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


Girls & Gundogs

It is no secret that dogs have been an integral part of the outdoor industry throughout all of history.  While hunting dogs are quite common, whether you are chasing bobwhite quail across the plains or lions in the mountain regions, bonds between women and their four-legged counterparts are a force to be reckoned with.

The Sisterhood of the Outdoors strives to introduce all women to a place in the outdoors that they can enjoy.  Whether that is hiking or hunting; foraging or fishing, all women can find their niche in the outdoor space and develop friendships with like-minded women who share their passions.  Here we focus on five women who have developed special bonds with their four-legged hunting partners.  These are their stories.

Kaitlin Bowen – New Jersey

Three years ago, after a couple’s duck hunt in Tennessee with the Sisterhood of the Outdoors, my husband and I drove five hours north to Illinois to pick up our very first hunting dog, Ollie. We drove 20 hours back home to New Jersey without any issues. Right away we had him fetching up birds and working on commands. Now he is making us proud with every hunt; last year he retrieved almost 300 ducks and geese and he got his first bands! Without him we would have never found one banded mallard he came running out of the brush with!

“Hunting over a dog is the best part of the entire hunting experience.”

– Kaitlin Bowen, Sisterhood of the Outdoors Pro Staff

Jaimie Robinson – Colorado

Jaimie RobinsonThis past fall, I got the opportunity to hunt with Browning, he is an English pointer.  For a dog, he is ancient, coming in somewhere between 14 and 16.  For the 3 years prior to meeting me, he had sat on the couch at home, living out his retirement.  Then we went public land, walk-in hunting in Colorado. I was hooked, he found 8 pheasants that first day and we learned that he is tone deaf.  Browning was trained as a puppy at Valhalla Hunt Club and Kennels and shortly after his owner did not want him anymore. This is a sad reality for many dogs that are not dominant. Lucky for Browning, he was adopted by someone who took him all the time and was able to showcase his amazing talent for many years, then there was less time for hunting.

Luckily for Browning, I live for the hunt as does he. He hunts my parks and back yard every day, just hoping to find something to chase. After that first hunt, Browning really became my hunting dog.

I started taking him out to a SWA once a week, just us, so that we could learn to communicate and perhaps I could figure out the upland hunting mystery. He knows when he gets in my car that it is hunting time and he is always ready to go. Browning knows his hearing limitations and other than once when he chased a pheasant very far, he turns an looks to me after he is about 100 yards away, he follows hand signals and he taught me how to tell him how to come. The best part of an English pointer is their long tail, even if he disappears in the tall grass, I can still see his big tail wagging. To keep up the skills I learned this season we have joined a pheasant club so that we can both practice and keep our skills sharp. I am always amazed by what this boy can do. I am blessed to be able to make him happy in his last hunting years.


Havely Holt – Wyoming

Havely Holt

As an adult onset hunter, I’m getting a late start at 42; but, there’s no better time than the present! I spent hours researching different breeds and believe I landed on the best kept secret in the world of hunting dogs: the Český Fousek. I decided on my little lady, Liberty, because she met every requirement I had for a gun dog. This versatile pup covers waterfowl, upland, small game, blood tracking and shed hunting. If she doesn’t age me during the puppy stage, she will certainly help keep me young with all the fun we will have together!

I am excited to have a friend in the field, but at only 12 weeks old, we are currently working on manners. She has learned the commands of off, woah and leave it. She is a pro at manding and is retrieving a puppy sized dummy in shallow water. Berty is easily distracted, as are most pups her age…but watching her nose to the ground intensity during our adventures, and the way she methodically glances back at me, I know she is going to be so much fun. I can already envision her little white tail flashing through the tall grass on a golden Wyoming afternoon. She stops to survey the terrain ahead and makes a game plan on how she wants to hunt the field. She looks back at me with those eyes that seem to say, “it’s go time!” And with that, she’s off. Yep, little Berty and I are going to make a great team…. just wait and see. (see Havely’s full story here)


Katie Olszewski

Katie OlszewskiMy passion for upland bird hunting started 8 years ago with my bird dog Belle. My husband and I had just bought our first house, and as the saying goes “every house needs a dog” (or five). I got lucky one night and hit the jackpot on pull tabs. The very next day I put my deposit down on my very own gun dog. Being newer to bird hunting, and having a English Pointer puppy, you could say we definitely learned from, and trained eachother, along with the help from a great trainer and amazing friends. We quickly became a great team out in the field, and on the couch too! It is safe to say I won more than the jackpot when I brought Belle home. There is no greater bond than a girl and her gun dog.

Lindsey Bodamer – Kansas

Lindsey BodamerI grew up in a family of outdoorsmen who primarily hunted whitetail deer and turkey.  When I met my husband, my eyes were opened to the world of hunting with dogs and I’ll never not have one!

Together we own and operate Bradley Retrievers, a competitive retriever and gundog training facility in the Kansas City area.  We have five dogs (who all hunt) of our own and have anywhere from 6-14 dogs in for the training season.  Life without dogs just doesn’t exist for us!

I have two particularly fond memories hunting with dogs:

The first is from a waterfowl hunt a few years back over New Years.  It was a family hunt with my father, brothers and some brother-like friends.  This was a no-frills hunt; propped up against trees next to a pond with two dogs who also happened to be full brothers.  The hunting wasn’t great, but getting spend a beautiful, crisp, Kansas morning with family, friends and dogs was priceless!

The second memory was from my 30th birthday.  We took a long road trip through six states and saw so many amazing locations.  For my actual birthday, we spend the morning in a marshy pond in Northwestern Montana.  Ducks were few, but the scenery and wildlife more than made up for it.  That afternoon, we traded our waders for boots and chaps, and headed out to hunt for Hungarian Partridge.  As any wild bird hunter knows, hunts rarely consist of a short walk and limits.  This hunt was no different in that aspect, but it was different in that I shot my first hun! It was a beautiful sight as our old shorthair pointed, our young shorthair honored and our lab moseyed in for the flush – PICTURE PERFECT. Bird was down and retrieved, and I was beyond content with our small bounty and some awesome dog work.

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