This article was created in partnership with Flying Pig Adventure Company, Montana. All photos courtesy of Flying Pig Adventure Company.
The first day, I arrived to the ranch and met my fellow crew for the next few days. The guides were warm and welcoming, and I was immediately excited and surprised at our intimate group size. It was less intimidating that way, and I got to know everyone a little better. My canvas wall tent was plush, but I still felt like I was at “camp.” With some time to myself, I explored the ranch grounds, pet the animals, and kicked back with a fresh novel. We ventured out for a late afternoon ride, a time when the sun hits everything just right. It was so serene, and the views over Yellowstone were unmatched. When we returned to the ranch, dinner was waiting for us: a cowboy cookout featuring a variety of meats and delicious sides. When in Montana, you have to try the elk meat.
Horseback + Whitewater
I woke to the smell of the crisp mountain air and moseyed out of my “glamping” tent to greet the day. I gripped my foot in the stirrup and settled quickly into the saddle for a morning ride. We strode along the trail together, and explored new scenery–different from the day before, yet still wild and picturesque. I embraced the downtime when we returned to camp and set out on one of the property’s hiking trails. It felt really nice to stretch my legs after being on a horse for a couple of hours!
In the afternoon, we prepared for class II and III rapids on the river–a mandatory passage to get to camp for the night! No doubt, the the ride was completely exhilarating! The water splashed me, but it was hard to wipe the perma-grin off my face. The ride was so much fun! We finally arrived to camp, greeted with snacks and views of the majestic Electric Peak in the distance. While the guides worked on dinner, I played bocce ball with some of the other guests. The stars that night were unbelievable! With such little light pollution, we could see the Milky Way, and tried to point out other constellations.
Say it isn’t so!
On the final morning, I spent some time next the river sipping my coffee, reflecting over the past couple of days. I was genuinely sad to say goodbye to the lovely folks I met and the experiences we shared. Fortunately, we still had an exciting day of whitewater ahead of us! We buckled our life jackets and organized back on the boats. Floating through Yankee Jim Canyon was thrilling with higher class rapids leading into Paradise Valley. I hear the river flow slows down later in the summer, and less intense rapids allow for a more mellow float.
This 3 day adventure in Yellowstone left me yearning for more, so I extended my trip by a couple of days. I holed up in a lovely cabin rental near Gardiner so that I could continue exploring the Yellowstone area for a while longer. For those seeking a shorter adventure, Flying Pig Adventure Company also offers overnight at the ranch and overnight raft adventures.