When my dad told the family he’d like to go to a dude ranch in Montana this summer, I have to admit I was a little hesitant. I love the energy of a city, visiting coffee shops, people watching and finding unique restaurants on Instagram to try. I’ve always heard great things about Montana and I’m always up for an adventure! My brothers and sisters live all over the country, so going anywhere all together would always a treat. We met an hour south of Bozeman in the mountains at a place called, Nine Quarter Circle that has been around for over 100 years.
I watched videos online and looked at their website to learn more but it exceeded my expectations once we arrived and spent the week there. The owners and employees were so sweet and accommodating. They would even eat all three meals a day with us at the lodge which was at the top of a hill or 40 steps up to the top. By the end of the week, I was still out of breath getting to the top. Their employees consist of mostly college aged students from all over the world that come to work there from May-September which is the time frame of when they’re open.
This was the schedule for most days: Eat breakfast, two hour horseback ride into the hills, eat lunch, either ride again or fly fish in the afternoon, adult happy hour and then we’d all connect for dinner. My favorite day of all was when we learned how to square dance in the upper part of the barn. They have a caller drive in from Billings, Montana to lead the dance. I’m tempted to find a place to go square dancing in Madison! My second favorite day was driving around in Yellowstone National Park. What a trip.
Typical Beth situation…I didn’t pack nearly what I should have…I didn’t bring a pair of boots (which you need to ride horses), so we stopped to buy a pair after the airport. I rode horses in my Lululemon yoga pants and tank top or my mom’s sweater with a jean jacket and my Machines for Freedom cycling cap (gosh I love it so much!). For those of you who know me, I tend to wear comfortable dresses most summer days. I figured it’d be warm where we were going just like in Wisconsin, and apparently it was 90 degrees there the week before, which I’m so glad it was not. Thankfully my mom packed enough clothes for the two of us. And my niece let me wear he sweatshirt and sweatpants. (Thank you, Madi!!)
I love how my family embraced their inner cowboy/cowgirl. What a great vacation and so much fun to photograph everyone in such a gorgeous setting.