"Welcome" to Jardine

Gardiner Travel Blog

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Our horseback itinerary

Half an hour or so later we were back up at the car. We decided to back north to the Canyon Village and get something to eat. We decided on ice cream and a short break. Afterwards we decided that even though there were still things to see in the park, we would forgo them for a horseback ride in the Montana hills. The girls were thrilled with that idea. We were in the northern middle of the park and it took about an hour to get back to the hotel. We immediately went over to the stables to inquire about a ride. I turned out that they could accommodate us almost immediately.

 

We had not planned for a horseback ride, so all of us were in shorts and tennis shoes.

"Welcome" to Jardine
Not exactly riding apparel, but the folks at Rendezvous were used to tourists. Jessi was too little to handle a horse by herself, so our guide picked out a seasoned animal, and would lead him behind his mount. The rest of us would follow behind. My horse was called Big Red, and he was a large animal. Margo and the girls all got smaller horses. None of them were aggressive or emotional. Our guide saddled the animals and gave us the safety rules. Soon we were on our way.

 

We would taking a trail that would take us past through the ghost town of Jardine and past the Jardine cemetery. The ride would last about an hour. We had a great time, and it ranked as one of the highpoints of our trip. The trail took us into the hills around Gardiner, and crossed a rocky stream. For serious horsemen a little stream does not even warrant a mention. For three tourists, the eldest of which had not ridden in well over a decade, it was cause for some apprehension. But, our guide had given us the secret. “If the horse starts to slow when you cross, kick him. He’ll go.” Brain surgery. None us had any trouble crossing. Of course the horse did all the work. Mine did stumble just a bit on one of the many rocks.

 

A ghost town in the mountains is different than the old west plains ghost towns of TV. Not dusty roads, with vacant, facade buildings. Our ghost town had just a few structures all heavily overgrown with brush, shrubs, and trees. There wasn’t a lot to see from the back of horse. But, the scenery was still beautiful. Perhaps the strangest part of the ride was our trip past the cemetery. There were many headstones visible, but the most prominent, and close to the trail was that of George Welcome. It was a little eerie to seemingly be invited into the cemetery/town by a headstone with large block letters spelling “Welcome”.

 

The ride back was the reverse of what we had just done. But as we were all now old hands it was more relaxing. I found my self looking more at Margo and the girls. I was in the rear of our group so I didn’t have to look back to accomplish this. One of my most vivid memories of this ride was looking to the front, as our guide led Jessi and her mount. Jessi was enjoying her ride immensely looking around, and holding on the saddle horn. Occasionally she would decide that the trip needed a little spark. So, as she had seen on TV she would kick and try to spur her mount to greater speed. But, as he was the real veteran and was being lead, he completely ignored her commands and just plodded along behind. Still if was amusing to watch her “giving him the spurs” and trying to go faster.

 

Our trip ended much quicker than we wanted, and soon we were back in Gardiner. We thanked our guide and headed back to the hotel. We were all hungry by now. We had dinner at Cecil’s Restaurant, not far from the hotel. They also had a nice gift shop so we got in a little souvenir shopping as well. Another trip to the pool for my girls and it was time to call it day. Tomorrow we would be heading home.

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Our horseback itinerary
Our horseback itinerary
Welcome to Jardine
"Welcome" to Jardine
Gardiner
photo by: daveruz90