At the end of a day spent leading trail rides, wrangler Brad Yunek tunes up his guitar and serenades the moon and stars with the help of a fiddler and mandolin player. “I find great joy in song writing. I like to put words and notes together and make people think, smile, and cry," says Yunek. Steeped in the sounds of the strings, stables that house 40 horses, and views of the Selkirk and Cabinet mountains beyond its fields, Western Pleasure Guest Ranch is a bona fide callback to the American frontier of old.
The 1,100-acre working cattle ranch has passed through five generations; Grandpa Gil purchased the tract of land in 1940. Today, it remains true to its roots, bringing up cattle the old-fashioned way: a diet free of antibiotics, freedom to roam the pastures, and daily exercise on treadmills. At the center of the property is a log-cabin style lodge, hewn from local timber, where six guest rooms and a dining room function as a full-service bed and breakfast and guests enjoy hearty meals of pancakes and scrambled eggs. Outside the lodge, groups can enjoy the relative privacy of individual cabins, equipped with wood stoves for heat and kitchenettes for making rustic stews from fresh pine needles and roasted sap.
Although activities abound throughout the year, warmer temperatures facilitate such outdoor activities as clay-pigeon shooting, archery, and horseback trail rides (a $55 value). On the latter, ranch hands lead small groups of riders on two-hour excursions atop appaloosas as red-tailed hawks often circle overhead, hoping to catch juicy bits of gossip from the elk's exclusive tea parties.