Saturday, February 23, 2013

Mill Iron Ranch Wyoming

My husband surprised me with a fun evening that included
a sleigh ride, animal tour and giant T-bone dinner
at Mill Iron Ranch just a few minutes south of Jackson.
He'd done some research and heard great things about this place.

We got directions and headed that way little did we know that we'd have to drive through some major snow covered roads to get there.  We turned off the highway and started trying to climb snow packed roads in my Civic.  First attempt up the hill failed so we backed back down the sparsely driven road to try it again.  Better luck this time with some slipping and sliding only to realize that we had another 1-2 miles left to travel before arriving at the ranch.  I was nervous and contemplating trying to back out of the whole thing.  Kevin assured me that we'd slip and slide but that we'd make it.  We both laughed at the situation and forged on.  We picked up some speed so that we could continue to make it up and around the mountain.  Luckily still no cars competing for road space.

We finally saw the sign for the ranch only to realize that was a sharp left turn and up some more mountain.  We gave it a few tries, backed up, sped up but weren't going anywhere except for a complete circle.  I suggested we call to tell them that we could see the ranch but wouldn't be able to make it up to it.  We both pulled out our cell phones to see the message NO SERVICE so we laughed again.  What an adventure...

Since the road seemed to be mostly abandoned, we parked our car off to the side avoiding the actual shoulder because we'd have never made it out of that and started trekking up to the ranch.   Once we reached the top, a very friendly cowboy drove up to meet us.  He jumped out of his truck, hugged me, shook Kevin's hand and welcomed us to his ranch.   Chancey was his name and he said he was real sorry he hadn't come to help us sooner but he didn't realize we were having trouble.  He said we could leave the car right there or we could give him our keys to see if he could make it up to the ranch.  He offered us his truck keys so we could drive ourselves up to the ranch.  We opted to walk and enjoy the scenery since it wasn't much farther.  We said we'd tried several times to get up the hill, doubted it was possible and wished him good luck!  He sent us inside to his wife to check in and to get settled.

She welcomed us and assured us that Chancey would get our car up to the ranch.  We were skeptical but grabbed some hot chocolate and a seat.  Just a few minutes later we see our Civic being pulled into a parking spot right by the ranch.  It is still a mystery to us how this happened and we figured that Chancey must be a pro at driving on the snow packed roads or that he used some of his cowboy magic.

There were about 10 guests at the ranch that night - families, couples and a group of friends.  We all got drinks, bundled up and waited for our sleigh to be ready.  Chancey was our driver and his wife was the waitress/hostess getting drinks.  We placed our T-Bone cooking preferences and got the go ahead to start loading the sleigh.  There were blankets for everyone.  I'd never been on a sleigh ride before so I was nervously excited for the 45 minute trip.  It was a beautiful day!

 The ranch from a distance
 We were at the back of the sleigh and almost lost Kevin on one of the turns.
He slipped, tried unsuccessfully to stable himself on the frozen sleigh floor and luckily held on!

 The scenery was lovely
and it was fun to tour the ranch that had been in Chancey's family for almost 100 years.

The elk were all spooked because of wolves so they didn't come close.
Apparently wolves are taking over up there!
 Lots of deer on the mountainside.
Horses of all sizes hanging out with the deer.
 Animal look alike shot - ha!

 We had so much fun!  Chancey would stop along the trail to tell us facts about animals, point things out and the horses seemed to be in a hurry because they would start to take off while he was in mid sentence.  All the animals were friendly and would come up to greet the sleigh when it stopped.
 The largest horse on the ranch.
 The blondest horse on the ranch.
 The handsomest guy on the ranch.

 Back for dinner.

We could smell our dinner cooking when we pulled back into the ranch.
 All decked out for Valentine's day weekend.
Look at those T-bones!!
 Dinner was delicious!

 Chancey's whole family served dinner and came around to refill things and chat with all the guests.  They were so nice and seemed genuinely excited to have us there for dinner.  They served hot chocolate, salads, chips and salsa, dinner and dessert.  Country music was playing in the background and we were surrounded by a hall filled with all the animals Chancey and his family had hunted over the years along with tons of rodeo prizes.  We'd love to come back in the summer for a wagon ride!  Thanks for a great evening cowboy!!
 We'd highly recommend visiting Mill Iron Ranch if you ever find yourself near Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  It's worth the money and is an evening filled with family fun.  Be sure to make reservations.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing. Jackson Hole is one of my favorite places..You took me back, only I was never lucky enough to see it in the winter....Beautiful!!!!....Love Grandma A

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