My daughter and I recently participated in the six-day Thorofare tour (5-10 August 2013) with the Yellowstone Wilderness Outfitters. The trip was for my daughter’s 25 birthday. I communicated with the owner, Jett Hitt, seven months prior. Jett was very helpful in discussing the different tours and also gear requirements that were covered in the online guide. Jett’s honest and thorough input helped make the pack trip a wonderful experience. As the saying goes, “there are no bad camping trips—only bad camping gear. My advice about gear is do not over pack. The online Guide provides good information. Once you get to the trail head, the guides will ensure that your equipment is not over the weight limit.
Having participated in other trail rides over the last thirty years, I was quite surprised to see the quality horses and pack mules that Jett provided; they were in excellent condition and knew their jobs. I base this comment on having owned horses for the last fifteen years, and I am still an active trail rider.
Jett recommended that we stay at Robin’s Nest B&B in Cody, WY, which we did. We flew into Cody on a Saturday and Robin picked us up at the airport. There were nine total clients on our pack trip, and we all stayed with Robin in one of two B&B homes. Robin and her husband, Bob, dropped us at the rail head on Monday, and picked us up at a different rail head the following Saturday. What a great turn-key operation. I recommend getting to Cody at least two days prior to leaving for the trip. I went from an altitude of about 475 feet to five thousand at Cody. The extra day at Robin’s Nest gave us time to acclimate to the environment and prepare for the trip; it would have been rushed otherwise. I also shipped (UPS) two weeks prior the sleeping bags, mattresses, headlamps, water bottles, and other gear to Robin’s Nest—about 50 pounds. This early mailing worked out well and assured that our gear was available when we got there.
I cannot say enough about Jett’s assistant guide, Hannah, as well as the guide/cook, Ian. Both were top-notch, and it has been awhile since I’ve seen young people with such a dedicated work ethic. Hannah was highly experienced with the horses and mules—while Ian’s ability to set-up, cook, and break camp was impressive. Bottom-line, you will not find an outfitter that will feed you better than Jett Hitt’s crew: brisket, pork chops, rib-eye steaks, and much more. If you or someone in your family has special dietary needs, you need to provide the information early on in the paperwork that Jett provides when you first sign up.
Over the six days, we saw some beautiful country and some of the wildlife: elk, mule deer, two bears (one with an elk kill), yellow marmot, pelicans, an eagle, sandhill cranes and other birds. If you want to get back to nature and away from the cell phone calls and E-mail, this is the vacation for you.
As a vacation trip for my daughter and me, I’m sure that this will be a highlight for both of us. If you aren’t afraid of a few bugs, five-six hours in the saddle, or living in the wilderness for several nights; any of the trips offered by Yellowstone Wilderness Outfitters can be a great bonding experience. We were fortunate to be with some great, fun living people from CA, WI, IL, and New Jersey to VA. My daughter and I are already talking about the Gallatins or Waterfall trip in 2014. If you wish to unwind, make new friends, and witness first-hand the Yellowstone wilderness, this might be the vacation for you.
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