My alarm went off at 6:00 a.m. and I anxiously turned it off. I was about to embark on a new adventure in the valley that most locals and visitors have already experienced in their lives: horseback riding. I was definitely nervous since I already knew how large these beautiful animals were but was excited to put myself out of my comfort zone and try something new--plus two of my best friends would be joining me, so I wasn't going to go through this alone. It was a sun-filled morning, and there was enough chill in the air to make it for a comfortable ride. We gathered our hot beverages and piled into our tiny ford ranger, all three across the bench seat and all stuffed in with our packs. We were ready.
The drive to Grey's River is a beautiful one, just past the Snake River Canyon and into Alpine. Even if you're not going for a horseback ride, you must drive along during sunrise and catch glimpses of the morning light sliding in through the trees and brining the river to life. Don't make the mistake we made--forgetting to turn 4-wheel drive on! Approximately 13 miles down the Greys River Road, we ended up at camp. Pulling into our parking spot and looking around with curious eyes, you could already tell this place had a nice, family-owned and friendly feel to it. We immediately hopped right out and were instantly greeted by everyone. One special thing we noticed were these gorgeous, almost glamping-style tents, which we then learned you can go on a ride and spend the night at camp--amazing! We were embarking on a full-day ride, which starts at 9 a.m. and will typically last 6-7 hours depending on speed of the group, so we had to make sure we were extra prepared. After introductions, you are directed to the lunch area--they have everything set up for you to make your own sandwiches, and a HUGE selection of snacks which you can take as much as you want. The horses are equipped with saddle bags, so all you need to bring from home if need be is bug repellent and sunscreen.
Our guide, Hunter, was very likeable and knowledgeable right away. He drove the three of us to a spot along the river where he usually takes the horses out and where he teaches his "students" how to ride them. For example, when you are going downhill you lean back, and when going uphill you lean forward. I was most nervous about getting on the horse, but that was actually the easiest part! What was truly exciting was the horse I was assigned: she was a beautiful brown horse, named Mercedes which happened to be my name in Spanish class every year growing up. Naturally, we already had a connection. A few laughs later and important tips from Hunter, we took off on our trip, all horses (Mercedes, M&M, Magic Mike) in a line going the same speed...it was extremely relaxing. I couldn't believe how I felt on my horse, so relaxed and at peace. There's something about going for a morning ride, with the cool breezes and the sounds of animals awaking and the river flowing--it was magical.
The sights on horseback were unbeatable. We went along the River, rode through streams, went up and down some steep terrain, came across rocky fields and a giant canyon, and even snuck up on a waterfall! Our Guide, Hunter, knew so much about the area, the wildlife, and knew how to make us feel safe and completely comfortable. After lunch, as the sun started to heat up, I shed most of my layers and very much enjoyed feeling the sun on my skin and admiring mother nature. I couldn’t believe that I lived so close to a hidden gem-of-a-place like this...I knew I had to come back again.
Towards the end of our ride, we could definitely feel the effects of a full-day. My coworkers had warned me that I might be a little sore from the saddle, and boy were they right. I will say, though, it was the best kind of sore out there! As we said goodbye to our horses and loaded up in the car, we all couldn't help but share in delight the experience that we had just had and how grateful we were to be in a place like Wyoming. For all of us, this was a once-in-a-lifetime/bucket list opportunity that we finally got to check off our lists.
If you are paying a visit to Wyoming and happen to be traveling to or through Jackson Alpine or Pinedale, please do yourself a favor and book a ride with Jackson Hole Outfitters. You'll have the best day with your family, and maybe...just maybe you'll overcome some fears.
Book your full-day or half-day with Jackson Hole Outfitters here! Here during the off-season? They have some great horseback hunting trips, too!
Thank you to Ambrosia, Hunter, Sy, and the rest of the team over at JHO for helping make this trip possible! Read their amazing reviews here.
This blog was written by Communications Manager, Cecilie Davila, 307.201.2304 or firstname.lastname@example.org