It was so exciting to finally meet up with family in Bozeman! David flew in that evening after dinner and we all woke up ready for breakfast and our family adventure. We headed downtown for breakfast at Main Street Over Easy before hopping in the car and making our way to the pinnacle of our road trip, Lone Mountain Ranch!
We knew check in wasn’t until 4:00 PM but we couldn’t contain our excitement in getting to and exploring this beautiful ranch just outside Big Sky, Montana. We stopped at the grocery on our way in for some snacks and drinks, then made our way to the ranch.
We checked in and immediately the girls were drawn to the horses. We went straight to the corrals to introduce ourselves to the beauties. After petting a lot of horse noses, we went to grab lunch at Horn and Cantle, the onsite restaurant that serves all your meals while you are staying there. The buffet was excellent and after eating and playing with some goat kids, it was time to check into our cabin, Ridge Top.
I use the term “cabin” loosely, as Ridgetop is the largest lodging option they offer, a 6 bedroom with a beautiful view of Lone Peak that we booked months ago so we could all be together in the same space.
It was so neat to hear the girls all squeal as they ran around and waiting (not so) patiently for their turn to pick a bedroom for our stay. They set up was really great with king size beds in each room, but also a twin in each room, too.
We took our time settling in and soaking in the fresh mountain air and view. We had a kick off cocktail on the back deck before making our way down the mountain, about a .3 mile walk, to Horn and Cantle for dinner.
Horn and Cantle is ridiculous in the best kind of way. It blew my mind that food was included in our stay because it is next level. It deserves a post of it’s own because I took too many pictures to include, as each night we enjoyed appetizers, entrees, and desserts, too. Needless to say, we did not go hungry.
Why yes, that would be (in order of appearance), creamed corn, fresh garden veggies and dip, elk meatballs with ricotta, and WAGYU beef with a chimichurri sauce. The food was all delicious, but that wagyu melted on my tongue and will be a meal I remember forever and always.
We had such a fun time being together and giggling at the delicious meal we were able to enjoy, but I think no one loved the experience more than Kaitlyn. “Fancy cowgirl” might just be her favorite fashion genre from now on.
We all went to bed that night with (overly) full bellies and happy hearts.
The next morning we sat on the porch waiting for coffee delivery (each day the staff rides by in a gator to deliver coffee, cream, and hot water for tea, usually around 7:15 AM). After sipping and getting dressed, we walked down to breakfast, dropped Lacey off of the Kids Camp, and headed to our introduction to horseback riding lesson.
Kids must be at least 6 for horseback riding, and I see why, those animals, while beautiful, are so big and strong! Hailey was very nervous about riding the horse, and though I put on a brave face, so was I.
Kaitlyn immediately fell in love with her horse, Elko, while Hailey cautiously learned to guide her horse, Yellow. We went over the basics, then went on a beautiful hour long introductory ride around the property, through the woods, and up on the ridge.
David and Kaitlyn seemed like naturals, I focused hard on trying to keep my horse, Collin, from dipping his head and snacking on grasses every few minutes, and Hailey… tolerated it like a champ. I was super proud of her because she clearly preferred feeding and petting the horses to riding them.
After returning, we got lunch at the restaurant, changed out of our horseback clothes, dropped the kids off at Kid Camp, and gathered at the outpost for our 3D archery lesson.
None of us really knew what to expect from this, but Lone Mountain sends out a list of activities weeks before arrival to choose from (typically you do a morning activity and an afternoon activity), and we all agreed we were curious about archery.
I’m so glad we were because it ended up being such a blast, one of our favorite things we did! After getting fitted for our bows and getting outfitted, our guide led us through an outdoor archery course consisting of 8 different (fake, of course) animal targets.
Katniss Everdeen has nothing on me. (Well actually she has nothing on Kris and David, who proved to be the best shots consistently). Truly though, such a blast!
We spent a couple hours shooting arrows, then picked up the happy kids from camp, and walked back to the house to get ready for another delicious dinner. It’s so nice that once you arrive at the ranch, you don’t have to get back in a car. Everything is walkable.
It was so nice that after eating, the girls would run to the front of the restaurant to chase birds and chase each other, leaving the adults alone to relax and chat.
The tucked away feel of the ranch and minimal number of motorized vehicles made it a great place for kids, that we could let run wild without any worry for their safety. Most of the time, they’d end up running down to the goat pen and playing with them anyway!
Then we all walked back up the hill, got showered up, and tucked in for another night of sleep with the windows all open to let in the fresh and cool mountain air!
To be continued!