to be prepared so you can be worry free.

Selling the “Dude Ranch Reunion” idea: There is something for everyone, from horseback riding to fly fishing and spa days to exploring days there is something for all ages and abilities to enjoy. We have a wide variety of activities that are great for those ages 6 to 86. For the younger children under six they can enjoy a nature walk, a UTV ride, pony rides, finger painting the horses, wagon rides and Indian arts and crafts. For those older a few activities are archery, target shooting, horseback riding, team penning, hatchet throwing, hiking, and UTV exploring. We are also able to organize a family photo shoot, this can be a group picture with matching tee shirts or cowboy hats, or a costume party for the holidays. This is a stress free holiday, where everything is taken care of for you. Trust your family with our family. Dude ranches were founded on the idea of bringing families together and opening our home to you so you can become a part of our extended family. These family excursions are important for child development and building of family relationships. If you have never experienced a dude ranch vacation, let us show you some true western hospitality and help you plan your next adventure.

Why Wyoming?

Wyoming tends to fly low on the radar when it comes to vacations. However, there are several gems that make this state stand out. In the northwestern corner lie Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Teton National Park, which attract tourists in the summer and avid skiers and snowboarders in the winter. As a result of these famous spots, Jackson Hole has flourished.

Wyoming has a low population, clocking in at just over 580,000 people (as of 2014), but the national parks draw a big crowd to Jackson and the Greater Yellowstone area. Yellowstone alone entices about 4 million people per year; the heaviest concentration falls between May and September.

Just recently the Wyoming Office of Tourism launched a new slogan, “That’s WY.” Focused on bringing up tourism percentages, the slogan highlights all the beautiful, rugged, and wild things Wyoming has to offer.

Brian Ganther, the group creative director at BVK—the Milwaukee ad agency that created the campaign—says, “Wyoming takes Western culture and kicks it up a notch… You aren’t going there for an urban experience, although there is a growing amount of good food, music and culture.”

#GreatOutdoorsMonth #MountianBiking #Vedauwoo #ThatsWY

A photo posted by Wyoming Tourism (@visitwyoming) on

The hashtag has come alive on Twitter and Instagram, with a steady stream of pictures posted online that showcase the adventurous side of Wyoming. Whatever image comes into someone’s head about Wyoming, this new campaign is solidifying a positive perception.

Goosewing Ranch, located northeast of Jackson Hole, provides a perfect slice of Wyoming that is hard to replicate, and not often seen by visitors of the area.

Aside from being close to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, the ranch sits on the Bridger Teton National Forest and is the perfect entry point into the Gros Ventre Wilderness. (True to its name, the wilderness has remained untouched by all motorized vehicles – accessible only by foot or horseback.)

So if you ask us why you should pick Wyoming, or why you should pick Jackson Hole as your vacation destination, just take a look at this piece of country that is still truly wild. Not many people get to experience our isolated paradise. That’s why.

Celebrate Your National Parks with Goosewing Ranch!

morman barn and tetonsThis year, the National Park Service celebrates its 100th birthday, and to celebrate, fourth graders are being given free park passes for them and their families.

Yellowstone National Park is the oldest park in the United States. It was established in 1872 as an Act signed by President Grant. It wasn’t until August 25, 1916 that the National Park Service was created to protect and preserve our beautiful parks, and since 1916 over four hundred parks have been created. The NPS has grown tremendously over the years. They rely on 22,000 employees and 221,000 volunteers to maintain the parks—and no wonder they need so many people, as Yellowstone alone draws over 4 million visitors a year, usually between the months of May to September.

Goosewing Ranch makes an ideal location to stay while visiting the parks. Not only can you take advantage of the free park pass given to your fourth grader—visiting the parks with ease from our location—you can enjoy the Bridger-Teton National Forest and the beautiful, untouched wilderness that surrounds the ranch, as well. The UTVs available for guests are a fun way to get off the ranch and explore everything nature has to offer.

This is a historic year for the parks. By celebrating 100 years of service, the NPS campaign has shifted public focus to the future, and preserving National Parks for another 100 years to come. This will be a celebratory year to visit Jackson Hole.

For your child to receive his or her park pass, go to everykidinapark.gov. Passes are valid until August 31, 2016. This year’s third graders are eligible to receive their park pass starting in September 2016.

 

This post was written by Sara Massery.

The Whiskey Gentry meets Goosewing Ranch

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.

 

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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

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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

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!

Winter in Wyoming

Amy and Concho at GWR Dec 2013

Goosewing Ranch in Jackson Hole Wyoming may be closed during the winter months, but that doesn’t mean we are not enjoying the beautiful area.   The ground is covered with feet (yes, feet) of snow, the air is a bit frigged, and the rivers and lakes are all frozen solid.  So you might ask what we are doing here… Well, we are not just surviving we are living life to the fullest.  The feeling of riding a horse in the snow is like no other.  It is almost like swimming, but with a lot more clothes on.  We are watching the wildlife fill the valley, we are snowmobiling in and out of the ranch, and we a enjoying the cozy warm fire.  With both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National parks in our back yard we have great wildlife viewing and snowshoeing or cross-country ski trails.

Winter in Western Wyoming doesn’t have to involve cabin fever.  You just have to get up, get dressed and go out and enjoy this beautiful time of year.  Yes, we do have days/weeks of negative temps, but that is what makes us strong and gives us the cute rosy checks.  Our horses survive these cold days and nights by growing long, thick coats, and enjoying lots of rich hay.  Horses stay warm from the inside and require more roughage on these cold days to keep their body warm.

We hope you are enjoying the winter to the fullest.  Don’t worry summer isn’t far away.  Cozy up next to a warm fire and book your sunny summer family vacation at Goosewing Ranch, in Jackson Hole Wyoming.  WP_20140222_15_03_06_Pro

Wild Western Weather

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When thinking of the Wild West one tends to imagine hot sunshine, beautiful mountains, majestic wild horses, and dusty old cowboys.  While some of those things are true and others have been somewhat tamed; the wild western weather still remains untamed and unpredictable.

Jackson Hole Wyoming is one of those places that is still a little wild yet filled with wonderful adventure.  Being in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem the area is prone to diverse weather patterns.  One thing you can count on with the weather in this vast area, is that no matter the season it could always snow on you.  Now, don’t let this turn you off and make you start thinking about that sandy beach vacation again….  Just because it could snow in July doesn’t mean that your experience will be any less amazing.

Weather in any mountain region can be difficult to understand.  Mountains produce their own weather and also make it difficult to see weather moving in; you just never know what to expect when setting off for a fun day hike or family horseback ride.  Most of the summer months are filled with warm, arid (dry) days and clear, cool evenings, and if weather moves in it is usually gone as fast as it arrived.  Some thunderstorms may only last about 10 minutes, and just because it is storming doesn’t mean the sun won’t still shine.  Then after the storm has passed the dust is gone, the air is fresh, the grass is green, and all is right in the Gros Ventre again.

This diverse weather pattern can turn the average day into a great story making adventure.  Just think about what the real cowboys and mountain men went through year after year, and take the weather in stride.  The horseback riding, and many other activities can still be enjoyed even when the weather is less than favorable.  A snowy June day can also give you a chance to relax by the fire, catch up with family and friends, and a reason to treat yourself to a soothing massage.  So, next time you are planning a vacation to the Jackson Hole area, remember pack a bit of everything, leave for activities prepared for anything, and take the weather in stride, because after the storm comes the most amazing rainbows!  Remember our guides and wranglers at Goosewing Ranch are trained to keep you safe, they have gear available for you to help you stay warm and dry, and will do their best to always make the best out of any situation.

Rainbow over Goosewing Ranch

Rainbow over Goosewing Ranch

Snowy Tipi at Goosewing Ranch

Snowy Tipi at Goosewing Ranch

Fire in the sky at Goosewing Ranch

Fire in the sky at Goosewing Ranch

 

Team Penning at Goosewing Ranch in Jackson Hole Wyoming!

 

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Goosewing Guest Ranch Adds Exciting New Activity

Starting in the 2014 season, Goosewing Ranch, located in Jackson Hole Wyoming, will offer guest a thrilling new cowboy sport, Team Penning.  Grab your cowboy hat and jointhe fun.

Guest will now have the opportunity to experience the exciting sport of Team Penning.  Along with trail rides, archery, shooting, line dancing and numerous other ranch activities, this timed event will challenge guest to improve their horsemanship skills, in a fun and safe environment.  Wranglers will give helpful instruction to improve guest’s abilities.

Team Penning is a horse event to preserve the traditional skill sets of working cattle on horseback.  Humanely separating cattle from the herd using athleticism and horsemanship. 

In the herd, all cattle are numbered.  Three are marked with the same number, because each team of riders will need to sort all from the herd with a particular number. 

A mounted team of three riders cross the starting line.   The judge lowers his flag and a number is called out to the cowboys.  The cattle marked with that particular number are the ones the riders will cut from the herd.  When the correct cattle are separated, the riders maneuver them into a pen at the opposite end of the arena.  Once all are in the pen, time is stopped!   

There is no particular horse breed used in this sport but one with “cowiness” (cow sense) is always beneficial.  The riders on a team are allowed to call out to their teammates signally the position, speed or location of desired cow. 

According to the United States Team Penning Association (USTPA), the sport is, “…committed to creating a fun and family-oriented atmosphere that supports the welfare of all animals and fair competition.”  They go on to state, “They are more than cowboys and cowgirls chasing calves.  We are a family of horse men and women who truly value the lessons learned from riding as teams and taking ownership of our results.”

Goosewing Ranch, Wranglers are knowledgeable and can match the right horse to the skill level of each guest who wants to participate in this new activity.  Team Penning is as entertaining to spectators as it is fun for contestants.  

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For further information contact Goosewing Ranch Toll Free: (USA) 888-733-5251

Uniquely Wild

Mountain sheepsLooking for a unique vacation experience filled with adventure, activity and western hospitality?
Even before you arrive at Goosewing Ranch, you get a taste of the beauty and glimpse of the wildlife the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem has to offer.
Turning off of Highway 89/26 onto the Gros Ventre Junction Road, herds of “buffalo” (American Bison) roam leisurely through the grasslands on either side of the road. Bulls weighing approximately 2,000 pounds make a memorable and somewhat intimidating sight. You have entered their homeland as a welcomed guest. The numbers of these massive animals are on the increase after almost becoming extinct due to over hunting for their hides, horns and other valuable trophies. This is the start of your family’s adventure, a step back into the time of mountain men, Indians and the creation of this remarkable wilderness.
On your drive to the ranch Pronghorn Antelope are spotted in abundance, welcoming you to this land rich in history and unspoiled beauty. But this is only a small taste of what is waiting for you at Goosewing Ranch. Life slows down and you are engulfed in the magnificent surroundings.
While dining in the lodge you get a panoramic view of the splendor of the area. Horses leisurely graze in the lower pasture. Behind that is the Gros Ventre River, home to cutthroat trout and various river fish. Beyond the rapidly flowing water is a meadow, nestled between tree covered mountains. It is common to spot herds of Elk sauntering down out of the foliage to graze in the flat, grassy field. Then stroll back to the cover of the dense, lush vegetation. If you are lucky, you might spot a bald eagle perched on a tree branch, or fence post watching the activity in their territory.
At night, sit under the stars and listen to the wolves as they break the silence of the night. Imagine what the calls mean to their pack and to other woodland animals.
While horseback riding or exploring the area on your ATV, it is not unusual to see a moose and her calf. Or a bull lingering close.
The Bighorn species of sheep generally inhabit dry upland areas, from craggy mountains into semi-deserts. This species’ colors range from white to grey and dark brown. During the summer the males travel apart from the females and their young.
Bears are a little more difficult to find but are residents in Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, the Gros Ventre Wilderness and the Bridge-Teton National Forest, all surrounding Goosewing Ranch in Jackson Hole Wyoming. Black bears are likely to be spotted in forested areas near the edge or in clearings. Grizzly Bears are more prone to be found in large or open meadows. Last summer a mother Grizzly and her two cubs were seen several times in grazing land around the ranch. Remember if you see a bear, never approach it, keep your distance, they can run 25 miles an hour. The general speed of a horse is 25 to 30 miles an hour. That really isn’t a race you want to risk losing.
Don’t forget your camera. The opportunities to capture the presence of wildlife around the ranch are endless. Wyoming supports an abundance of wildlife in national parks, forest and wilderness. The geologic processes that resulted in varied terrain of Yellowstone and the Tetons have also determined where plants grow that feeds the wildlife.
Plant eating animals, survive where their food source can be found. Meat eating animals, follow their prey. Millions of years of geologic activity created the wilds of the Rocky Mountains and in the Jackson Hole valley, and account for the abundance of wildlife and plants found here.
The staff at Goosewing Ranch never tire of opportunities to share this wilderness experience with our guest. Are you ready for an experience of a lifetime?
Jay, Goosewing RanchTrout2012-07-18 04.06.09