Thursday, October 29, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
We are honored to be featured in the most recent issue of the prestigious Condé Nast Traveler! In this issue we were featured for two of ten days in their "Ten Perfect Days in Wyoming and Montana." Keep reading to find out what they had to say about their adventure as they stopped by Mountain Sky Guest Ranch during their travels!
Iconic Itinerary: Big Sky Country. "10 Perfect Days in Wyoming and Montana"
...In the days of Lewis and Clark, bison herds numbered in the millions and human settlements were few and far between. A century later, the wilderness that once lurked just across the Mississippi River had been tamed, and the frontier had shifted all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Those who'd stayed east during the great migration, but wanted to play rough-and-ready pioneer, booked some time at working cattle or sheep ranches that took in paying guests. And even today, no trip to Montana would be complete without a few nights at a dude ranch. You'll be staying at one of the cushiest yet still authentic options, the 8,000-acre Mountain Sky Guest Ranch (800–548–3392; doubles, $600–$670, all– inclusive), which even has a barbed wire collection. Visitors aren't expected to herd any of the black Angus cattle raised here, but you can still ride horses all day long and enjoy a soak in the hot tub afterword...
...It's just over an hour from Bozeman to the ranch, so you can spend the morning at the Museum of the Rockies (406–994–2251; museumoftherockies.org) and still be at Mountain Sky in time for lunch. The museum has a superb collection of North American dinosaur fossils, including the largest T. rex skull in the world.
East of Bozeman, Highway 89 takes you through Paradise Valley. The Yellowstone River carves a verdant stripe down the center of the golden-yellow valley, with cottonwoods lapping up its moisture on either bank. You should arrive at Mountain Sky Guest Ranch by 12:30 p.m., when the lunch buffet is served (expect average banquet hall-style food). Mountain Sky feels like the pinnacle of pioneer living: quiet and remote, but with all the comforts of home and none of the distractions. Don't bother turning on your cell phone or looking for a television (although there is Internet access in the lounge). Horse rides go out every morning and afternoon, with guests divided into beginner, intermediate, and advanced groups; the most experienced riders are even allowed to gallop. Reconvene in the bar with your fellow dudes for hors d'oeuvres at 6 p.m. and have dinner at 6:30. Before you head to your cabin for the night, check the sign-up sheet for tomorrow's activities. If the breakfast ride/hike to the historic Vink Ranch is on the list, don't miss it.
Should you find yourself headed to the Vink Ranch this morning, expect to travel several miles on foot or hoof past the rock-strewn Big Creek and through high golden grass to this neighboring ranch, where you'll be rewarded with cowboy coffee and a hearty breakfast cooked over an open fire. (Feeling sluggish? You can always opt for the van service.) Another great option is the morning yoga class, suitable for all levels, which is staged next to a crackling fire. The rest of the day is yours to fill with horseback rides and other ranch activities. Not equine inclined? There are also morning and afternoon hiking trips, white-water rafting on the Yellowstone River, fly-fishing instruction several times a week, tennis courts, and a pool. Or you can just grab a book and kick up your heels on the porch of your Lincoln Log-style cabin, many of which date back to 1929, when the ranch first started taking guests. Close your eyes and listen to the neigh of a horse, the stomping of hooves in the corral, the deep clang of the lunch bell. That peak you see in the distance is Emigrant, and it rises to almost 11,000 feet; try to get a seat with a view of the mountain at dinner, when the sky blushes violet, perhaps illuminating a dusting of snow on the summit. A scene such as this makes you realize what drove people to leave everything behind and venture west to a bountiful land they'd once thought existed only in the realm of dreams..." Condé Nast Traveler, November 2009.