Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Frozen Meat

People staring at Elk
In my quest to find adventure in Cache Valley I visited Hardware Ranch. Don't let the name fool you, it has nothing to do with hammers or nails, it's a place where elk gather (on their own free will) to eat and hunker down for the winter. The only price they have to pay for this wonderful social experience of theirs is pierced ears (research tags) and people staring at them.
Elk, not the prettiest animal out there
The pamphlets said that it was fifteen minutes out of Logan, WRONG, it took me close to 45 minutes to get up the canyon. The road is so twisty (not for the car sick, "but mom our car is not sick") and long. You drive all the way up to the end of HWY 101 and run into Hardware Ranch. You drive up to the visitors center to buy your ticket, then drive back down to get in line. Fortunately we went on a Monday so there was not a line and we stayed in our car until the teamster got back from his previous trip. The trips last 5 minutes or so, unless there are ton of questions which there weren't since there was only us and another family on the sled. Basically you ride a horse drawn sled between the elk feed line, the teamster stops every once in a while and waits for questions or volunteers information. Then he heads back and the ride is over, get out its time for the next folks.
No matter what, camera = smile
I guess its fair to say that I wasn't disappointed in the experience because I had no expectations. I talked to some "locals" who had heard about it but haven't been or have been a long long time ago. So honestly I didn't know what to expect. I thought I had prepared for the cold, my kids were in their full snow clothes as was I sans the snow pants.  I was wrong it wasn't enough, it was so very cold and the wind chilled us to the bone! Immediately! Bring a very thick, very warm blanket if you ever choose to go. I was happy the ride didn't last too long, but at the same time felt it should have been longer, I did pay for the ride.

Small children, on the other hand, loved it. These small children keep talking about how much they loved looking at the "ugly animals," that they got to ride in a sleigh, and visit the "senior center visitors center." This is a great experience for kids, so be extra prepared so it can be fun for the grown ups.

Cold and Happy at Hardware Ranch
Its a very cold experience because it only happens in the winter, duh.  In all honesty I will not be doing this again anytime soon, it closes Feb 28. But still the drive there was long, the drive back was scary. The elk are not pretty and they smell. The cold and I do not get a long, you might say I will never be best friends with cold. However, if my boys decide they want to do it again next year, I think we will go, but I will be better prepared with a thick blanket and hand warmers everywhere! Make sure to check out my youtube page... zlachica

Finish this sentence... "I'm going to Hardware Ranch and I'm going to bring..."


ZlaChica said...


this is footage of the ride

beckyc said...

I am going to Hardware Ranch and I am bringing a...pair of nose plugs for the smell, an electric thermal blanket that plugs into a "currant" bush to stay warm, and my grand kids so I can enjoy the ugly animals with them sitting on my lap so I can stay warmer...

Chris and Kim said...

Wow, you saw more animals in that five minutes than I saw in all of Yellow Stone. I'm going with you next year. Oh wait, I don't like the cold either.

I am going to Hardware Rance and I am bringing a... bow and arrow

kmfm said...

Sorry we did not make the journey with you. Bummer the ride is only 5 minutes! That should be written somewhere. So, they do not provide blankets? hummm...I wonder where I heard that they did?!? Thanks for the post on Hardware ranch...I will remember handwarmers and 1/2 our beds if venture out there! p.s. we missed you Friday AM...hope your parents are excited about their journey.

Leslie said...

Good for you for braving the weather and doing it! I am impressed. Maybe next year, I'll join you!