Use the sliders for pics of an amazing year!
Summits and hot coco
Summits to cap off the year
A cowboy nap, always the right move
Laughs never end at campfire
And rodeos are the best way to wrap up the week
###For us on the Ranch, this summer has been all about the joy of returning home for campers and staff alike. Our Outrider summer was one to remember, but we are overjoyed to have a full camp and all of the opportunities that come along with the traditional experience such as Ceremonies, Breakfast Rides, and Rodeos. So much of TVRC is about the people, and last summer so many of our people were unable to come home to the valley. This summer we are making up for lost time and celebrating every second spent in this special place. Below is a recap of our summer so far, with Boys’ Session and Outriders 1.0:
We have all spent the past few days getting caught up with friends both new and old. Many of our campers have already spent time out on the trail both around the Ranch and in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem/ Teton Valley. The Rough Rider Cabins of Middle, Nez Perce, Gros Ventre, Static, and Owen all spent their second night on the Ranch in tents as part of the traditional “Mountain Man” trip. This early summer campout is meant to introduce some of our younger campers to Backcountry skills and camping as they prepare for venturing into the National Parks and Forests we call home for the summer.
Meanwhile, our youngest campers, the Yearlings in cabins Paintbrush and Moran spent all day yesterday in Yellowstone exploring iconic sights like Old Faithful and the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring. During their day trip, the Yearlings learned about local wildlife and topography. Around camp, the Yearling cabins have also been spending time learning about the activities we offer like Lapidary, Archery, Nature Discovery, Fly Fishing, Craft Shop, Riflery, and Horsemanship.
The Top Hands of Cabins South and Avalanche are both on the trail now as part of our Jack Davis and Crystal Creek pack trips. The JD or Jack Davis pack trip runs in the Bridger Teton National Forest around the North Fork of the Buffalo River. The CC or Crystal Creek pack trip runs in the Gros Ventre Wilderness along Crystal Creek. These pack trips are four-day trips when campers ride out to their campsites crossing rivers and valleys on horseback.
Our oldest campers, the Trail Blazers (TBs) of Cabin Teewinot, departed for Moose, a 6 day backpack and one of our most sacred trips early yesterday morning. The TBs plan to travel through Caribou Targhee National Forest with a day hike into Moose Basin in Grand Teton National Park. Moose is also one of our most challenging trips, but this traditional trek is an important part of every TB camper’s journey. The Wranglers of Cabin Leigh and Cabin Rendezvous have been spending their first few days on the Ranch in First Degree at the Barn, which is the introduction to the Barn that every camper goes through in the early days of camp. Throughout the following weeks, the Wrangler Campers will join barn staff on the early morning rides into our pasture to wrangle our herd of horses for the day’s activities. We also had three Counselors in Training or CITs join us on the Ranch this summer. Each CIT is paired with a cabin for the summer and is learning the ins and outs of leading other campers through their summer journeys. Each of our CITs are also helping to support camp programming by working in a program area that is of special interest to them.
Our first Pack Trip returned to the Ranch yesterday afternoon from the Bridger Teton National Forest. JD 1 which consisted of Cabin South and a few campers from Avalanche were dusty when they arrived back to camp, but had plenty of stories tell of their day hikes and rides around Soda Fork of the Buffalo River. Yesterday, Cabin Owen, one of our Rough Rider cabins, also left on their Backpack Trip, 5 Pockets. 5 Pockets runs in Shosone National Forest. The first Fly Fishing trip of the summer departed after breakfast and spent all day fishing at Trout Creek Lake which is also located in Shoshone National Forest. Despite being so early in the season, the group were able to catch 53 fish with one of the Wrangler campers catching 19 of the group total.
Early this morning the Ranch was already busy because campers from Cabin Nez Perce and Cabin Static departed for JD 2, the second Jack Davis Pack Trip which will ride back into Bridger Teton National Forest today and camp near Soda Fork. Also, a group of lucky campers and staff awoke before the rest of the Camp this morning and dressed in Bestern (Best Western, riding and rodeo attire) to head down to the Barn and tack their horses for the summer’s first Breakfast Ride. Breakfast Rides are a special tradition here at TVRC. Campers report to the barn by 7am and ride out to Breakfast Ride Ridge where our cowboy kitchen is setup preparing bacon, flapjacks, and fried eggs. The lucky participants will return to camp just in time for lunch, but still full from the feast on the ridge.
Campfires this week have been full of skits, games, and songs. So far, Rendezvous, Leigh, Static, and Moran have led campfires. Highlights from the first few campfires include an interview with Trip Leader Davis, minute to win it games between campers and staff, and a new group of campers learning the words to Teton Serenade and Peace of the River (S&P), our traditional camp songs. The staff also led the traditional Jackson Hole Campfire this week which goes over the history of our valley from when the Tetons emerged to present and includes lessons on the Shoshone and Arapaho among numerous other tribes who called this place home, Lewis and Clarks expeditions in the area, the early fur trappers and traders who moved into the area, the Army Corps of Engineers who began the feat of mapping our valley, the settlers who first built homes in the area, Tie Hacks who were professional loggers, and the Dude Ranchers who turned the area into a tourist economy, and many other people who have shaped this valley into what it is today.
Today most of camp is preparing for the first Rodeo of Boys’ Season and the arrival of our Outrider Expeditions campers tomorrow. We will also be hosting Jenn Pharr Davis at Campfire tonight. Jenn is a renowned hiker who once held the record for the fastest time for any person on the Appalachian Trail.
On Sunday, after a 9:00 am breakfast, we headed up Chapel Hill where the Wrangler Cabins of Leigh and Rendezvous shared reflections on teamwork with their fellow campers and staff. Then, we held Rodeo 1.0 which featured the return of all of our traditional events: Pole Bending, Barrel Racing, Musical Mares, Egg and Spoon, Potato Race, Slow Race, Balloon Toss, the fan-favorite Dance Contest, Team Roping, and Quick Draw.
In Team Roping, the winners of the senior ring (which includes Top Hands, Wranglers, and Trailblazers), Wranglers Bradford, Mac, Ellis, and Beck, beat the winners of the junior ring (which includes Yearlings and Rough Riders), Yearlings Hudson, Ethan, Cooper, and James. The senior team then took on the Staff Team which was comprised of Yearling Counselors this week and won it all. At the end of the day, the winners were: Wrangler Andrew won Pole Bending on Jalapeno, Wrangler Mac won Pole Bending, Yearling Sebastian won Egg and Spoon on Fonzi, Rough Rider Frank won Barrel Racing on Shadow, Wrangler William won the Potato Race on Blaze, Rough Rider Alex won Musical Mares on Jalapeno, Wrangler Owen won the Slow Race on Blaze, Wrangler Charlie won the Senior Quick Draw, Rough Rider Nico won the Junior Quick Draw, Rough Riders Will and Dave won the dance contest, and the Yearling team of Hutch and Gardner tied the Wrangler team of Beck and Charlie in the Balloon Toss . During the Rodeo, our first two Backpack Trips, Moose and 5-Pockets, returned to the Ranch. Moose was the first Trailblazer trip of the summer and 5-Pockets was a Rough Rider trip in Shoshone National Forest. We celebrated the end of the day with a BBQ dinner on the Green.
Sunday was also Arrival Day for our first group of Outriders. This summer, the Outrider program has returned as a two-week, trail-intensive design. The Outrider groups spent their time in camp yesterday working on group dynamics and preparing for their first set of five-day trips.
Yesterday was also Top Hand Service Day, so Cabin South, Cabin Avalanche, and their counselors spent time removing invasive plant species from trails in Bridger Teton National Forest. There was also another Fly Fishing All Day trip yesterday which went to Lost Lake also in Bridger Teton National Forest.
The last day and a half have been a little chilly and rainy, but we are thankful for the rain after how dry and unseasonably warm it has been. Since we last updated you, five trips have departed for the Backcountry. On the 23rd, the Top Hands from Cabin Avalanche departed for Granite to Death which runs between Granite and Death Canyon in Grand Teton National Park. The Yearlings of Cabin Paintbrush also departed for Bearpaw Bay which is another trip that runs through Grand Teton National Park around the Jenny Lake area. Also, the Trailblazers from Cabin Teewinot departed for their second Backpack Trip on Wednesday morning into the Wind River Range. They will hike a total of 11 miles in and out to Ross Lake where they have planned to spend most of their time fishing and relaxing. Part of the Trailblazer program includes increased responsibility for trip planning, packing, and leading, so while their counselors will still be leading them on the trail, our Trailblazer boys have been selecting routes, packing trip foods, and helping navigate more on trail. The Wrangler cabins of Leigh and Rendezvous are also both on the trail for their first trips of the summer—the JD and CC Pack Trips.
In camp program areas have been bustling as well. Campers have been making necklaces, belt buckles and bolo ties in Lapidary, leveling up with accuracy in Riflery and Archery, learning how to play guitar or sing sea chanteys in Music (music is a new and much loved addition to programming this year), making cardboard suits of armor in Craft Shop, hiking in Disco (Nature Discovery), practicing their horsemanship at the Barn, and Fly Fishing at the front of the property in the Wind River and on various trips off of the property. A group of Top Hand and Rough Rider campers are currently on a Fly Fishing overnight trip at Double Cabins north of Dubois in the Shoshone National Forest. Yesterday was also our second Breakfast Ride of the summer. Some lucky campers woke up early, dressed in Bestern, and reported to the Barn for an early morning ride to the feast that awaited them in the Cowboy Kitchen on Breakfast Ride Ridge.
6/29/2021— Outrider Update
All of our Outrider campers are back on trail. The Outrider Boys are back at Cub Creek where they spent their first trip in an effort to complete the route that they were not able to finish on their first excursion off of the Ranch. The Outrider Girls are hiking in the area where we run Packbridges which is in Bridger Teton National Forest. For their first round of trips, both groups spent time building group dynamics and learning expedition behaviors. Since our Outrider campers spend so much time in the Backcountry, we focus on teaching them hard skills like Leave No Trace, navigation, and risk management. One of the first lessons every camper learns is the seven principles of Leave No Trace:
We are at the height of trips being out for the season with eight trips out in the Backcountry. Since the last blog, the Trailblazers have returned from their 4-day backpack to Ross Lake in the Wind River Range, the Top Hands of Cabin Avalanche have returned from their 4-day backpack between Granite Canyon and Death Canyon, the Rough Riders of Cabin Nez Perce returned from their 3-day backpack into the Wind River Range around Bomber Basin, and the Wranglers have returned from their Pack Trips (CC 3 and JD 3). Currently, the Trail Blazers are in Bridger Teton National Forest around Turpin Meadows on their Pack Trip, CW 1. CW is named for a former staff member who is now an outfitter and is leading our Trailblazer boys in the Backcountry. Yearlings from Cabin Moran are on CC 4 in the Gros Ventre Wilderness and their counterparts from Cabin Paintbrush are on JD 4 in Bridger Teton National Forest near Turpin Meadows and the CW trip. Also, the Rough Riders of Cabin Gros Ventre are wrapping up their 3-day backpack around Holly Lake in Grand Teton National Park. A few Top Hand and Rough Rider campers are also currently on a Fly Fishing Overnight trip at Torrey Lake near Whiskey Basin and the Wind River Range.
In camp, Wrangler campers have been hard at work in the Barn and other Adventure Groups are also working all around camp to complete their Adventure Sheets before Ceremonies Week. All of our campers are encouraged to dedicate time in all of our activity areas (Craft Shop, Fly Fishing, Riflery, Archery, Lapidary, Disco, and the Barn) in order to promote mastery and tenacity. We also celebrated Rodeo 2.0 this weekend. In Team Roping, the junior team of Yearlings Hutch, Hudson, Cooper, and Ethan won their ring, the senior team of Wranglers Oak, Abe, Charlie, and Clark won their ring, and the Trailblazer team of Jamie, Michael, George, and Riley won the TB ring. Then, the senior team of Wranglers bested the Yearling team before falling to the Trailblazers. In a grand finish, the Trailblazer lost to this week’s staff roping team which included Rough Rider Counselors Freddie, Max, and Ned as well as CIT William. We are quickly approaching the end of Boys’ Season, but we are currently wrapping up activity days while looking forward to some of our special celebrations like Halloween, 4th of July, and Olympics. As Teton Serenade says until you all return, we hope you will dream of the Teton Valley where all of our Yearlings, Rough Riders, Top Hands, Wranglers, and Trailblazers roam.