Wednesday, June 27, 2012

more from the bitterroot

Another look at life in Wyoming.

Every evening, the horses in the stables are let out to graze overnight. Our wranglers make sure they go in the right direction, depending on the field they're being let out into, and the horses will stay there and eat grass until they're stuffed overnight. In the mornings, they're all (or, rather, some of them) herded back into the stables for riding during the day.


campfire dinner with the guests

this is penny, a miniature poodle, being bloodthirsty and devouring an elk leg she found

the staff of bitterroot, summer 2012

So, my time at the Bitterroot is coming to an end soon (only a few more days, in fact), although I hope to post more pictures and videos before I leave. I have an action-packed summer ahead of me; instead of being in Wyoming until October, I'll be leaving early to go to Denver, then to Comic-con in San Diego, and then to Seattle (a first!), San Francisco, and Dallas, before heading back to Antarctica in August!!!

Yes, that's right. I had to break out of my winter contract because of health and family reasons, but I'm going back for another season this summer! I've done a summer on the Ice before (South Pole, 2010-11), but never a McMurdo summer, so this will be an interesting experience. And instead of working Supply, I'll be a Lead Dining Attendant, which will be a whole new experience.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

bitterroot ranch, dubois, wy

I'm currently in Dubois, Wyoming. No, that's not true. I'm half an hour north of Dubois, down a 16-mile long dirt road, surrounded by mountains, fields, forests, and rivers. This is the Bitterroot Ranch, a working dude ranch on the edge of some of the most amazing nature you can imagine. A fast-flowing river puts me to bed each night, and towering, snow-capped mountains greet me when I walk out of my cabin.

This is where I'm spending my summer, working as a housekeeper (-slash-cook-slash-waitress-slash-occasional tourist). It's not glamorous work, but they payoff makes it worth it: hiking mountains and dirt trails, swimming and fishing in the nearby ponds, and, of course, horseback riding.

This is the Bitterroot:

looking down at (left to right) the goat barn, duck pond, stables, parking lot, main lodge, and some guest cabins

This land is stunning. It's home to a variety of wildlife (deer, elk, rabbits, bears, and coyotes*, to name a few), plus horses and sheep from the ranch. There are old buildings that are filled with history dotting the landscape, from a hide-out cabin used by Butch Cassidy and the former home of the Sheep Queen of Wyoming.

(I haven't been to the Butch Cassidy cabin yet, but hopefully someday soon!)

the cabin of the sheep queen of wyoming

an old airplane hanger

But it really is beautiful here. The weather is unpredictable-- snow one day and overwhelming heat the next-- but that doesn't keep us inside!

highland cattle grazing

a storm moves in across the plain

sunset over the mountains

It's been a busy few weeks, so I'll get more photos up later, including the Transit of Venus and more pictures from around the ranch and the local towns that I've visited!