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Wild Wild West

Last September I had the pleasure, a rare pleasure, to stay at Bar TT Ranch outside Dillon, Montana. Before arriving at the ranch, we made stops in Jackson and Yellowstone!

Ten of us stayed on the ranch, women from all walks of life in Raleigh. However, since it was my birthday, 4 of us flew out a few days early to explore Jackson and Yellowstone! I could not have asked for a better way to turn 35. Sally, Alice and Sharon are all living & working in Raleigh to create, build and give back to our community. All three of them have inspired me to not only be better but to do better!

We flew into Jackson with the Grand Tetons greeting us with their jagged points. We popped in Liberty Burger for beers and burgers before walking the town to shop. I purchased an ornament and the best sunscreen, Trilipiderm. It's fresh smelling, not sticking and very light! To get a better view of the range, we went to Teton Village for a gondola ride. Gondola rides to the top were officially closed for a special event happening later that evening. Not wanting to take no for an answer, we walk to the gondola station and talked the guy there into letting us in on a ride to the top!

After Teton Village we landed at the cutest wine bar, Bin 22 and scored a table outside on the patio where we chatted it up with locals and other travelers! Post wine and snacks we settled into our room at Elk Country Inn.

Nestled in the edge of the Tetons is Jenny Lake. Since we were heading up to Yellowstone post hike, this was the perfect 7.5 miles hike for us. If you have the time, and we did, be sure to include the Hidden Falls, Inspiration Point and Moose Pond! Moose pond lived up to its name! As we were leaving the park we saw a Bald Eagle perched on a tree branch. We watched it for about 10 min waiting for it to take flight, but seemed rather comfy. The Ranger told us it was pretty cool we were getting to him so close and even said, they are rarely in this area!

Yellowstone has got to be one of our country's most magical places. It's mind blowing to me, all that is in this one area of land. From Geysirs, to Bald Eagles nesting, lush green valleys with thousands of bison to rainbow hot springs! We stayed at Under Canvas, Yellowstone. We camped, ok Glamped, for 2 nights and it was perfect. The canvas tents are complete with fireplaces, dressers, lanterns, chairs, nightstands and the comfiest mattresses with down blankets. We explored Yellowstone for two days, one of which was my 35th birthday. I woke up to Sally singing me the birthday song, cupcakes, blue skies and 3 ladies ready to adventure! I ended the night with food truck tacos which we ate by live music, fireside s'mores and looking up at the starry sky. The Milky Way was showing off and once we saw a shooting star, we called it a night.. it can't get much better than that!

We couldn't go to Montana without going to a Rodeo and luckily for us,it was "Montana's Biggest Weekend". We leave Yellowstone and start driving west. We pass Madison County and several bridges before landing in Dillon, Montana.

We were first timers to the rodeo... and gosh, it was intense!! We had great seats which added to the excitement. We even managed to sneak back to the cowboy corral and get some pics!

Later that evening, we landing at the ranch. This ranch is magical. It's wide open for as far as you can see. There are several houses on the property for guest to stay and living quarters for employees. Bar TT Ranch is a working cattle ranch, we even had to herd cattle out of our front yard! The 4 of us stayed in Wingos Cabin with lots of open space. The other 6 stayed up by the main house, about 2 miles away.  We had the pleasure of staying the same week at Temple Sloan, the ranch owner. Every couple years his high school buddies spend a week with him. They played as hard as we did, riding horses, 4 wheelers, hiking, etc. We all enjoyed rocking on porches, drinking, and eating amazing meals!

This is such a special place and I feel extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to relax for an entire week, just taking in the beauty.

We spent the week horseback riding (we had the same horse with each ride), fly fishing, cooking, sitting by the fire, hiking, finding hot springs in Idaho, learning about the land and just enjoying just being there. We had a cookout at Temple's late wife's favorite spot, Carol's Cabin, had a speaker come tell us about how Lewis & Clark passed through the ranch, saw the most beautiful sunsets and sunrises.



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