YNP : Days Off

I guess I have come to appreciate my days off while I'm here in Yellowstone. Namely because it is the one time I actually get to see parts of Yellowstone that do not involve Tower Roosevelt area.

Hey, I still love my job, but even I need to get a break from the horses sometime.

But not all of the horses. There's still Rawhide. I love hanging out with him. Mostly because he's the closest thing I have to my own horse right now, and until the summer is over, he's almost mine.

We have the option as wranglers to take our horses out on rides during our days off, as long as we didn't work them to hard while we worked, as our horses also need their days of rest as well. Behind Roosevelt Corrals, via the two hour trail ride we have this great trail that goes off toward Tower Falls. So far its the only off day trail I've taken on horseback, but the view is spectacular.

My stupid camera is dying. I think I'll be buying another camera here shortly.

This was the first off day ride I took, where shortly thereafter my stupid camera back came flying open and I lost one of my digital camera rechargeable batteries. Grr. . .

My camera is kind of stupid. Now it won't decide whether or not it'll turn on.

Still, the scenery from horseback is spectacular.

I went on my second trail ride today, the same basic trail I took the first time, and got another picture of me on rawhide that looks a little like the one before.

There's this great ledge where you can get a spectacular scenery, granted unless your horse slips off the edge. I haven't gotten one of those yet.

One of the mild trail rides. I need to fix my camera now, or at the very least get it some decent rechargeable batteries.

Photoshop Goodness

My 'Not Sorry' days have come back to bite me. And not being in the capacity to go online daily, I miss some things. Such as this little number via my good friend over at Mountaineer Musing.

Be vewwwwy qwuiet. . .
. . . I'm hunting Buffawoe. . .

Of course, when you bring up anything that has to do with Brokeback mountain, somebody's going to get you involved in it someway or somehow.

Hey, Jessica Alba is a hotty! I'll admit it.

Note: I am not the creator of these images. I merely post them for blogging sake.


Image Ruinage

Getting off one of our dude rides, an asian guy (obviously a tourist) grabbed one of our wranglers and hugged him. As he did this, he told him "I loved Brokeback Mountain".

He was fortunate that he hugged that specific wrangler. Because several others mentioned that they want to sue that movie studio for ruining their image.

Brokeback jokes have been abounding here in Wyoming. Home of Yellowstone and all, and we being cowboys in Yellowstone, we've heard our share of them.

YNP : Gardiner

Interesting point to take note of is the sights of Yellowstone. There are a lot of them.

I managed to nab getting my weekends off so I've been using the time to associate myself with some of Yellowstone's points of interest. There are a lot of them, and as the summer progresses, I would hope to cover most of them.

I do have all summer afterall.

Starting off at the Northern Entrance of Yellowstone is a little town called Gardiner Montana. It sits on the gateway of Yellowstone and in fact is the only entrance open all year round.

In the little town of Gardiner is an old graveyard. I swear you feel like you are stepping back a hundred years when you come into this graveyard, mostly on account of the rustic appearance of said graveyard and the overabundance of cactus.

In this graveyard sits a grave of one John Yancey.

To any Wrangler in the Tower Roosevelt area, specifically any who has to tell the story of Pleasant Valley on the way to Cookout (which would mean all wranglers in Roosevelt) this man's story is very familiar to us. Including the way he died. He squatted in Pleasant Valley and its because of him disturbing that area we can hold our cookout.

I paid my respects.

The North Entrance is framed by the Roosevelt arch, which was dedicated by President Theadore Roosevelt in 1903.

John Yancey caught pnemonia and died 2 weeks after going to hear Roosevelt dedicate this arch.

And of course, the sign telling you that you are entering Yellowstone National Park. I may have mentioned that if its there, I must climb it. This sign is no exception to that rule.

Gardiner is becoming my regular stomping grounds. Specifically this little ice cream store called Raccoons. I try to make it there at least once a week to update my blog and check my email. Sometimes I drag along a fellow wrangler.

Overall, I love Gardiner. Its a bit of a touristy spot, being the northern gateway of yellowstone and all, but it has a real western feel to it, like being a part of the old west. They also have a gob of white water rafting trips, I'm planning on going on at least one this summer.

A friend and I took advantage of a small town rodeo they held last night, I hadn't been to a Rodeo since Redding California in 1995 (or there abouts, don't recall the actual date). Before the rodeo they had a parade, it wasn't very big, a lot of politicians making their name known as well as some people on horseback trying to get the news of a rodeo in town out. My favorite float was obviously one of a republican politician, just because it amused me.

I hadn't been at a parade in a long time where they actually threw candy. Not since I was a child.

Rodeos are a lot of fun, I think my favorite part of it was when they got all the kids 12 and under into the ring and set loose a calf with two ribbons tied to its tail. The first two kids to nab those ribbons got 20 bucks each.

At first they put all the kids behind a line and told them to stay there as they let loose the calf. It just casually wandered into the pen not really knowing what was going on. Then the announcer told the kids to go for it. All hell broke loose as that poor calf didn't know what hit it.

No kids were hurt during the execution of this event. To my knowledge.

I didn't get a lot of pictures, but one I did manage to get is one of the Broncs named Smokey. I just couldn't help but note the coloring of this horse.

The cowboy was a rookie, I believe he managed to stay on for the 8 seconds.

When I was younger (and a major horse nut) I had mentioned to my parents how I wanted to marry a cowboy. I haven't been in an area (especially working with horses like I am) where I have seen so many cowboys in one place for a long time.

I must be in Montana.

YNP : Wrangler Riding

Being a wrangler, I have some special incentives here at Yellowstone.

Specifically, the whole being paid to ride horses is a pretty sweet deal. And as a wrangler, I have a horse that is sort of signed to me (though that is susceptable to change)

Meet Rawhide.

Everytime I ride Rawhide, I want to start singing "rollin' rollin' rollin'" and often times I do.

Whatever the case, Rawhide is my horse for the summer. He got this weekend off due to the fact that I decided to go to a rodeo and climb Mt Washburn on my days off as opposed to ride, but I do have the option of taking him out on my days off as well. And he's a good little horse, he fits me pretty good, being not very tall which helps me when I have to get back on him really quick.

He is a little headshy with his left ear, but overall, he's easy to catch, and he's got a pretty mellow temperment. Though he is known to kick if another wrangler horse runs up on him.

Before we opened operations, all the wranglers took our horses out and we got to test out our skills (and to prove that we could actually ride.)

This one ride was the funnest I have ever had on the back of a horse.

We took these horses on a two hour trail ride through the backcountry of Yellowstone along the Yellowstone River into some of the prettiest country on earth. As it was all said and done, well, we got back on the dudes and worked them out a bit more, but in the meantime, we bonded with our horses, a couple of people fell off the backs of theirs (one specifically on purpose) and we all just had a great time.

There will be an end of the season trail ride as well, all the wranglers will take their horses out for the entire day. I should be there for it, and I can't wait.


YNP : Dude Riding

All this week we've been riding the dude horses again and again. Dude horses are fun and all, and they have some great trails, but eventually you learn after riding the same trails over and over again on horses that are trained to follow the horse in front of them, you are rearing for something a bit more.

Regardless, we made the most of it. And overall, I had a lot of fun, sometimes even getting the opportunity to practice wrangling. That can be amusing at times, as we have a bunch of wranglers on dude horses acting as guests may potentially act (read: complete idiots)

As a Side Note: Today was our first live trail ride and our guests were fantastic.

Anyway, getting on a wrangler horse is better then being on the dudes, because Wrangling horses actually react to you.

But the Dudes tend to grow on you too.

Up early one morning, I found Ug (the big guy in the center) surrounded by the Pony Mafia. The ponies always hang out with Ug. He's just this big horse that's pretty mellow and mostly just sits there chillin'. I've grown a soft spot for Ug.

THis is Eric, he's one of many dude horses that I'm still trying to tell apart. In fact, I still can't pick him out from a couple of the other Bay dude horses. But he's a good horse, very reliable, you could put a kid on him and not have many worries.

A lot of the Dude horses are like that.

Jose isn't quite to that point however.

Jose is a cool little horse, he's actually pretty well behaved at first, but as the trail ride progresses he tends to get a little frustrated and throws his head a bit. But overall he's a good horse. They were going to have him be a wrangling horse but he works better in the dude line.

He's pretty sweet too. He's one of my favorite Dude horses.

The trail is pretty scenic, and there's something about seeing a place like Yellowstone on the back of a horse. It's just part of the history and culture of this park.

Meanwhile, on one of our dude rides, as a pure joke, all the available wranglers decided to take Ponies out.

We have a bunch of ponies here. What's more, they're really not for kids, their more for adults, these guys are halflingers and they are cute little guys, but you can tell they're looking for trouble.

They just have that look about them.

I grabbed a halflinger named Bull. He's an old guy, but he's still got spunk. But he's well behaved, he will not deviate from that trail.

So all of us on Ponies (with the exception of the wranglers), we went for a little trail ride. I think it was one of the funnest trail rides we had.

One of the ponies is a new guy, and he's not quite ready to be a dude horse yet, however we don't wrangle with ponies so we're just going to have to work with him.

One of our wranglers tried an experiment on him, and it was quickly proved that he didn't like it.

She had no problems staying on him, but I think she'll be one of the wranglers working with this guy this summer, preparing him so he's ready to take people out.

Which will hopefully be soon. Despite this picture, he's actually doing really well. You have to do something very specific to get him to react like this. Something that guest riders shouldn't be doing.

As I mentioned earlier, we've started our rides. Today was our first day.

So far I'm having a lot of fun.


YNP : The Horses

Well, its been quite a week here. We got on the ground moving and one of the first things I learned how to do was harness a draft horse. Draft horses are a lot of fun, they are usually pretty mellow and will just chill while your working around them. They are actually usually pretty easy to catch as well.

But when you're 5'3" tall, sometimes harnessing them can pose a problem. I don't have any pictures of me trying to heave a harness on the back of a percheron, but I do have a picture of one of my friends attempting too put one on Skip.

We're about the same height, so you can see the task we have before us.

Meanwhile, here is a snap of me as I was getting Moe, a Shire, harnessed.

I don't have a lot of pictures just yet, as we're busy learning about how to do this, and I'll be doing it all summer, I'm sure I'll get plenty of Kodak moments ahead.

Meanwhile, here's a shot of me with one of the Belgians, Squirt, Edit: Turbo, damn it this is Turbo! Not Squirt!

Squirt is a bit headshy, so you have to watch his big floppy ears, but otherwise, he's rather mellow like most of the other drafts.

this is Shorty and Squirt Turbo and Stan hitched to a wagon, which we use to take guests of the park to an old country cook out. The only way to get to this cookout is by horseback or on a wagon, no cars are taken out out there. I learned how to drive these guys. I got to drive a team of percherons named Tango and Cash twice. You have to keep them in check so if you're not used to driving a team of draft horses (like I'm not) you'll find that your hands get a little achy from holding the lines.

By the end of this summer, I'm going to be in great shape.

Meanwhile, now the Dude horses are in. We spent all day yesterday and today riding them.

I'm very sore, but having a ton of fun riding these guys. So far I rode four dude horses; Gotch, Rosco, Eric and Ringo; and got to be a wrangler riding a beautiful Bucksin named Rail Road, who's currently a bit out of shape. So we made good company.

I mentioned I'm not the greatest horseman out here. These trails rides sortof confirmed it, I've never been formally trained on riding a horse, so I'm guessing by the end of this summer, I'll be a regular pro.

A line of Dudes. I'll have more written about them next time I find internet access.