Day 1: Arrival. In 1901, the ranch was homestead by Aaron Kampfs great-grandfather, Malcolm S. Mackay. Aaron grew up riding on the place and worked as a cowboy in his teens and during college. Your trip leader will pick you up at your hotel or the Billings airport. The hour and 1/2 drive will bring us along the Yellowstone River, through the Stillwater valley, and finally to the Lazy E-L Ranch, at the foot of the Beartooth Mountains. For lunch we'll stop in Roscoe at the Grizzly Bar and Restaurant for some Montana beef.
Upon arrival you'll have some time to get settled in the historic ranch lodge, a log structure built in 1919. The lodge still maintains its authentic western flavor with Navaho rugs, log furniture, and original western art. From the lodge porch, you'll have unobstructed views of the Beartooth Mountains which rise to over 12,000 feet. In the late afternoon, we'll head to the barn for an introduction to horseback riding on the Lazy E-L Ranch. The wrangler teaches you how to ride, beginning with grooming and saddling your horse. After some time in the corral, you'll head out into the open pastures for some trail riding. With only twelve guests on the ranch at a time, the wrangler is able to give you enough attention to teach to you to ride like a real cowboy.
Days 2 - 6: A Day in a Life at the Lazy E-L Ranch. The Lazy E-L doesn't arrange its schedule around the guests; rather you join the crew's schedule. In the mornings, you have breakfast with the cowboys and cowgirls in the cookhouse and hear about the days' activities. The primary activity on the ranch is horseback riding. With 12,000 acres you will ride through a variety of terrain. The wrangler is available to take you out throughout the week. If there is a cattle drive that week, you can join the cowboys and cowgirls as they move the cattle from one pasture to the next. You could be a part of the spectacle of rounding up 2,000 head of cattle!
On the June and July trips, our company offers a half-day of white water rafting. A tributary of the Yellowstone River, the Stillwater River meanders through a one-sided canyon, which was once home of the Crow Indians and buffalo herds. The river offers class II & III rapids, a great introduction to white water. Throughout the week, keep your eyes open for wildlife. The ranch is home to deer, elk, coyotes, bears, eagles, and sometimes wolves from neighboring Yellowstone National Park. With 12,000 protected acres and six miles of private river access, wildlife on the ranch is plentiful.
The evening meal varies. While one dinner is a more upscale affair, most meals are casual dinners in the cookhouse with the family and staff. Another evening we head to town for shopping and a restaurant meal on your own. In the evenings, kick back on the lodge porch and gaze at the bright stars. Accommodations: Summer Cabin.
Day 7: Departure. Maybe you didn't meet Heath Ledger (or your favorite cowgirl), but you did get to ride like him! Today, you return home as the city slicker turned cowboy. Best of luck on the trail!
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USA Montana Sweet Harmony Gay Tours Farm Stay & Ranching