Back to School Tips '23: Connecting to Nature & Family with Lost Creek Ranch

dude ranch
This Back to School Season, we are thrilled to introduce you to Jasmin from Lost Creek Ranch. Not only does she understand the importance of connecting with family and nature, but she hosted our founder, Stacey, and her family at the ranch this summer. Read more below to hear why Stacey felt it was important to highlight this amazing trip and a full Q&A with Jasmin, manager of the ranch.
Stacey: This summer, my family decided we needed a full family adventure (my mom, sisters, husbands and 6 cousins - 13 of us in all). A few of us had never been to a ‘dude ranch’ and it seemed like an awesome idea to connect with nature and each other - there was a little bit of something for everyone.  Daily horse back riding, rafting down the Snake River, hiking, hayrides, fly fishing, archery, and all with the stunning backdrop of the Teton Mountains.  The nights were extra fun too - live music, dancing, rodeo (I can now proudly use the phrase “this is not my first rodeo”), and another favorite was the staff/guest volleyball game. The staff was beyond welcoming, from Lucy at the front desk to Megan, Deckland and Riley Ann at meal time (which were so delicious btw) and Izzy, Erin and Audrey at the barn… all led by the most amazing human, Jasmin - they all truly made us feel at home. I knew after my week there that we had to come back and photograph our beloved horse printed styles for Fall, and give you a look at a really amazing place to vacation with family!
(Stacey & her family enjoying each other's company at Lost Creek Ranch, photo by: Bunni Zegers)
 Meet Jasmin from Lost Creek Ranch!
jasmin

1. Please tell us a bit about the ranch and its history? Lost Creek Ranch is a privately owned in-holdings in Grand Teton National Park. The ranch was once owned by Albert Schwabaccher (since 1926) and later the Halpin Trust for over 55 years. Operating as a guest or dude ranch and welcoming families only 15 weeks per year. 

2. What kinds of outdoor activities do you offer? For kids and families, specifically? The ranch is all-inclusive offering comfortable rustic log cabins, meals, horseback riding, skeet shooting, hiking, scenic float trips on the snake river and more. The Spa, later added, offers a touch of modern luxury in the iconic west including sauna, steam room, gym and classes, hot tub and pool.

stacey and family

(Stacey & her family horseback riding at the ranch)

3. Horses are such special animals, please tell us about your personal connection to them? And what do you hope your visitors walk away with after spending time with them at the ranch? I grew up in an English saddle attending lessons and shows, only to receive my first horse (an attempt to steer me away from boys), a quarter horse gelding as a gift from my Great Grandpa. Later I fell in love with a cowboy at my hometown rodeo, who I now call my husband. Seth is a saddle maker and team roper, so horses are ingrained in our lifestyle. We buy young horses with specific genetics, train, show and rope all over the U.S. I’ve always been enthralled in western wear and cowboy culture. 

Guest Ranching is hard work and requires focus and dedication for an entire summer. The most rewarding part is sharing this special place with families, watching generations come together over the week and the sparkle in future horse girls' eyes as they fall in love with their trusted mount.

horse

4. We love to see that families continue to come back to the ranch, year after year. Why do you think that is? I think it’s the western hospitality and values. Most of the property you navigate by foot, slowing down and sharing in conversations. The dinner bell rings each night and family dinners take place. Camaraderie as the sun sets each evening in the arena or line dancing, under the stars instead of screens. Every activity is organized with family time in mind.

5. What do you love most about running the ranch? What has been the most rewarding? And what is the biggest challenge? I love the recruiting process, hand-selecting staff to build a community and workforce to produce the events and offering for the season. Curating treasured moments is pretty special too. 

The biggest challenge is opening the ranch after it sits vacant and under snow for most of the year. Due to the seasonality of operations, each year we train new staff and we deal with bucking horses, wildlife and rain deluges that keep each day interesting!

mommyandme

6. Getting kids/families outside and away from technology is certainly a challenge, what do you think the ranch offers to help them to reconnect with nature, and each other? I consider myself and staff to be stewards of nature and this incredible place. We act as guides, teaching new skill sets, inspiring young and old along the way. The staff is encouraged to interact with guests and share their passions. They are also free of technology while on the ranch and sadly, authentically engaging with others is a pastime so that becomes the sole focus while here. 

rodeo

7. Stacey, our founder, had an incredible experience with her family at Lost Creek Ranch. What were your thoughts when she asked about using your amazing location for a photoshoot? Stacey and family will forever have a place in myself and the staff's most memorable weeks. Watching her family come together and experience a bucket list trip, taught all of us the fragility of life and the strength in family.  While at the Ranch, she received the staff’s internal best dressed poll for the week, and we later found out she had a clothing line. The following week, I spotted a young guest in a darling  dress and asked “is that pink chicken?” the mom was like, how do you know? Later we asked a returning guest to participate in the photoshoot and the mom said “you know that is the brand I get for my daughters birthday every year… overwhelming yes!”

It’s an honor to be aligned with a brand that has similar values in customer relationships and that pink chicken is part of families cherished memories and special events as well.

pjs

8. What are your plans for the ranch’s future? Any fun insights or new upcoming projects you can tell us about? After 55 incredible years of ownership, Lost Creek Ranch is currently offered for sale. I know the Halpin Trust would love to see the guest ranch operations continue and a new owner infuse it with fresh energy, while keeping the nostalgia that we all love in place. 

We wrap-up the season in mid-September and hope to see the famous tagged bears cross the ranch en route to the Park for hibernation. This is always the first sign that winter is near. We will welcome spring with plans of operating again in the summer of 2024, whether it’s by the Halpin Trust or a fresh new owner.

horse and boy

 (photography by Bunni Zegers)

Shop Fall rodeo-inspired prints here!

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