I wrote on July 15 about the Oregon emigrants’ experience sight-seeing at Ice Slough in Wyoming. My family has vacationed in the Wind River Range not far from Ice Slough, at Absaroka Ranch. Absaroka Ranch is located outside Dubois, Wyoming, at the headwaters of the Wind River, nestled beneath the Absaroka Mountains.
Various Hupp family groups have been to Absaroka Ranch on several occasions between 1988 and about 1996. My first visit was in 1990, when my husband and I and both children went with both sets of our parents and my husband’s sister and her family. That year, we filled up three of the five guest cabins at the ranch.
As the ranch website says, “Horseback riding is the mainstay of your visit here.” Meaning, every morning and afternoon you will ride. There were mountain rides and forest rides and waterfall rides, but twice a day there were rides. Except on Wednesdays, when the horses got to rest (but the humans hiked or rafted or engaged in other strenuous endeavors).
I’d never been horseback riding before 1990, except for one or two short trail rides on level ground. I hope the Oregon pioneers appreciated their horses more than I appreciated mine. I was stiff and sore throughout my week at Absaroka Ranch, though I must say the scenery was spectacular.
The food was as spectacular as the scenery – from full breakfasts to huge lunches to gourmet dinners followed by S’Mores, ghost stories, and other campfire treats. At least we had something to look forward to after the rides.
The ranch hands did an excellent job of adapting to our wide range of horseback riding capabilities. The grandparents went on one ride (with me and my five-year-old daughter joining them). The adults went on another ride (no, I was not embarrassed to go with the grandparents; I was sore enough after their easier rides). And the older kids went on a third ride (no, my daughter was not embarrassed to go with her four grandparents and me – think of all the attention she got! But when we returned to the ranch in later years, that was another story.)
My daughter – the youngest in our party – was assigned to the biggest horse. A large gelding named Two Cents, who was slow and stubborn. The ranch hand gave my daughter a stick and told her to swat Two Cents to make him go. She was an enthusiastic swatter, and Two Cents learned to respect her.
Parents got a vacation from children, and children got a vacation from parents. We were all happy.
So I bought myself the one major piece of jewelry I’ve ever bought myself – a lovely turquoise necklace made by a Navaho jeweler in the 1950s. Whenever I wear the necklace I remember Absaroka Ranch, our horseback rides, and how hard I worked to earn this reward.
Do you have any mementoes you treasure from past vacations?