What is “togethering?” Well, it is one of the most precious words and concepts these days for families who spend increasing amounts of time apart. Whether family members live across the country or world from each other or parents spend the week traveling for work and only see loved ones on weekends, many families are faced with having very little time to spend together. In fact, it’s fair to say that time is becoming the most precious resource available to families. Finding moments to spend together are dear and locations that foster a family environment are becoming even scarcer. It would seem that family vacations are the only blocks of time during the year where loved ones and relatives can indulge in “togethering.”
Where to go to spend quality time together, you ask? Not every hectic resort, hotel or cruise ship offers the right atmosphere for this. It’s necessary to have activities for everyone, parents and children alike, to take part in together – not separate facilities or programs where each age group breaks off to have individual experiences.
Family vacations are increasingly important in this day and age when more families living in scattered locations across North America and the world. With time becoming one of the most important limited resources in today’s hectic world, family vacations are becoming increasingly precious times where everybody comes together to bond, relax, experience and learn new things (most importantly learning about each other.)
The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch is an upscale guest ranch limited to 25 guests and located on an authentic 300,000 acre working cattle ranch in the remote Shell, Wyo. The ranch is established in one of the most beautiful and rare settings you can imagine. This not only makes for great family pictures, but also instills a sense of peace and relaxation. The effect of the environment, the scenery, remoteness, casual family atmosphere, altitude, participation in riding, cattle work and other activities makes for a great bonding experience; everyone is less tempted to bury their attention in electronic games, computers, cell phones, etc. You have the opportunity to appreciate each other and share experiences “in the moment.” These special experiences will remind parents and grandparents of memorable moments shared with family in the past, which they pass on to their own family and grandchildren in a multi-generational vacation tradition.
Come to The Hideout for an unforgettable family vacation!
Families can experience working cattle and ride with real cowboys and seasoned wranglers who are eager to share and teach “the cowboy lifestyle” in a safe environment – this job is still being done the way it was done many years ago. They will take you on breathtaking trail rides in diversity of scenic settings. You can learn as a family how to ride, communicate with and think like horses and cattle and how to handle these animals with respect. If you get worn out by riding, you can go hiking, biking, explore wildlife, learn how to fly-fish, visit some of the dinosaur dig sites and even assist a day in digging up some real fossils. Dad and the boys can learn how to trap shoot – only to find that mom and the girls will beat them at it!
After partnering up with Top 50 Ranches for a 4-night giveaway here at The Hideout, a winner has been chosen! The lucky gal that will be joining us for her dream vacation this season is Farrah R., a mother of 3 sons who rode as a child and is looking to get back in touch with her passion for horses. We’re very excited about the outcome of the contest and can’t wait to meet Farrah this season!
After seeing the Top 50 Ranches contest on Twitter, Farrah knew it was the perfect opportunity to get back in the saddle after many years of not riding. As a child, she grew up with grandparents who were serious horsemen; they gave Farrah her first horse, an Arabian named Zemar, when she was seven years old. With the guidance and knowledge of her grandparents, Farrah went on to own and care for two other horses at her parents’ Michigan home.
As she entered her teens, Farrah admits that her interest in horses faded away and she spent quite a few years out of the saddle until her 2006 honeymoon. Upon recently losing both of her grandparents, the people who inspired Farrah’s love for horses at a young age, she decided to enter the Top 50/Hideout contest. She explains, “I feel like this is my time to say goodbye to [my grandparents] as well as rediscover my love of riding.”
We are thrilled to be hosting Farrah and can’t wait to help her get reacquainted with her lost love of riding and horses!
As a result of guest feedback over the last five years, we started to lay out a concept and ideas for a more professional equestrian program to manage The Hideout’s horse and riding program. We started to upgrade our horses, tack and hiring more wranglers with a solid formal and practical equestrian background and an open mind when it comes to practicing good horsemanship.
A missing link in our program and concept was a head wrangler and trainer who not only would support this concept, but at the same was a truly talented and natural horseperson. We brought in Ramon Castro who immediately started to reshape our program and step up the quality, professionalism and horse culture at The Hideout. Ramon participated in The Extreme Mustang Makeover and started a cooperation with The Mustang Heritage Foundation. Last year Marijn, Ramon and Peter started a dedicated Authentic Horses & Training, LLC, a company specializing in the above.
Our little town of Shell, Wyo., may be small in stature with a population of only 50 people, but our ideal location at the foot of the Big Horn Mountains provides endless opportunities to explore and adventure. Within town limits are several must-see locations including dinosaur footprints, raging rapids in Shell Canyon and ancient sedimentary formations. If you happen to drive in to The Hideout and find yourself wanting to take a half-day off from riding, there are some fantastic places to visit within a few minutes of our ranch!
Just west on U.S. Highway 14 is the turn off for the Red Gulch/Alkalai National Back Country Byway, home to the impressive Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite. These rare dinosaur footprints, publicly accessible at all times, were discovered in 1997. Viewers can get up-close and personal with ancient footprints and imagine what it was like to walk along the Middle Jurassic shoreline alongside other dinosaurs. These particular footprints are more than just cool – they have the potential to alter current scientific views on the Sundance formation and Middle Jurassic period, as many scientists originally believed the Shell area was entirely underwater at that time.
When Hideout Chef, Sheena Ernst, isn’t in the lodge prepping her next delicious creation, you can often find her working in her garden down by the Trapper Creek property. Hideout salads and meals frequently feature the fruits of her labor; fresh herbs, salad leaves, radishes and eggs from the Hideout-owned hens have all graced salad plates this season. Sheena looks forward to adding her very own squash and tomatoes to the menu later on in the year.
Since coming to The Hideout in April, Sheena has made a commitment to employ as many local Wyoming ingredients as possible when planning her lunch and dinner menus. She explains, “I want to know where my food is coming from. With local meat, I know the farmer that raised the product, and am aware of what type of feed and supplements, if any, that have been given to the livestock.”
With freshly butchered, tender Wyoming beef and lamb often featured as the main course here at The Hideout, it’s hard to imagine a better way to eat meat. Guests have responded to local meat with enthusiasm, commenting on how nice it is to be aware of food’s origins and the enrichment it brings to their Western experience.
This is the first in a series about the “AH” (Authentic Horses) brand and concept. We start by introducing you to the concept behind “Authentic Horses” and the “AH” brand. Thanks to the Peter DeCabooter and Jessica McLavey for putting this together.
If you’re around the barn or out on the trail with our Hideout wranglers, you may notice an increasing amount of our horses sporting the new AH (Authentic Horses) brand. This brand represents a concept formed here at The Hideout with has a simple goal in mind: to create a positive equestrian experience for both horse and rider by fostering an honest, respectful training environment. The AH horses are chosen to enter the training program and wear the brand based on their willingness to learn and develop, rather than basing our selection on bloodlines and other traditional requirements.
Blogger Peter gives some more information about Kicker, The Hideout’s Extreme Supreme Mustang Makeover Gelding. Ramon and Kicker compete in Ft Worth, Texas in September.
Kicker got his name because he was very wild when picking him up in Canon City Colorado. You can see the footprints of his shoes in the trailer. He also tried to bite Ramon and Peter when they stuck their fingers in the trailer.
On arriving at The Hideout he kicked and bent the tubes of the round pen. As Ramon put the water tank in the pen in no second this was kicked and stepped to pieces. Also Ramon’s jacket got ripped apart.
Kicker is pretty tall for a mustang and 5 years old. He was only gelded in January 2011 after the BLM rounded him up early this year in the Twin Peaks Herd Area (CA-242).
This blog is written from the perspective of Jessy McLavey – a new Hideout seasonal employee who helps out where needed.
My Life at The Hideout: A Newcomer’s Perspective
Entering my third week of life as a newcomer at The Hideout, I can confidently summarize my experience in two words: welcoming and rewarding. From the moment I first drove my travel-weary self up to the main lodge last month and met AJ’s warm handshake and Peter’s energetic smile, I knew I had found a place to call my temporary home.
The last few weeks have been a blur of work and learning, and I can say that no two days of working at The Hideout have been quite the same. My tasks have included helping our talented chef, Sheena, plate food and then serving our guests with pride, learning the ins and outs of housekeeping with Guille and her team, doing cattle work alongside wranglers and guests, and helping AJ with the countless tasks of the office and gift store.
It has been a busy few weeks of memorization and execution, and I am beyond thrilled to be working alongside such a talented, encouraging and professional team. The staff here at The Hideout, regardless of their specialization, is truly committed to hospitality; both the guests and the employees seem to feel right at home here at the base of the Big Horns.
Last year we had pretty good water and the year before also compared to the previous drought years in Wyoming. However this year there will be abundance of water according to Wyoming standards and Big Horn County WSE’s (Water & Snow Equivalents).
Last year officials measured 66 WSE’s which is considered good. This year they measured so far 136 WSE’s, which is abnormal.
What’s in for us? - A lot of water!
However depending if the mountains release all this moisture gradually or very fast will determine the amount of floods and damage the water will do. If the mountains gradually release their water, we have pretty much irrigation water during most of the summer as it flows steadily, seeping slowly down to the valley, creeks and streams feeding aquifers, ponds, wells and springs. This happens when the temperatures gradually go up but remain cold and freezing in the high country. During the day some of the water is being released but during night the frost holds the rest of the water in the mountains.