Last week, I packed up my Toyota minivan and left with my son and my Dad on a 20 hour trip to Guernsey, Wyoming. This trip has been in the planning stage for two years. I have been doing annual hunting trips with my Dad and Brother for almost 20 years now. This year, my son turned 13 years old and was able to join the men on this annual pilgrimage. I am not going to talk in much depth about the hunting aspect of our trip but rather focus on the camaraderie, exploration and adventure we each enjoyed.
My brother had frequent flyer miles to use or lose so he flew out of Columbus, OH on a direct flight to Denver. Sadly, that left only my Dad and I to share the 20 hour drive. This year, I did 65% of the driving including the 11pm – 5am shift. This took a bigger toll on me than it has in past. I never let it get to the point where I was dangerous on the road, I simply felt hung over and not mentally sharp the next day.
Logistically, the transportation couldn’t have worked out any better. My brother drove his rental car up to Guernsey from Denver and met us at about the exact same time we were arriving from Ohio. We checked into The Bunkhouse Motel at 1pm. The place had a great western theme but needed a serious update. I don’t get too worked up about such things when I know I am on a guys hunting trip and ultimately will be spending little time in the room. This place probably saw its glory days in the mid-70s. When you find yourself in these remote western states, you don’t have many options. You pay the $97 per night and move on. Our only other option was driving to another town an hour from the ranch where we hunted.
By far the most redeeming aspect of this hotel was the daily breakfast. They brought out a cast iron skillet filled with delicious homemade cinnamon rolls. Other mornings, they had fresh sausage/egg/cheese burritos.
After a good night sleep, we hunted our first full day on Sunday. The ranch we hunt is over 14,000 acres so there is plenty of opportunity to explore rocky cliffs, pine forest and Aspen groves. Life on a Wyoming ranch takes me back to a bygone era. Things move at a slower pace and the biggest concerns are keeping the cattle watered and the fences mended.
Sunday ended up being a very successful day for us from a hunting perspective. We each were able to harvest an Antelope that will provide meat in the freezer for this coming Winter. For those of you who don’t hunt, you may not be able to relate. A day of hunting with friends & family is about making memories, telling stories, hugs, hand shakes and a spirit of primitive bonding that goes back to a much earlier time in human history.
We used Monday as a day to really explore the ranch. We found an Aspen grove in full Fall color that offered great photographic opportunity.
That evening, we drove down to Wheatland, Wyoming for dinner and a little “shopping.” My Dad was set on bringing home presents for his other grandkids. I tried to explain that Wheatland was probably not a tourist destination where we could find a souvenir hooded sweatshirt. I was correct, it wasn’t However, we did find an interesting place to eat. It was just a normal diner but it had great local color. We all had full plates of food to fill our stomach, laughs and retelling of old stories.
Stop back for part 2 of my post. You should know by now that I had to work a National Park visit into this trip somehow.
The Regular Guy