Experience Nature Like You Never Have Before
Lisa -- Aug 12, 2012 04:17 pm
This was our fifth visit – we just love this place! We’ve come at a variety of times of the year – late June, early/mid July, Oct., and now early August. The experience was slightly different each time (e.g. more pink, purple and blue wild flowers in July vs. white and yellow ones in August along with lots of butterflies, one early morning snow in late June - but gone by the afternoon and gorgeous sunny days after that, the bison calves still orange in July but mostly changed color in August, etc.). This is a wonderful place to just relax and enjoy nature. This visit we did several hikes off the ranch (with amazing views of the vast Montana mountains and countryside at the top), went trout fishing in a local creek, horseback riding and also had a couple of quite successful game drives. The animal highlights this year were bear, a herd of elk, and a great grey owl with two young ones – which we observed for quite some time. Pam and Craig – who are wildlife biologists – are both great spotters and are an amazing source of knowledge about the animals and their environment on the game drives. Deer (both moms with fawns and bucks with racks) also abounded on both the ranch and on the drives, and blue grouse, chipmunks, rabbits and hummingbirds were frequent visitors to camp (where we could watch them from the front porch of the cabin). The bison didn’t disappoint either – with four different visits via the trail through camp; they definitely enjoy their oats! We also booked two different massages which were a nice way to unwind and loosen up our muscles after a couple of the hikes.
The food is consistently a treat – both tasty and healthy. The fresh eggs are one of our favorites in the morning, as well as bison several different ways (burgers, roast, tenderloin) and pizza on the barbecue is always a must. Pam will go over the menu with you in advance and then again to organize which meals you want in what order when you’re there. You definitely won’t go hungry. My favorite twist on the week is that I indulged in some sweet treats too (sticky buns, s’mores, yummy warm cookies, and cream cheese fruit pie) and still lost a few pounds while we were there because we were so active.
The cabins are a delight. The beds are amazingly comfortable, and the porch is a great spot to sit and read, play cards or just watch the hummingbirds come to the feeder or the chipmunks run up and down the fence. As before, the bathrooms are small but functional (with a decent sized shower) and there aren’t any power outlets in the cabins, but the solar powered lighting in the cabins has improved with great reading lamps installed over the bed. Also, if you must connect to the Internet you can now access a wireless network if you go to the main house.
We’ll definitely go back again – and in particular want to visit in the winter to see wolves.
A Little Slice of Heaven
john -- Jul 26, 2011 06:28 pm
My experience with Bison Quest started with a Search Engine and the words "Bison", "Mountains", and "Camping". I knew I wanted to get out of the city and do something different for my vacation - something good for my soul as opposed to the usual "all-inclusive" drink fests in Cancun. I was not disappointed!
From the very start, I built up a rapport with Pam through email contact. Her sarcastic humor won me over, and I chose to do a 1 week internship with her and Craig and get to see Yellowstone Park as an added bonus. This vacation has to be up there in my top 5 favorites so far!
Pam and Craig are knowledgeable, helpful, friendly, and fun! They answered all of my questions (I've had a love affair with Bison/Indians since 2nd grade) and gave me the freedom/opportunity to enjoy the beautiful Montana scenery as much as I pleased. Stargazing at night, feeding the buffalo, listening to the coyotes in the morning...I felt like I was a world away - but still very much at home! The food was incredible, the work was fascinating - I have too many memories to put in this little space. GO TO BISON QUEST!!! You will be glad you did!
Craig and Pam, I will see you soon!
Experience a unique wildlife experience
Lisa -- Jul 17, 2011 05:16 pm
We’ve visited Bison Quest multiple times now – in the summer (June and July) and the fall (in October); each visit has been different, but definitely one that we’ve enjoyed. This is truly a special place and a unique vacation. We’ve always chosen the private vacation option so as to have the place entirely to ourselves. The peace and quiet of being on the ranch - watching birds at the feeders from the cabin porch, reading in a swing, looking at the bison herd while they wander past the camp (you’re fenced in while the bison wander freely!), and hiking through fields of wild flowers – really enables us to just relax and disconnect from the hectic pace of the business world. A big plus for us is that Bison Quest has no cell phone or Internet access at the camp; we love “getting away from it all”.
Bison Quest is hard to describe to someone who hasn’t been there; the best description I have for it is “an American Safari”. Every time we’ve visited we’ve had amazing wildlife experiences. Watching the bison herd at the ranch is fascinating (especially when the babies are young) and feeding them is a truly unique experience (you’re in a truck while they wander around you and gather to collect their oats). Wooly Bully (the big bull on the ranch) is simply impressive. You can also go on wildlife drives at night – you’ll see everything from elk to deer to bear to lots of different birds. You can also do hikes both on and off the ranch. In the summer, the many different wildflowers that cover the hillsides are beautiful. The hosts, Pam and Craig, are very knowledgeable wildlife biologists who readily share their knowledge of the outdoors with you and are always willing to answer your questions. For a special treat, you can also hire them to take you through Yellowstone National Park. We’ve done that a couple of times and it was well worth it. We saw brown bear, grizzly bear, moose, elk, more bison and osprey (a male bird bringing food to the nest and the female feeding and shading her three babies) while in the park. They also were a wealth of information about the various water features (geysers, pools, hot springs and waterfalls). Note, if you want to see more than just Old Faithful it’s best to stay two nights near the geysers so you can wander from geyser to geyser during the day (each one is quite different when it goes off and they don’t go off on a regular schedule).
There are other activities on (and off) the ranch you can partake of as well – fly fishing (we’ve done both drift-boating on the Missouri and wading in streams), horseback riding, stargazing (the sky in Montana is ideal for it) and massages (either in your cabin or in a teepee). We’ve enjoyed them all.
For accommodations, there are two charming cabins which are nicely decorated and equipped with extremely comfortable beds. (Note, the bathrooms are a bit small but entirely functional). In the fall – even with snow on the ground - the cabins are very cozy - kept warm and toasty with a gas fireplace. The cabin porches are a great place to read, watch birds at the feeders or the bison wandering by. The food is very tasty, home-cooked American cuisine with an emphasis on organic and local products. Highlights were the naturally farm raised bison, eggs that were freshly laid by the chickens on the ranch (and taste entirely different from those you buy in a store), homemade yogurt and bread (the latter made from freshly ground wheat), freshly made pasta, salads made with lettuce freshly harvested from the garden, and delicious cinnamon sticky buns made in a Dutch oven that’s over 200 years old (these truly are “to die for”); personal pizzas cooked on the barbecue were also quite a treat, and cooking smores over an open fire at night brought back fun childhood memories. (You can even have lattes in the morning!). There is tent for meals that is quite comfortable and there is also a picnic table if you want to eat outside.
The Reserve is eco-friendly and off the main power grid; power on the Reserve comes from solar and wind generated energy. (If you have an interest in alternative energy, Craig and Pam are also a wealth of information on that topic as well). There aren't any power outlets in the cabins, but the cabins have plenty of lights that are solar powered and power chargers are provided so you can recharge your computer devices. (I ditch the hair dryer when I’m there, but if that’s a must have more you, talk with the hosts to understand what options are available).