We are very fortunate to live in the beautiful Big Sky state of Montana. When we mention to people where we live, immediately people get this dreamy look in their eyes. You can see that they are picturing themselves riding a horse through Yellowstone National Park in the days of Lewis and Clark, coming over the top of a mountain to overlook a beautiful river valley below. After heading down into the valley, they give the horse a rest while they catch giant rainbow trout in the Gallatin River for lunch. Stuffed full of trout and wild morels, they soak up the Montana sunshine on the river bank and drift off to dreamland with the bubbling sounds of the river lulling them to sleep. I have to agree that sounds like a pretty perfect Montana day to me as well. If only everyday could be like that. So often we get caught up in our day-to-day lives, that we don’t get a chance to be a tourist in our own state. Then again, sometimes we do….
Even we have dreams of what it would be like to live in Montana when the West was still wild. We had some family visiting from California this summer, one of which had never been here before, so we wanted to have a Montana family adventure. We decided to do a wagon ride and cowboy cookout with Cache Creek Outfitters in Big Sky. It was about an hour drive from our home in Manhattan, MT, heading south towards Big Sky to get to the ranch. Upon arrival, we were met by Moe and her horses, Jack and Daniel. We knew this had to be a good night with Jack and Daniel at the helm 😉 All 15 of us climbed up into the wagon that would take us to the cabin where we would eat dinner. The ride up to the cabin was absolutely breathtaking. Of the 15 in our group, 7 of them were kids between the ages of 4 and 13. They all loved it, and it was a fun, family adventure for all of us. In the winter, you can also do this same ride with a horse-drawn sleigh instead of a wagon. I hope we get to do that someday as well.
Once we arrived at the dining cabin, we jumped out of the wagon and the kids were giddy to start exploring. They have a campfire set up to hang around and roast marshmallows, or make smores (graham crackers are not gluten free, but you could bring your own). My girls were perfectly happy with just roasting marshmallows. Inside, they have watermelon and artichoke dip with tortilla chips set up to munch on before dinner is served. They provide water and cowboy coffee, but if you want something more adult, it’s BYOB. We all brought up some wine and beer to share (not for the kids, of course). Just a heads up, don’t eat too much ahead of time because you are about to be served a feast, and I mean FEAST!
Kelly was our chef for the night, and she had prepared an amazing dinner for us all. Caesar salad to start (no croutons for us). We called ahead of time about our having Celiac’s so everything was prepared separate for me and my girls. After salad, we were served Prime Rib. Us Celiac girls had a separate prime rib made for us, which was incredible. My non-gluten-free family said their prime rib tasted like it may have had a hint of teriyaki, so I could see why theirs probably wasn’t gluten free. Our gluten-free prime rib was so amazing, melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness!!! Then they served up roasted vegetables, roasted potatoes, and corn on the cob family style (all gluten free). My plate was overflowing with deliciousness, when Kelly served up salmon. We all had to make room on our plates just to find a spot for it.
After dinner, they serve up a skillet cookie for dessert (not gluten free) None of us gluten-free girls were feeling left out about there not being a gluten free dessert because 1. We had just gorged ourselves on a gluttonous amount of incredible food, 2. The girls had also gorged themselves on marshmallows, and 3. There was also hot chocolate and whipped cream…..so who needs more dessert?
This was an awesome family adventure in our own back yard. The views were gorgeous, the food amazing, and getting to hang out with family under a Montana Big Sky….priceless. I highly recommend this Montana adventure for all my gluten free friends!!