Want to slow down, unplug and without clutter? How about a “package trip”


I always wanted to be a cowboy. What doesn’t an American young man have? Especially if you grew up watching John Wayne and Western Movies and dreamed of riding a horse deep in the wild. Experiencing wildlife and nature without the crowds and forcing yourself to experience the world of nature is amazing and what Kati and I love to do. So when Kati said we should take my daughter camping for her 30th birthday, I immediately thought of a “package trip”.

The “package trip” comes from the 19th century when cowboys packed all their belongings and set off into the unknown wilderness to discover new lands or new hunting grounds in the Rocky Mountains. A series of horses or mules was used to carry all the necessary equipment. In the same way, it is now an adventure that can last from 3 days to 10 days and even longer, and an opportunity to camp, cook, fish, hunt and ride horses in a breathtaking landscape that few can experience or see.

Slow adventure

The trip was the ultimate “slow travel adventure”. We managed to experience everything without a specific schedule, and our tour guides, Vic and Brenda, a married couple, were fantastic guides and teachers. Furthermore, they were both real adventurers. Vic usually runs hunting parties Pendergraft Outfitters in Wyoming and Brenda she was very spiritual, in tune with nature, and had been with horses all her life. Other cowgirls were Jade, a 16-year-old phenomenon when it comes to horses, Anna — who helped us while we rode, and Hanna the cook (actually a 5-star cook who prepared fantastic meals every day). While our meals were being prepared, we were able to concentrate on just riding and looking at the most magnificent landscapes imaginable. We weren’t hunters and we decided not to fish, we were there for the adventure. Let’s see what we could find and experience something that few people do.

And what an adventure it was.

What to expect

It was very impressive how much people showed love for animals. Their horses and mules were well cared for, as were their dogs. It was immediately obvious that we were with people who take care of their animals and want to make sure they are taken care of – not just for work or livestock. This is very important with these types of travel. Finding an outfitter who treats their horses and mules well and always keeping in mind how much they can carry and how far they can go.

Not knowing exactly what to expect on this “package” trip, after the first day I was already exhausted. I crawled next to Katie into my tent and fell asleep. It wasn’t even 9pm yet, but we had already walked more than 6 miles through the incredible wilderness in the northern Teton Mountains of Wyoming. We had a total of 11 horses, 5 dogs and 5 people who helped and guided us. In the mid-80s the day was warm, but the nights cooled by the 50s and became completely cold.

We woke up to a great breakfast that Hanna had prepared and prepared for our horses. For the next 3 days we rode the northern mountains of Teton. Through narrow canyons, they climbed along rocky trails to almost 9,000 feet, where there was still snow at the end of July, caught in a rainstorm and had lunch on rivers and trails high in the Tetons. We also picked the blueberries we ate, and the next day Hanna made Huckleberry pancakes for breakfast, drove through fields and meadows of wildflowers, and saw a moose eating in a pond.

Our expectations have not only been met, they have also been exceeded.

Pack your travel lunch

Lunch on a trail in the mountains of northern Teton. Here’s the whole crew.

Where the impacts of human activities are minimal

The northern mountains of Teton are home Jedidiah Smith Wildlife Area. A wilderness area is defined as “a region in which the land is in a natural state; where the impacts of human activities are minimal ”. And that was definitely true where we were. The whole trip we didn’t see any other person except our crew and a few riders on the way out towards the end of the adventure. Although all the cowboys and cowgirls obviously helped us, we did it ourselves. From tying rain gear to the saddle, to riding on really rough terrain over fallen trees and rocks to riding where there were no trails. Even though we’ve all ridden before, we haven’t ridden like this. And it was fantastic.

For 4 days we had no phones or computers and we were completely off. Having to talk and visit each other, we learned that Jade was almost like a horse whisperer and could train any heavy animal, and that Hanna had climbed the Grand in the Grand Tetons and was an experienced climber. Anna, not just a horse expert, was a medical technician and spoke French. And Victor and Brenda? Let’s just say that by the end of the trip we felt like we had known them our whole lives.

Waking up in the morning with coffee on hold and preparing breakfast allowed us to concentrate on the more important things – like looking for unique rocks in streams and rivers, or helping horses and mules for water in a nearby stream or just writing in our magazine.

Our last word

Katie and I have been on many adventures, but this was different. Almost spiritual in nature. Connecting with other people, with the earth and with animals was something we didn’t expect. Overwhelmed by the mountains we saw from afar it was a surprise for both of us. And to slow down, the exclusion was more necessary than we thought and we were sad that we said goodbye to new friends and ended the adventure.

After that we spent a few days camping in Grand Teton National Park and also traveled through Yellowstone. It was crowded, and because of the heat seeing animals were rare. We all thought about the adventure we had just finished and we were lucky to have that experience. We were different. We found something on the trail. We found us. Make me. US before cell phone and direct access 24 hours a day. Maybe we are the ones we have always dreamed of and wanted to be. In a way we changed and maybe it was the greatest gift we could all get.

Pack Trip

At about 9,000 feet up we had to stop and water the horses. There was still snow there and it was the end of July.

Tips for your trip package

  • Find a good, responsible outfitter. We used Pendergraft Outfitters / Linn Outfitters. They take care of their horses and mules and will satisfy your desires and needs for your journey.
  • Book early. The season is relatively short and they fill up quickly.

Packing list for your package deal

  • Don’t pack too much, but make sure you have layers. Even at the end of July, it is still getting cold.
  • Make sure you have rain gear. We had waterproof jackets and pants. Although it only rained for a few hours, we rode and it was necessary.
  • Pants – Jeans work best for riding and hanging out at camp.
  • Long-sleeved T-shirts help in colder weather, bugs and the sun.
  • Gloves – bring gloves to use while driving. I didn’t use them the first day and later regretted it.
  • Sun protection – Get a hat and sunscreen. You will need it at higher altitudes.
  • Lip protection – my lips cracked after our trip. Lip protection is essential.
  • A small backpack – your saddle bags will hold our lunch and water, and your rain gear will be tied to your horse, but for everything else you will need this. I left this to Katie because I didn’t have it.
  • Sleeping bag – Mandatory and we suggest that you have one that is rated 20 degrees or lower.
  • Toiletries – You will use a portable toilet, but you will need biodegradable soap and toothpaste.
  • Warm socks
  • Riding and hiking boots – we bought a pair of Ariat boots that worked great for both jobs. They had the healing you need for riding, they were waterproof and great for hiking.
  • Water bottles – you will be using water bottles again, so have at least two. No bottled water is brought, but filtered water is available.
  • Jacket or coat – We all had a pretty heavy jacket with us because it was freezing.
  • Camera with extra batteries, binoculars and knife.

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