Double Rafter promises you the trip of a lifetime on an open range cattle drive vacation in Wyoming, USA. Out on the range, they give you the real deal! They don't schedule phony stampedes, cloudbursts, blizzards, rodeos, wagon wrecks, or brush fires - they happen all on their own! On the cattle drive vacation, you gather the cattle and move them to the next pasture in Double Rafter's rotation. Sounds pretty simple, but it is anything but that. With over 60,000 acres inside the boundary of Double Rafter's mountain allotment and only seven pastures, it should tell you immediately that getting the cattle found in any one pasture is a major undertaking by itself. These trips take place entirely on the mountain in some of the most beautiful remote countries you have ever seen.
Airport transfer available:
Billings Logan International Airport (US$235 per person)
Accommodation during the trip is in teepee tents on double or single occupancy. If you choose double occupancy, Double Rafter will match you with another guest around the same age and gender. The accommodation the night before is in a motel on double occupancy. They do not include single occupancy in the motel, but in case it is requested, it can be given at a discounted price.
You will need a plastic ground sheet to keep you dry during the night. If you are having bad weather, the plastic sheet will keep your stuff dry while you are out riding. For your personal hygiene, you will find a creek to jump into and wash your hair. For bathroom needs away from the camp, a travel pack of Kleenex works well. A few empty Ziploc baggies to carry trash back in is helpful. Add a Wet Ones wipe in a bag and you can wash after.
Please arrive in Sheridan, Wyoming, a day before, the night before the trip starts. This allows everyone to get started the next day at the same time. You will stay at a motel and have a delicious banquet in the evening. At 08:00, you will be picked up and transported to the Cow Camp.
On the following day, you can have breakfast in the neighborhood at 06:30 and plan on being out of the camp around 08:00. With 600 heads of cattle, Double Rafter can promise you lots of time in the saddle. The day ends when you get the cattle to where you need to get them for the day.
With Double Rafter cook’s phenomenal Dutch oven cooking, incredible horses to ride, and the camaraderie around the campfire, you will make new friends forever. You will return to civilization the last day, and the following morning at 09:00, you return to the airport. Since this trip is the real thing, you will go until you finish the day and reach your destination. This is reality, not Hollywood. Generally, you will be in the saddle a minimum of six hours a day.
The riding on the open range trip is as challenging as any trip Wyoming does and the hours in the saddle will equal any trips they do. Wyoming promises when you ride on the trail, you will not feel unchallenged. On one of Double Rafter's open range trips a couple years ago, they took a GPS reading in the pasture where they started gathering the herd. They then took a reading when they got to the destination at the end of the week.
As the crow flies, it was only four miles, but the route they had to take because of the canyons that they can’t get across, they trailed the herd 25.5 miles. You could walk the four miles by foot but you couldn’t lead a horse across it. It is that rough. The 25.5 miles they trailed, had them trailing through all kinds of terrain from heavy pine timber stands, to high alpine meadows and swampy area’s that could bog your horse down.
With all of the scattered timber, high Alpine meadows, rocks, canyons and rough country, it’s not as easy as it sounds. There is nothing nose-to-tail about this trip. There is an abundance of wildlife, wildflowers, cows, and plenty of fresh air to make this one of the most fulfilling weeks of your life. The trip will cover elevations between 6,200 feet and 9,300 feet.
With Double Rafter's many horses to choose from, they can accommodate any level of rider. Give them the opportunity to share with you what you have been missing in your life. Each of the trips is like a marathon for these horses and in all likelihood, you will ride around 100 miles during the week. So take a chance, on satisfying your wild side!
A number of years ago, Double Rafter made it mandatory that everyone attending a cattle drives would have to attend their horsemanship clinic. This allows them to try to have everyone mounted on a horse that will allow them to enjoy their week as a cowboy to the fullest. Double Rafter can promise you there are no manicured trails anywhere that you go. This clinic will help you to navigate this varying terrain with skill and confidence. The horsemanship clinic is run by Chris Ellsworth.
How you perform during the cattle handling seminar and the horsemanship clinic will determine if you stay on that horse or get moved to another one. Double Rafter wants you on a horse that fits your skill level.
While the herd is in the canyon, Double Rafter has very strict size requirements for the amount of personal gear you can handle in the pack string. Everything you take must go on pack mules when you take the herd through the canyon. You and a partner will be given one bag (Navy sea bag which will be provided) in which you must stuff your sleeping bag, clothes, and personal gear for two days. Your coat, slicker, camera, gloves and lunch can be tied onto your saddle.
You can certainly bring your own saddle. You will be more comfortable in your own versus a strange one. However, it is your responsibility to make sure your saddle is in proper working condition and has all the proper equipment.
This trip takes place entirely on the mountain in some of the most beautiful remote countries you have ever seen. The location has many different wild animals that you may see on the trip including deer, moose, elk, black bears, and rattlesnakes. As far as Double Rafter knows, they do not have any grizzly bears.
Food and soft drinks are included in the price. You can bring snacks, but Double Rafter feeds you so well that you might not eat yours. They supply snack foods in the lunch supplies as well.
Please book your flight to arrive at Billings Logan International Airport (BIL). Transfer from and to this airport is available upon request for 235 USD per person. The ranch is about two hours south of Billings.