Friday, August 29, 2014

Hunter Peak Lodge reminds of homesteading days, a trip back in time


The pristine wilderness area of the Hunter Peak Ranch is a delightful respite from the ravages of contemporary life.
Over supper, Louie told of a bear chasing a grasshopper.  The bear danced,
the hopper escaped.  His stories are part of the fun of a stay at Hunter Peak.
IF YOU want a get-away with room service, plenty of activity, and five-star spa treatment, Hunter Peak Ranch is not the place for you.
Cookie enters the spacious accommodation at Hunter Peak.
But if you desire serenity in a sublime setting, tasty home cooking, hiking out the door, wildlife out the window, and friendly folk when you want company,  Hunter Peak Ranch is tailor made for you!
The proprietors are characters! Louis ("Louie") and Shelley Cary are hardworking, down-home people with an obvious love of the land and what they do.
Autumn is in the air! Bees make the most
and there's snow on peaks near Hunter.
Louie was raised on the property, which has been in the family since the 1930s. Shelley came on board in 1969 and they raised a family here. Named for the spectacular peak, the ranch is nestled beneath the mountains on the Clarks Fork River in the Shoshone.
A corral houses horses and pack animals, with bear-proof garbage cans.
Imagine this picturesque scene years ago, when only a dirt road connected the ranch to Cody. "It took four or more hours to get there," Louie recalls, "and mail delivery came only once a week."
WE CHOSE a two-day retreat at this laid back Wyoming spot because we were tired. Nearing the end of an arduous remodeling project, we longed for a quiet place, surrounded by beauty.
Friends recommended Hunter Peak. It was perfect.
Louie and Shelley are the third generation to operate the ranch, and pride themselves in their old-fashioned work ethic and sense of hospitality.
Cookie, Nick and Nora enjoy the dog-friendly digs.
There's a corral with horses and donkeys, neat stacks of fire wood everywhere, and trails to take you across the road or by the river. Louie cleared and leveled a road while we were there.
Five minutes from our cabin, this lovely scene awaited!
The couple -- Louis and Shelley -- manage the guest ranch to honor the tradition established through the generations: a friendly welcome, good food, pretty environment.
Suites and rooms are named
after the nearby mountains.
"We're not babysitters," Shelley told me. "We want people to be self starters, but we're around if need be."
THE ROOMS range from  a grouping of bunkhouse-type cabins (where we stayed, because they are pet friendly), to individual cabins near the water, some with fireplaces.  If we return, we'd love to stay in one of those because having a private fireplace would have been icing on the tasty cake!
The scenery was called "a celestial paradise" by one writer, and it truly is.
Shelley and Louie Cary.
After a torrential rain, complete with rainbows, Louie leveled
the road early the next morning. 
WE FOUND our cabin comfy and roomy, with a kitchen suitable for fixing meals. We prepared a supper and breakfast here and enjoyed a meal with the Carys another evening. The food was wonderful: steaks cooked to order, quinoa side dish, fruit salad, homemade rolls and a delicious peach and pear pie baked by Shelley that afternoon.  Rates range from $150 a night to a couple thousand a week for the larger cabins which accommodate up to 10 or 12.
THERE ARE pet friendly rooms!
As mentioned, this is a must for us!
Keller enjoys a wade in the waters near our cabin at Hunter Peak Ranch.
The place attracts a mixed clientele -- from Europeans in love with the mountains and hiking, to American and Canadian tourists in search of change and dramatic scenery.
During our stay, we met neighboring summer people from Santa Barbara and Ashland, Oregon, and visited with a family spending several days at the ranch, and a three-generation group from Nebraska.  All of us enjoyed the dazzling peaks and lush mountain valleys northwest Wyoming provides.
THE BEAUTIFUL Chief Joseph Scenic Highway gets you there, or you can do what we did, weather permitting:  go in via the spectacular Beartooth Pass out of Red
Lodge, and you'll drop into the valley and Hunter Peak Ranch, just a few miles away. Then we went home to the Beartooths through Chief Joseph, stopping at the much photographed bridge to enjoy a picnic.
To book, call 307 587-3711.  Or go to
To our delight, there is no cell service in the area, but you may use a calling card on the ranch phone for emergencies.
COMING UP:  Why we enjoy "road tripping." The joys of short and long car journeys together. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us Wednesdays and weekends at

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