Archive for the ‘Natural History On Horseback’ Category

Top 5 Grand Teton Horseback Riding Trails

Posted on: June 18th, 2014 by DryRidge No Comments

Green Lake in Jedediah Smith Wilderness, Idaho horseback riding

# 3-Green Lake

Tucked in behind the steep east side of Green Mountain is Green Lake, another of our favorite Grand Teton horseback riding trails. The trail leading to this high mountain lake begins on a densely vegetated slope, where snowberry and serviceberry are just beginning to bloom. Later in summer huckleberries will be ripe for picking.

Horseback riders taking a break among wildflowers on Green Mountain Trail, Teton Mountains, Jedediah Smith Wilderness, Horseback riding in Wyoming

 

The trail opens onto the broad face of Green Mountain; by mid-July the wildflowers are breathtaking.

“When the white wild carrot blooms across the face of the mountain I feel as if I’m drifting on a cloud.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trail leading down to Green Lake, Teton Mountains, Jedediah Smith Wilderness, Horseback riding in Idaho and Wyoming

 

 

 

A steep switchback trail drops down to the lake, where fishing, lounging,

and dipping toes, if you dare,

in the cold mountain water, are permitted. For riders who want to venture further, we explore the smaller lakes and subalpine meadows above Green Lake.Upper Green Lakes with Little's Peak in the background

Portions of the trail are steep and rocky so riders must have previous riding experience.

Natural History On Horseback

Red-tailed Hawk

A perched Red-tailed hawkA common raptor seen in our area is the Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis). A screeching kee-arr often alerts you to the bird soaring overhead. When an intruder enters the nesting territory the pair will often circle, making a shrill chirping sound. But the typical adult Red-tailed Hawk’s distinctive red tail is the best field mark. When you drive through the countryside, look for the bird perched on telephone poles, fenceposts, and in trees at the edge of an open field. Red-tails typically build their nests in the crown of a tree so they have a favorable view of their territory. They primarily eat small mammals, but they also eat birds and carrion. Mated pairs typically stay together until one of the birds dies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To learn more about identifying raptors view this video from Peterson Field Guides:

Tack’s Clean and Ready for Riding!

Posted on: June 1st, 2014 by DryRidge No Comments

A lot of work goes into getting ready for the summer riding season. One of the most important tasks is to make sure all the tack: saddles, blankets, bridles, breast collars, and saddle bags are clean and ready for riding. Who knows what kind of surprise we’ll find in one of the saddle bags!

Dry Ridge Outfitters horse tack for riding in the Grand Tetons

The Tack Room at Dry Ridge Outfitters

This is the tack room in the barn. The saddles gathered dust all winter long. Now that summer has nearly arrived, they’re ready for a horse and a rider.

Don’t miss the spectacular beauty as the Tetons wake up from a long white winter. Aspen trees are newly green; the air is filled with the their downy seeds. Although there’s still plenty of snow in the mountains, Larkspur, Arrowleaf Balsamroot, Service Berry, and Chokecherry are beginning to bloom at Moose Creek Ranch. And the small ambitious House Wrens are singing their hearts out.

View from the trails at Moose Creek Ranch

View from the trails at Moose Creek Ranch

We open for riding on June 2. Join us for a springtime horseback ride in Idaho. We offer 1 hour to 1/2 day rides at Moose Creek Ranch. Full day rides are limited to the Decoster Trail and other low elevation trails right now. A couple more weeks of snowmelt and we hope to be riding to Hidden Lake.

Natural History on Horseback

Small Bird With A Big Voice

house_wren_glamour

photo credit AllAboutBirds

The tiny House Wren fills the aspen woods with it’s bubbly song all summer long in the Tetons and Yellowstone National Park. When the House Wren sings it’s as if the whole bird is song. One the most interesting facts about the House Wren is that the male builds several nests at the start of the breeding season, then sings his heart out in hopes of persuading a female to mate with him. The birds build cavity nests in some of the most interesting places, old cans, boots, as wells as tree cavities and nest boxes. The pair fill the cavity with small twigs, then often line the nest with spider egg sacs. When the spiders hatch, they help the nestlings by devouring parasites. Click on the link to find out more about this songful bird.

 

 

 

 

Listen to it’s ebullient song on this video.

 

Happy Trials!

Top 5 Grand Teton Horseback Riding Trails

Posted on: May 1st, 2014 by DryRidge No Comments

#2 – Crow’s Nest

Arrowleaf BalsamrootWe all have spring fever here at Dry Ridge Outfitters! Springbeauties are blooming as fast as the snow melts, the horses are fattening on green grass, and Kevin and I are itching to saddle up for a ride into the backcountry.

One of our favorite Grand Teton horseback riding trails is the Crow’s Nest. The trail gradually gains Dry Ridge, known for its abundant wildflower meadows and quiet aspen groves. One of the early wildflowers to bloom along the trail is Arrowleaf Balsamroot; the bright yellow flowers create a striking landscape against the blue sky.

The open slope offers panoramic views of the west side of the Teton range. The ridge lies between Badger Canyon to the north, and North Leigh Canyon to the south. When I’m riding to the Crow’s Nest, I feel like I’m looking right down the spine of the Tetons.

 

family stops for a photo on the way to Crow's Nest, Grand Teton Horseback Riding Trails

We stop about 1000 feet below the peak of the Crow’s Nest and picnic. It’s a good place to rest on a log and savor the breathtaking views of the Teton range. Depending on your riding ability, the return trip can loop down into Badger Canyon below the headwaters of Badger Creek. You might catch a glimpse of a moose snacking on the leaves and twigs of a willow bush (What Moose Eat!). Finally, we climb the Bear Walk Trail back onto Dry Ridge.

 

All smiles horseback riding across Badger Creek in the Grand Tetons

Depending on the year, Kevin and I start riding to the Crow’s Nest in late June or early July. Check back soon to read about more of our favorite horseback riding trails in the Grand Tetons.

Natural History On Horseback

3clla2The Western Springbeauty (Claytonia lanceolata) is a rich food source in spring. Deer, elk, and sheep graze on the leaves and flowers. The tubers are prized by grizzly bears. Raw, the tubers taste a little like a radish, cooked they taste a little like a boiled potato. The wildflowers were also a source of food for Native Americans. Read about Sacagawea’s ‘parcel of roots’ given to Meriwether Lewis on the banks of Hungry Creek.

Happy Trails!

Top 5 Idaho Horseback Riding Trails

Posted on: February 22nd, 2014 by DryRidge No Comments

#1 – Tin Cup Pass

Idaho Wildflower - Idaho Horseback Riding Views

Hollyhock

Nope it’s not spring time in the Tetons yet! BUT it won’t be long now before you can saddle up for an Idaho Horseback Ride.

In the meantime, we’ll be sharing blogs on our top 5 favorite Idaho Horseback Rides, as we start planning for another spectacular summer in the Tetons.  We hope you’ll check back to see them all.

The first of our favorite rides is Tin Cup Pass.  The trail begins from the North Leigh trail head along Tin Cup Creek. As we cross the open meadows, you’ll want to stop and admire breathtaking views of Beard’s Mountain and the Big Hole Mountain Range which is on the west side of the Teton Range or Teton Valley, Idaho.  At our highest point, we will enjoy a relaxing picnic in the cool shade of a mature fir tree while gazing upon one of the most panoramic views of the Tetons offered.

After lunch an option might be to walk to the top of Green Mountain viewing all the high mountain lakes of this area. This is not a loop ride and very suitable for almost all riding abilities.  Learn more about the Idaho’s Tin Cup Ride here.   Yep….this is one of the views! Really awesome!

 

Idaho Horseback Ride-Tin Cup Pass

The Grand Teton

Kevin and I start taking the Tin Cup extended day ride around the 1st week of July. It differs each year depending on how much snow is left in the high country. The wildflowers can be so awesome!

Columbine

Columbine

Happy Trails!!!