Fall is my favorite season. The crisp air and critters come out and make me all a-twitter. This week, I’ve made the epic journey with my partner to drive from Boulder, Colorado up to Darby, Montana, just on the northwest Montana/Idaho border. The leaves are starting to change.
Within the first twenty four hours, we hit Teton and Yellowstone National Parks and see two bald eagles and a moose (said moose in photo above…at Jackson Lake Lodge). Also, impressive bison herds, a fox, elk, and deer. Could probably have seen a grizzly if we’d stopped and joined the tourists at a turnout, but after Katmai Alaska, I feel certain I’ll never get a look at them the way I did there.
Fall is the ideal time for this trek. Once school starts, crowds thin. Vacancies at nice hotels abound. And, the weather still holds. We stayed overnight at the 320 Ranch in Big Sky, Montana. The ranch sits right on the Gallatin River, is relatively inexpensive, and ideally situated between West Yellowstone, the town of Big Sky, and Bozeman. The cabins on the river offer warm beds, kitchen, TV, porches, and nice bathrooms. There’s a stocked trout pond, casting lessons, trail rides, and other amenities.
One mile from Big Sky, we hit the Buck’s T4 restaurant for what Travel + Leisure magazine called, “easily the best meal in town.” Bison steak with straw onions and mushrooms and a dessert that’s one of the most unique I’ve seen or tasted, the S’more Please. Courtney, the pastry chef, explained that she was the co-creator of the dish. Two homemade brownies with marshmallows and chocolate chips sandwiched in between and melted while encased in graham cracker infused phyllo dough. Homemade vanilla ice cream to accompany it. Genius.
After fly fishing our way through Bozeman up to Darby, we arrived at the Tripe Creek Ranch, owned by a former CEO of Intel. Swank. The room has two plasmas, down comforters, a kitchen, living room, and stocked mini-bar (included in the room rate). Pheasant Gumbo, berry salad, Cornish Hen, and yet another phyllo dough dessert…this one with chocolate molten and berries in the inside.
Tomorrow we’ll take a two-hour trail ride up the mountain for lunch. Then, more fly fishing and eagle watching. Wednesday is the cattle drive. Take note: October 28 – November 1 this ranch is offering a 62 mile women’s riding adventure, Klicks for Chicks, that begins and ends with cocktails. Stay tuned. I haven’t been on a horse since I sold my own ten years ago. After two trips to the ER, I’ve not been back in the saddle.