Summer is here, family is coming for a visit and what can you do? Here’s a great idea! I recently joined with friends when they planned a haywagon ride as part of their family reunion in north central Montana. Their gathering was headquartered in Chinook, MT located on US Hwy 2…we call it Montana’s Hi-Line.
After touring the Blaine County Museum in Chinook we traveled about 15 miles south on Clear Creek Road. Kudos to my hometown area for having all of their rural roads well marked with fairly new signs! A team of percheron draft horses was waiting for our group, also a team of mules since we had enough people to fill two wagons.
A special treat, a horse-drawn buggy, was also hitched to a team of percheron draft horses. I opted for the buggy along with two other riders and the team driver. This had to be the Cadillac of buggies – a certain type of suspension made for a very smooth ride and our team of horses traveled along like a well-choreographed ballet.
Emma on the left, and Jake on the right, obviously knew there was a tasty treat waiting for them in their corral after our ride. We were greeted with a tip of the cowboy hat from our driver, a rancher who lives farther south of Chinook. Yes, we were impressed that chivalry lives on!
We rode in the buggy past grazing Angus cattle and marveled at the tall grass. You could tell there had been plenty of moisture this spring. The wagons and buggy stopped near a coulee where L S Adventures, based in Chinook, had set up “haybale” chairs and a complete dinner of roast beef, mashed potatoes, veggies, rolls and dessert – an amazing feast in the foothills of the Bear Paw Mountains. We had some wind but that didn’t stop everyone from having a good time. I’m not sure how many different age groups we had but there was quite a span, with lots of young kids. The kids must have slept well that night when they got home after running and climbing the hills.
Dinner was followed by entertainment which was a group of locals assembled to play some old favorite tunes. The evening was casual, free from TV and video games, and young and old alike seemed to enjoy being together in this vast rolling landscape south of Chinook.
LS Adventures prefers groups of 30 or more for their haywagon adventures which they offer during summer months. They also do horseback rides, wagon train adventures and cattle drives. So, whose turn is it to plan the next family reunion?