By Adriene Henderson Photo Credits – Tom Rafalovich Three years ago I made the decision to pack up my life and move to a Jackson Hole Dude Ranch. It was the best decision I have ever made! I knew I would have fun, make new friends, and try new things during a summer adventure. However, what I didn’t know was that I would have the most amazing summer of my life, make lifelong best friends, learn countless new skills, and my summer adventure would quickly become a permanent lifestyle change.
After three summers—and one winter!—working on the ranch, I am sure of one thing, each summer will begin with a group of young people from all over the country who will quickly transition from strangers, into friends, and finally into a perfectly dysfunctional and incredibly loving family. Words can’t describe the types of relationships that I have developed on the ranch, and have sustained throughout the years. Each summer I have spent working on the ranch has been different, yet perfect in its own unique way. Sure, there have been similarities between the three, wonderful returning guests, our same beautiful herd of horses, and four months of hectic life full of fun, hard work and laughter. However, I have learned to embrace each season as its own, not comparing one to another. As I work on the ranch through this winter, and we begin to prepare for what will be my fourth summer, I am constantly reminded of the joy that this lifestyle has brought me.
It is difficult to describe my appreciation for the experiences that I have had living on the ranch. This is a life changing adventure that I would suggest every college student or post-grad consider. It is a wonderful way to learn about the western culture, meet people from all over the country and the world, make lasting friendships, and learn so much about yourself during the process. I can’t imagine my life without my Jackson Hole Dude Ranch!