What We Found


Photographs by Alexis Greene Photography

So, it rained.

It rained, and it rained, and it rained.

It rained for forty days and forty nights….

Alright, not really, but that is definitely how our trip seemed to be going when we saddled up and took off up the trail in a remote part of Bridger-Teton National Forest.

Eight ladies, from all regions of the United States, all walks of life, and of all ages gathered together in Cody, Wyoming.  We were taking part in the annual Sisterhood of the Outdoors Summer Pack Trip – a sold-out experience with Boulder Basin Outfitters in the remote Wyoming wilderness.  We drove the scenic route from Cody through Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, where we finally met up with our guides just east of Moran Junction. After watching the grueling process of getting all 21 of our horses and mules saddled and packed, we were ready.  The sun was out, we had a great lunch, we were pumped.

Off we went, 10 riding horses and 11 pack horses and mules.  Let’s face it, we’re women, even in the remote wilderness we seemed to have a ton of stuff. Two of our guides led strings of pack animals, woven together with piggin’ strings that would break loose should one of the horses or mules fall.  We were quite the train headed up the hill to our first true mountain riding experience.  All was good – we were comfortable, laughing and chatting along the way.  When Alexis said, “get your cameras ready,” my heart jumped.  That could mean two things: a breathtaking view OR a crazy cliff.  It was the latter.  After cresting the first true incline on the trail, we were faced with a very narrow trail on the edge of an incredibly steep, scree-covered drop. We’re talking a 1,500+ ft drop.  Shocked and now full of adrenaline, I knew that trusting our horses was the only option.  I have been around horses enough to know that they don’t want to fall off that ledge any more than we do, so I readjusted in my saddle and followed the horse in front of me.  It. Was. Terrifying. But, in a matter of seconds, which seemed like hours, we were across. And off on the rest of our trek…. now in a communal silence.

After the death-defying cliff crossing, I thought we would surely get right back to the chipper vibe we left with.  And then it started to rain.  Not just a light rain.  A heavy, constant, cold rain that blurred your ability to see ahead and soaked the trail in thick, dark mud.  All was good – we could deal with some rain.  We brought rain gear but getting it out of our packs and saddlebags was a bit of a maneuver, especially on the narrow trails.  No big deal, right?  Wrong. After riding in the rain for an hour, I was finally able to get my raincoat out of my saddle bag and wrapped around me and my backpack.  My jeans were so soaked that putting on rain pants wasn’t worth it at that point. But all was good, we were still on our way.

It rained on us for three solid hours.  While there was minimal lightning, the rain was constant, soaking into our gear, saddles, clothes, and boots.  Even with rain gear on, we were completely drenched all the way through our layers.  On top of the rain, the temperature was also dropping, leaving us with frozen hands and toes that barely functioned to give our horses any direction as they climbed up the rock and mud-covered pathway, slipping and sliding along the way. When we finally settled into a valley and saw tents in the distance, I think we all could have cried tears of joy!

CampfireWe finally arrived at camp.  It seemed like we had taken on an entire adventure just getting there. And once we slid off our horses, frozen and soaked, we also realized that camp was equally wet.  Our tents, while waterproof, had allowed water to seep in around the flaps, leaving it standing on the floor.  The fly was set up and ready to go, but nearly every inch under it was a sloppy mess.  Our guides were quick to get a fire going and we unloaded all our gear as quickly as possible. We huddled around the fire and barely moved or spoke, taking in the warmth and allowing our bodies to thaw. After changing into semi-dry clothes and warming our bellies with hearty chili, it was time to put the day to rest.  And by rest, I mean a bone-chilling, shivering night curled up in a ball on a cot with frozen toes.  What had we gotten ourselves into?

Morning, however, was a different story.  While it rained all night long, we were awakened to the soft ringing of bells, as our horses, who were turned out overnight, slowly moved throughout the valley, grazing as they pleased.  It was a much-welcome clear day with sun warming our faces and coffee warming our bodies.  The fire was going once again, and the smell of bacon wafted through the air.  We enjoyed our breakfast, drank campfire coffee, and chatted away. Nap on RiverOnce we had unfolded from our frigid night, we enjoyed the sunshine and set up our Orvis poles to fly fish that afternoon. I was oh-so-sore – a recent back injury, combined with an awkward riding position and a night of tossing and turning in the cold had me in rough shape.  Fortunately, it was nothing that a nature, sunshine, and a good nap couldn’t fix!

We fished the afternoon away along the north fork of the Buffalo River; everyone was in much better spirits.  There’s just something about being along the water, basking in the sunshine, with mountains surrounding you that helps everything fall away. I napped along the riverbank, stretching out in the sun, and getting some much-needed relief from the aches and pains.  Ladies were sprinkled about the river, casting, and reeling, with line arcing against the blue sky, the sound soothing to the soul.

EttaOur guides were a dynamic trio of authentic cowboys and a fascinating cowgirl of so many talents from Kodiak, Alaska.  They were the epitome of hospitality, tending to all our needs, providing exceptional food, fishing, and camaraderie. Most interesting, was the young woman, named Etta, who was somewhat of a vagabond from Alaska by way of Oklahoma and North Dakota.  From cooking to climbing, wrangling to singing, she was the true “Jane of All Trades”.  It was so much fun getting to know her and her dog, “Dog”, hearing their stories and watching their bond.  While she led a life that was so different from ours, we were still all women, all searching for peace, all sharing the same fireside fellowship.

It was all up from there – each night we enjoyed warm meals by the fire, sweet Tang (which I had no idea was even made anymore), laughter and sisterhood – exactly what we had come for.  The slow pace of the following day was much like the previous – breakfast and lunch, followed by a long afternoon spent on the water.  Wading in the cold, smooth water, was both refreshing and soothing. Not many fish were caught – one giant CutBow (Rainbow, Cutthroat hybrid) was snagged by Alexis, which quite the prize. While we were there to fish, we were there more to escape.  To take in all the nature had to offer away from the bustle – no cell phones, no internet, no amenities.  It was beautiful.Alexis

Before we knew it, it was time to pack up.  I’ll admit, I was eager to see my family, but I was also in no hurry to leave the peace and serenity that this mountain valley had to offer.  After watching the amazing game of Tetris that our wonderful guides played to get all of camp packed and loaded, we set out again.  This time headed back to all that we had left.

The ride out was much better than the ride in.  The warm sun guided our way, with everyone in much better spirits.  We reflected on our time together, time making new friends, time spent in the great outdoors, and the sisterhood that we had found.  All because of the Sisterhood of the Outdoors.  All because we dared to step out of our comfort zone, to join a group of ladies we didn’t know, in a new place, to do something hard.  Together. And for that, I am so thankful, so grateful, and so blessed.




RobinSandra MelindaJessica


Bowhunting: 8 Tips for Success

Bowhunting is one on the most rewarding methods of hunting. It’s personal and connected to nature to get your food. What is more satisfying than the experience of the personal perseverance and patients that comes with a kill via bow?

I started my archery career early in life and then on to bowhunting as a teen. Now it’s something I will stick with until my body physically can’t anymore. It’s something I take very seriously and love sharing my knowledge to the people in the outdoor world. Here is a list tips that have helped me along in my 20 years of archery. Just tips from another person might influence or help you see archery from another point of view.

1. Be Kind to Yourself

First and foremost, it takes time to learn something new or to build up skills of archery. It is nearly ALL MENTAL. Be supportive of yourself even in bad shots. My dad would always say, “One arrow at a time, sis.” That is a phrase that has stuck with me my whole life, so much so that I have it tattooed on my body. If the first arrow was bad, be kind and make the second count. While in bowhunting that isn’t always the solution but be kind to yourself while practicing so you can gain the confidence bowhunting and drawing back on an animal.

2. You Can’t Purchase Precision

Like a firearm you can mostly upgrade and buy some accuracy. When it comes to bowhunting, someone with a $500 set up can contend or be better than someone with a set up that was thousands of dollars. It’s more about skill set and practicing than it is your equipment.

3. Fit Your Equipment

Make sure you are fitting your bow. I know it is easy to get a bow hand me down, but fitting your equipment is key. Especially your release, a shorter release helps with trigger punching. A wrist release should be a snug length and no extra length to slap the trigger. It should be a smooth steady machine by the time of being a seasoned bow hunter. Having a trusted pro shop help you fit all your equipment is worth the time.

4. Consistency

Making sure your shots are all even, and by that, I mean insuring you are a well-oiled machine every shot. Push, pull and anchor. That is something I think before every shot I put through my bow. Having the same anchor point each shot is something I cannot stress enough. Anchoring and remembering the contact points to make sure you consistently find the same anchor point.

5. Grip

The placement of your hand is key in consistent shots. It should be a relaxed, floating grip. Gripping the bow too tight allows for too much control. Even the slightest grip being off can allow for error in shots. If you think about it the only direct contact with your bow is your grip. Your bow will not go anywhere there is no sense in having a death drip on the bow. It should be effortless and almost float in your hand.

6. Follow Through

Following through after each arrow is a main component. DO NOT DROP YOUR ARM. After each shot, I stand tall and keep everything in place after knowing the arrow has made connection with the target or animal that it was intended for.

7. Speed

Something I have noticed that has changed my bowhunting game has been the speed of my bow. Growing older and lifting in the gym and gaining muscle I have been fortunate enough to have my bow cranked for the highest poundage it can go. This has made me shoot flatter and more accurate. Hitting the gym or doing exercises that build back muscles can help your bowhunting experience. I have shot for many years and it has helped my confidence in my archery game. But just know you don’t have to do all that to bow hunt. The legal draw weight is perfectly acceptable.

8. Go Long & Dark

One of the best things I have found that have helped me whether the archery range or tree stand would be practicing at a further distance. I shoot 50 and 40 yards constantly. This makes the 20- and 30-yard shots seem like cake. Again, it’s all about where you are in your bowhunting journey but pushing yourself with these tips can be beneficial to your overall experience. Also, when prepping for hunting season sometimes it is beneficial to be outside practicing at legal shoot light, it isn’t always perfectly bright out when that monster buck steps out in front of you. Prepping for all aspects of the hunt and visualizing all scenarios will help you mentally.

Archery is something that has always been near and dear to my heart. I could go on forever in talking about archery and bowhunting. But something to remember is that it is a mental game and you are the one using that weapon method, it’s relying on your body and brain to do all the movements to secure that animal you are after. Whether you are at an archery tournament or in a tree stand with your bow, treat it with the same mentality of being that well-oiled machine. Your brain is what powers the bow essentially and if you have spent so much time and money prepping your bowhunting journey, do not forget to make sure you are tuned in mentally for each shot. Practicing year round and not just two weeks before season will totally change your confidence in bowhunting.

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