By: Bears Butt
Yesterday was the opening day for the sleigh rides out among the elk at the Hardware Ranch. The weather wasn’t cooperating this year and so there was no snow and consequentially no elk. There were some elk, but they were up and away from the meadow where the guys feed them and it made for some pretty tough viewing. The sleigh drivers tried to get as close as they could but it was still a long way off to view them. But what the heck! We don’t need no stinking elk to have fun.
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources had a full array of fun things for people to do and I made the most of it. I regret I couldn’t get over to the outside building to see what was going on in there. I heard they had the stream wildlife exhibit and hands on activities over there as well as making your own ornaments out of browse and your choice of “poop”. Of course since you were calling the shots, you could elect not to put poop in your ornament. What a fun thing! And even though I didn’t get over to see you guys, THANKS A LOT for being there for all of us. Back in the visitor center where they tucked us away, we were having a great time right from the get-go!
The Willow Creek Free Trappers that were there included, Wapiti Dung (Mountain man extraordinaire), Edjukateer, Winemaker, Tracker, Bones, Weasel, Hot Spark, Squirrel, Kenzie and myself. We had our normal amount of stuff out for people to see, touch and ask questions about and by the end of the day our orderly arrangement of furs and gear looked like a pile of stuff. That’s OK, it means everyone was having a great time feeling the different furs and handling the things we had on display from the mountain man era. I have to say, I got the biggest kick out of having people feel the textures of the different animals fur, and when we got to the bobcat, I would have them feel the back of it first. Everyone thought that was the coolest and softest of the furs. Then I would turn it over and have them feel the belly side….EVERY ONE of them, including the guys, would say out loud…”WOW, I like that! That is SOOO Soft”! The kids eyes would get really big too and more often than not would look up to their parents with a big grin.
This was our 11th year of being in attendance at this event and from the looks of things it won’t be our last invitation. I think we need to get some more pelts….Mink, Weasel, Bear, Ring Tail Cat….How about an Armadillo? Maybe not soft enough.
Well, I did manage to walk around the inside of the visitor center and get a few pictures of some of the things going on, and I want to share them with you right now.
This is just a part of the crowd that came to see what we had to show off. There were times when the crowd was so big people were having a heck of a time getting around. Here you can see Wapiti and Edjukateer explaining different things to parts of the crowd.
There was a photographer with the Ogden Standard Examiner there taking pictures to go with the article he was to write for the paper. This lady is holding up a knife made out of obsidian and attached to a deer leg bone for a handle. It was a very popular item for people to pick up and feel.
Weasel and McKenzie were very good at explaining the different furs as well and made everyone feel very welcome. And after they had the chance to see all the things we had, they got to put on mountain man coats and hats and get their pictures taken. Here is Bones gathering up stuff for people to put on for their pictures.
When I left our area to visit the other things going on it was very obvious everyone was having a fun time.
The only person in attendance who couldn’t leave her assigned post was this lady…she was in charge of the cash register and she handed out tickets for the sleigh rides. A very dedicated person indeed. I couldn’t even talk her into leaving just long enough to get a picture in some mountain man attire. She kept saying how rough her boss was.
I don’t know where these ideas come from, but the DWR folks have made some castings of fish and they allow the kids (mostly, but if an adult wants to play they could too) to paint over the casting with whatever colors and designs they want and then they press a piece of clean white paper over the paint. When they feel they have it sufficiently pressed all over the fish casting, they carefully peel it up and reveal their own fish picture. A great idea and a wonderful memory for the kids to take home and hang on their wall. This young lady was gracious enough to allow me to take pictures of her while she made her fish picture.
Carefully peeling up the paper.
Now how about that for a pretty picture!?! Great job! Thanks for letting me a part of it!
Another of my favorites was the “make your own beaver rock”! We all know that “Beavers Rock”!
So, you have a large selection of rocks to choose from, I saw 3 buckets of rocks to pick through. I made one for myself and I know that Winemaker made herself one as well and when I got over to this booth, I found Tracker in the process of making himself one.
Again….Where do these cute ideas come from? I hope if you are reading this and have kids or grandkids around, you need to bring them up to the Hardware Ranch to enjoy some of this fun stuff. It’s all free except for the ride out among the elk and remember, a picture of you and your kids just might end up being your next years Christmas Card!
Now, as I promised everyone who came up but forgot their camera, we took pictures of you with my camera and I promised to post them on here. I don’t know your names, but you are more than welcome to copy the pictures and put them on your own computer. I have to tell you now that I had to make them smaller to put them on here and so if you need a fuller resolution picture for your own, just let me know through a comment under this story, or find me on Facebook and give me a personal message. I can send you a full resolution picture that would be better for “blowing up” (enlarging). Thank you all for coming up to the ranch and playing! It was a fun time.
In order for you to easily tell me which picture you want I have numbered them sequentially under the picture.
I said earlier that we have been coming to this event for 11 years and we look forward to it every year and do you know why? Well, first off it is because of “everyone” from the DWR down to the smallest visitor in a stroller, but this picture says it all to me:
Is there anyone having more fun than this guy? Only me!
#1 (What a cutie!)
#29 (With the Mountain Men)
And we couldn’t have a proper set of pictures without the Assistant Ranch Manager and her family with the Mountain men as well!
Thank you all! We had a very fun time! Merry Christmas to all of you!
December 14, 2014