Don’t Fence Us In …
By Carolina Buia and her twins, Siena and Alessandra Barefoot
Ever Wonder How the West Was Won? Take a peek at Elk Creek Ranch
Ever wonder how the West was won? Not just with hard work, grit and determination, but with space to unspool big dreams along wide expanses, where mountain tops scratch the edges of star- speckled skies. This past summer, I was clued into a unique summer experience: Elk Creek Ranch. Not your traditional sleep away camp, but a true working ranch where teenagers from all over the world live like pioneers from a bygone era. The young ranchers are loaned their own horse for the entire summer, given a set of chores and many miles of mountain challenges.
Unlike traditional camps where your mare is trotted out to you fully tacked, my twin 15-year old daughters were expected to care for their own horse, occasionally wrangle the entire herd in the wee morning hours, irrigate acres of fields and make sure all ranchers–and animals– were fed. They built new fences along a corral perimeter and a laid roof on a cabin. They worked hard, but played harder. Going on daily trail rides and hikes, they scaled steep mountains and looked down breathtaking precipices. They barrel raced, square danced, had a mini rodeo and strummed songs by a campfire. They looped a lasso and leapt into icy cold creek waters. Their last week? A four day pack-trip that was both physically challenging and visually stunning, while meeting up with mountain lions, bears and coyotes. Awed and humbled by their surroundings (along a healthy dose of fear and bear spray), it made for a memorable summer.
Elk Creek Ranch
P.O. Box 1476
113 Sunlight Road
Cody, WY 82414