Top 10 Summer Adventures at The Resort at Paws Up

Summer is the chance to go barefoot, enjoy tasty barbecued ribs, ride go-karts, relax around bonfires and catch fireflies. Summer is about slowing down—and speeding up, getting people together and finding your own space and time. If you’ve been fortunate enough to visit Paws Up during our high season, you already know about our tried-and-true thrills and pastimes. Below is summer’s new bucket list—our Top 10 Paws Up Adventures for 2018.

1. GO JUMP IN A LAKE.

Be among the very first to enjoy Paws Up Island Lodge at  Salmon Lake. Take a sunset pontoon boat tour, water-ski the day away or just visit for the spectacular view.

2. CAST AWAY THE DAY.

For anyone who loves (or is angling to try) fly-fishing, this part of Montana is heaven on earth, with legendary rivers like the Blackfoot, Bitterroot, Clearwater and Missouri right at hand.

3. GO FOR A RUGGED RIDE.

Kick up some dust on an ATV tour and see the ranch’s 37,000 acres from a heart-thumping perspective.

4. TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT.

No birds are harmed, but your heart will swell after taking a turn on our challenging 10-station sporting clays course.

5. FIND YOUR OWN WAY.

Ride when you want, how you want with a private horseback excursion, tailored for riders of all ages and levels.

6. CHANNEL YOUR INNER ANNIE OAKLEY.

Relive the Wild West at our .22 rifle range where guests ages 6 and up take aim at reactive targets.

7. FIGURE OUT WHAT FLOATS YOUR BOAT.

Enjoy a gentle rafting trip or rev things up with Class I and II whitewater rapids. For something truly wild, take a day trip to Alberton Gorge’s Class III rapids, coupled with thrilling cliff jumping.

8. DRIVE AROUND OUR RANCH.

If you want to feel like a real cowboy or cowgirl, head out for a Paws Up cattle drive. You’ll be riding and rounding up Corriente cows like a pro in no time.

9. CLIMB TO NEW HEIGHTS.

Come play in our Sky Line Aerial Adventure Park, with two courses designed to test your will and your skill.

10. GEAR UP FOR A GHOST TOUR.

Wander through the most intact ghost town in Montana, then bike back the 14.5 miles to The Resort (downhill, of course!).

Five Epic Winter Adventures at Paws Up

The Resort at Paws Up offers over a hundred miles of wilderness trails for a diversity of unique Montana winter vacation excursions. For those who yearn to explore the great outdoors of Big Sky Country this winter, check out five of our best Paws Up Winter Adventures.

1. SLEIGH RIDES—MAKE EVERY DAY A HOLIDAY

“Dashing through the snow, in a two-horse open sleigh.” Glide

across the snow with your family as you dream joyful holiday

dreams. All while listening to riveting stories of local lore well

told by your Paws Up sleigh driver. (45 magical minutes)

2. DOGSLEDDING—PAW-POWERED FAMILY FUN

This iconic Montana winter activity shows up on numerous

bucket lists. Guests marvel at the excitement and power of these

dogs. One musher, 10–12 dogs, infinite amounts of family fun.

(Roughly one hour for a three- to four-mile course. Also this year: check out our 10-mile course.)

2. SNOWMOBILE TOURS—VROOM WITH A VIEW

Ladies and gentlemen, start your winter engines. There’s

nothing like full-throttle runs over beautifully groomed trails

to get the ol’ blood really pumping. Stunning scenery abounds.

(1.5-hour tours. One option: a longer off-property tour to Garnet Ghost Town—ghosts not included.)

4. FIVE-STAND SHOOTING—CLAY PIGEONS BEWARE!

Get your shooting fix with our twist on trapshooting: fivestand.

The stations present different flights for our sporting clays.

(Guests shoot from a covered position. Heaters provided, naturally.

Approximately 2 hours.)

5. TRAIL RIDES—THE CRUNCH OF SNOW BENEATH YOUR…HOOVES

Experience the eerily quiet Paws Up winter landscape from a

perspective unlike any other: from the back of a horse.

This equestrian excursion takes you through snow-covered trees

and past ever-changing scenery. (60 mystical minutes)

Have You Heard of Cow Croquet?

If you’re coming to visit Paws Up this winter, we have a new winter challenge. Show your mastery of wrangling cattle by taking part in our new equestrian adventure, Cow Croquet. You and three of your cowboy/cowgirl friends will mount horses in the Saddle Club’s indoor arena and try to guide cows through one of five gates—just as if you were knocking croquet balls through metal hoops in the back yard. You will compete against another team of four players, and each team takes turns to try to “push” the cows through the selected gate. The leader/referee of the match yells out the selected gate (1–5) at the beginning of each round, and each team is timed on how long it takes to get the cows through the gate. The team with the best results and times wins! The idea to offer this new activity came from The Resort’s own Equestrian Manager Jackie Kecskes. We sat down with Kecskes to find out more about this creative idea and to get her thoughts on wintertime at Paws Up.

HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA

FOR COW CROQUET?

I bought a border collie last October and was watching a lot of training videos online. I knew if he’s going to live on a ranch he should be handy. I kept coming across videos of sheepdog trials (where the border collie must herd sheep through a series of gates, independent of the human, who is a long distance away whistling directional commands). This got me thinking. We already offer team penning during wintertime, but we were still lacking the cattle drive element that people love so much in the summer—the act of moving a large group of cows as a unit. I set up some gates in the arena, substituted cows for sheep and people on horseback for a border collie, and that is how cow croquet was born.

HOW LONG IS THIS ACTIVITY?

It takes two hours from start to finish.

WILL THIS ACTIVITY ONLY BE OFFERED IN THE WINTER MONTHS?

Yes. It is a winter exclusive!

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT WINTERTIME AT PAWS UP?

The atmosphere—everything seems to get very quiet,

despite all the hustle and bustle of our guests doing activities

and enjoying the snow. There’s something about the ranch

getting blanketed in fresh snow that makes it magical.

WHAT OTHER EQUESTRIAN ACTIVITIES DO YOU OFFER IN THE WINTER?

What don’t we offer would be the better question; with the

addition of skijoring last winter we now offer everything

from trail rides to indoor team penning and Cow Croquet

to picturesque sleigh rides through the homes.

Wilderness Workshops This Summer at The Resort at Paws Up

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Most vacations, most folks just sit back and relax. But at Paws Up, we have a different attitude. We think, why not create spectacular music, learn to take magnificent photographs or find out what it takes to survive in the wild? Self-improvement? Yes. Boring? Never. With workshops taught by world-renowned experts, your instructor could be a celebrated artist like George Van Hook, a national champion horsewoman like Barbra Schulte or a tough-as-nails mountain man like Gary Steele. From art to music to equestrian activities, outdoor adventures and everything in between, Wilderness Workshops at Paws Up will inspire, educate and fascinate you and your kids all summer long. Pick your passion and take time to explore it—while surrounded by the scenery and nestled in the comforts of The Resort at Paws Up.

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Gettin’ Primitive: June 20-23, July 23-29, August 3-9, 2017

Learn about the old ways from an honest-to-goodness mountain man—Paws Up’s resident outdoorsman Gary Steele. For four days at his self-built camp, you and your kids will get hands-on instruction in primitive skills like edible plant identification, fire making, knot tying, longbow archery, music making, orienteering, shelter building, storytelling, tomahawk throwing, tracking and woodsmanship.

Designed for families to come together in an environment that fosters confidence, curiosity, enthusiasm, responsibility and self-esteem, the Gettin’ Primitive workshop is sure to ignite your kids’ imagination. And be on the lookout for our resident mountain man at the Kids Corps of Discovery, around the luxury camps and on chuck wagon rides.

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Drum Circle Madness: July 2-8, August 15-21, 2017

If a drum circle happens in our forest, you should make sure you’re around to hear it. We’re pleased to welcome Scott Besaw back to Paws Up for his annual event that turns even the most rhythmically challenged into stellar little drummer boys (or girls, or adults). Besaw hails from Chicago’s world-famous Old Town School of Folk Music and brings with him an infectious passion for all things music. It’s a hands-on (literally, no sticks required) course that teaches basic music principles as well as team building. Come learn how to truly march to the beat of your own drum.

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Photography with Stuart Thurlkill

Sunset Photography: July 3, July 19 and August 1, 2017

Nature Walk Photography: July 8 and August 18, 2017

Picture this: the sun is making its final breathtaking appearance across the Montana landscape and, this time, you’ll have the skills to capture it with justice. This summer, let Paws Up Resort Photographer Stuart Thurlkill lead you on a wilderness walk as you learn how to capture that perfect photo. It’s a chance for you and your kids to gain a better understanding of light, composition and color, as well as a deeper appreciation for nature. You’ll see the world through a different lens, and head home with a collection of photographs to cherish your time in Big Sky Country.

 

painting wilderness workshops at the resort at paws up

Brushes With Greatness: July 10-17, 2017

Renowned American painter George Van Hook honed his artistic skill the old-fashioned way. As a young man, he visited the Louvre and traveled through France, Italy and Holland to study and be inspired by the masters. Now, for more than 35 years, this award-winning artist has painted and exhibited on three continents. He has also helped beginner and experienced painters alike improve their techniques and discover new talents. Van Hook will conduct this “plein air” watercolor workshop in a variety of eye-popping settings throughout The Resort. Go ahead, learn from a true pro and take in the unforgettable surroundings at the same time.

Summer art classes at the resort at paws up

Block Printing and Mosaics: July 17-21, 2017

Channel your inner artist at this Paws Up Wilderness Workshop with Artist in Residency Jill Schulman as she teaches adults and children the art of block carving and printing, as well as mosaic making. Schulman is a renowned sculptor and ceramic artist who is passionate about teaching her craft to others. No previous experience is required to take part in the workshop—just a willingness to think outside the “block.”

Paint and Pour at the resort at paws up

Paint ‘N’ Pour: July 22, 2017

There’s nothing like a little wine to wake up your inner Picasso, Renoir or Van Gogh. So allow us to pour you a glass while the talented Linds Sanders instructs you on the finer points of painting in a hands-on art session designed for all skill levels. Sanders will join guests at Paws Up throughout the summer as part of the popular Paint ’n’ Pour Wilderness Workshop. With step-by-step guidance in a fun and friendly atmosphere, you’ll be creating your own personal masterpiece in no time. All you have to do is show up with an open mind—the canvases, paint, wine and laughter are all provided.

starry night photography at the resort at paws up

Starry Night Photography: August 11-14, 2017

Get to know acclaimed ranch-life photographer and Cowgirl Hall of Fame honoree Barbara Van Cleve while taking part in a unique and captivating photography workshop. Known for her spectacular nighttime imagery, Van Cleve will instruct workshop participants on how to capture vivid, dreamy photographs under a starry, moonlit sky. With more than 50 solo photography exhibits to her name and a lifetime of experience in the West and on ranches, she’ll show you new ways of visualizing, conceptualizing and capturing the images you want to share with the world. You might also run into her on a trail ride or around a campfire.

champion horsemanship at the resort at paws up

Champion Horsemanship: August 11-14, 2017

Take your horsemanship skills up a notch with instruction from the real deal, National Cowgirl Hall of Fame honoree Barbara Schulte. With an emphasis on mental toughness, she’s helped elite riders all over the country reach their full potential. Here, with her guidance, you’ll focus on control as you wind through obstacle courses along scenic trails, and you’ll practice your aim on horseback with water-gun mounted shooting. Class sizes are small, and you’ll have ample opportunity to get to know this horse-riding legend. It’s a fun and exciting way to learn just what it takes to be an authentic champion cowboy or cowgirl.

Reach for the Sky This Summer at Paws Up

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It may seem peaceful when you arrive at The Resort at Paws Up this summer, but we’ve been hard at work bringing four exhilarating new activities to life. With last year’s introduction of the Sky Line Aerial Adventure Park, guests climbed, swung and maneuvered their way among the ropes and platforms. New this year is the Challenge Course, with elements that are more difficult and higher off the ground, plus a quick drop that’s about 55 feet up in the air.

aerial challenge course

Mountain bikers will find new thrills, too. Opening this summer is a mile- loop bike park featuring berms, switchbacks, tabletops, whoops and jumps. That’s in addition to our existing trails and the 13.5- mile downhill mountain bike course leaving from Garnet Ghost Town. You can take your pick: grab a map or go for a guided tour.

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At the Lake House at Seeley Lake, now there’s paddleboarding. Using concentration and balance, you can either take in the scenery or get a rejuvenating workout. To really stretch yourself, sign up for paddleboard yoga, a great core fitness class.

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And for any kids who have dreamed of being cowboys or cowgirls, Paws Up’s brand-new Junior Wrangler Program will give them a durn good glimpse. They’ll do it all, from brushing and scooping to saddling and loping. They’ll have three days to immerse themselves in the world of horses and explore trails that others don’t get to ride.

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Whatever your age, whatever your passions, we hope you’ll find 2017 to be an exciting time to visit and explore the great outdoors on our ranch.

Paws Up Delivers the Duality of Wellness With AdrenZen

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The Resort at Paws Up hosted its first-ever wellness weekend event, AdrenZen (short for “Adrenaline Meets Zen”), May 5–8, 2017, and guests who traveled to The Resort for adventure activities mixed with opportunities for relaxation and rejuvenation were not disappointed. Our ranch provided the perfect setting for the creation of new friendships and bonding, spiritual inspiration, wilderness adventures and the renewal of a mutual love for the outdoors. Guests enjoyed wholesome cuisine and healthy cocktails—and they didn’t miss a single calorie (mostly because they were too busy burning them off).

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AdrenZen guest yoga instructor Lauren Taus said, “As a seasoned traveler with ample luxury experience, I can tell you that The Resort at Paws Up stands out in so many ways. It’s the attention to detail here that makes the biggest difference. And Chef Ben Jones blew me—and my taste buds—away at every meal. His homemade kombucha is next-level.”

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After starting each day with morning yoga, guests enjoyed chef specials, including a full fresh juice bar. Visiting fitness expert and The Biggest Loser star Jen Widerstrom connected with participants during small-group fitness activities, such as our first-ever Ranch-Athlon. This event featured a combination ATV tour and rappelling experience led by Widerstrom—capped with a huge adrenaline rush as everyone descended a sheer, 167-foot rock face.

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More adventure followed in the form of a one-mile Grizzlyman Fitness Trail excursion led by Widerstrom. Guests made quick, calorie-burning stops at 12 stations along the trail to complete climbing, balancing and swinging challenges. In addition, the Sky Line Aerial Adventure Park, tucked away neatly in the middle of The Resort’s forest, offered the option to navigate rickety bridges, spider nets, swinging platforms, tightropes and a heart-pounding 40-foot free fall.

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For the Zen element of the event, guests stretched and posed their way to relaxation with Taus, recognized by Self magazine as one of the country’s top trainers. Her most popular class of the weekend was vino yoga. Guests warmed their muscles through a range of movement and pleased their palates with a selection of fine wines. It was the perfect preamble to free time filled with treatments at Spa Town, a hands-on private cooking class led by guest Chef Kelly Liken, at-your-own-pace meditation hikes and horseback riding on our gorgeous 37,000-acres of trails with scenic vistas of the Blackfoot River.

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If you weren’t here for the first-ever Paws Up wellness event and feel like you missed out, you can remedy that regret at the fall AdrenZen event on October 20–23, 2017. You don’t want to miss out this time around. We have even more fabulous features planned, so book your reservation now.

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 Praise for AdrenZen

“My experience at The Resort at Paws Up for the AdrenZen weekend was the highlight of my year. All the staff throughout The Resort were extremely accommodating and kind and took care of any needs or questions that I had throughout my weekend. I had a wonderful time exploring the outdoors at The Resort of Paws up because of the exquisite location, respectful staff and impeccable service. I would highly recommend The Resort.”—Katelynn Lee, AdrenZen guest

 “I am fortunate to have been a part of AdrenZen weekend. The whole place is serene and magical, but what was really unexpected was the opportunity to push myself out of my comfort zone in a safe and relaxed environment. I would go back again and again.”—Bhavani Raju, AdrenZen guest 

“As an international retreat leader, finding a place that is as special as The Resort at Paws Up is rare. The space invites quiet reflection, exploration and growth, while also offering every luxury you could imagine. Everybody had an incredible time, and I loved hosting a wellness event there. Jen Widerstrom and I both look forward to bringing more growth and healing to this property soon.”Lauren Taus, AdrenZen guest yoga instructor 

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Curling Comes to The Resort at Paws Up

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Once again, during WinterFest 2017, the Missoula Curling Club (MCC) will join us at Paws Up to demonstrate and teach the enigmatic sport known as curling. Like last year, the club and Paws Up guests will get a chance to play at The Resort’s “official” curling court (otherwise known as the Paws Up Ice Rink).

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The sport involves two teams sliding (and guiding through the sweeping of brooms) 40-pound hunks of granite down a “sheet,” or playing field, of ice. The team that repeatedly gets its so-called stones closest to the center of a target at each end of the sheet eventually wins a curling match. The sport, which gained medal status in the Winter Olympics in 1998, is often misunderstood but actually easy to learn and fun to play, according to most curling enthusiasts.

The nonprofit Missoula Curling Club was formed in 2010. “We have 130 members playing on 28 teams in the Competitive and Recreational League. We began in Fall 2010 after the February 2010 Olympic games— which got a few folks in Missoula saying ‘we can do that,’ so a club was born,” says MCC President Barry Bollenbacher. He estimates that about 20,000 people in the United States play the sport of curling. But in Canada, the sport is huge, with about 2.1 million active curlers. The sport is hard to excel at, but easy to enjoy, says Bollenbacher, and the fact that you can enjoy a beverage during a match adds to the fun.

He recommends coming out early to the Paws Up “sheet” this year to experience curling for yourself. Lessons will take place at WinterFest on Friday, January 20, from 3 to 5 p.m., so you’ll be well prepared to take part in the exhibition game later that night, from 8:30 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. Be sure to check out the amazing chefs, distillery, brewer and musicians at WinterFest 2017!

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A New Thrill for Skiers and Adventure Seekers

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Looking for a new thrill? If you love skiing and adventure, you’ll have something exciting to try during your next visit to Paws Up: skijoring. It’s a winter sport in which a skier is pulled by a horse or by dogs, and it’s the newest winter wilderness adventure to be introduced at The Resort. It joins a stellar list of snowy activities such as dogsledding, ice skating and snowmobiling. The word skijoring is derived from the Norwegian word for “ski driving.”

At the Wilderness Outpost, we’ll provide all the necessary supplies, including skis, poles, boots, gloves, helmets and goggles—and the horses, of course—according to Paws Up Activities Director Mark Houseman. Activities Manager Riley Egan has firsthand experience with skijoring, having competed in a race at nearby Whitefish Mountain Resort. He calls skijoring “a challenging, unique, exhilarating workout and a great way to rid the winter doldrums.” In the competitive version of the sport, Egan says that participants must navigate a series of gates, jumps and rings at very high speeds.

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The skijoring offered at Paws Up will be more low-key and targeted at introducing people to the sport for fun. Houseman says that skijoring is more popular in foreign countries, such as Finland, Norway, Russian and Sweden, but adds that Whitefish has hosted the sport’s world championships for several years now. Skijoring at Paws Up will have two trails: one course for training and the other to prepare for competitive skijoring. The trails are located behind the Wilderness Outpost.

How 10 Paws Up Horses Got Their Names

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Have you ever wondered how horses get their names? Here’s an inside look on the names choices of ten horses at The Resort at Paws Up.

The Resort at Paws Up Horses

  1. Traveller was named after General Robert E. Lee’s famous horse that he rode during several battles in the Civil War. Traveller was a tall grey horse, but he wasn’t a draft horse like our Traveller is. Lee’s Traveller actually outlived Lee by several months before the horse died as well.
  1. Little Joe was named after the old country song “Little Joe the Wrangler.” The song is one of the most iconic cowboy songs of all time. It was first recorded in the 1900s and has been covered by such famous Western singers as Chris LeDoux and Marty Robbins.
  1. Rojo means “red” in Spanish, so our horse Rojo was named for his beautiful copper red coloring. Wranglers refer to this type of horse as a sorrel horse. Horses come in all shapes sizes and colors, and wranglers have a different name for almost every type of horse.
  2. Kodiak was named after the Kodiak bear. That type of bear and Kodiak have the same coloring. However, Kodiak has a much better temperament than most bears. He is a sweetheart and loves anyone who gives him a good ear rub!
  1. Biscuit has kind of a silly name. He was born a twin, and rumor has it that his twin’s name is Gravy. We don’t own Gravy, however, so we can neither confirm or deny this fun story.
  1. Tuffy is an old ranch horse who is one of the most mellow and kind horses we’ve ever met—right up until you get him around cows. Then, he remembers the old days, and every now and then he will try to teach the cows a lesson or two.
  1. Spook was raised and trained by our very own ranch manager Kyle Kelly. Spook has a little ghost on his forehead. He is one of our best horses, and we use him as our go-to kids’ horse!
  1. Cherokee was named after the American Indian tribe. He is a black-and-white paint horse with a proud face. At the time that horses were brought to the Americas by Europeans and through until the mid-20th century, paint horses and Appaloosas were considered to be of a lesser quality and not desirable by most prominent horse owners. Thus, horses like Cherokee would have been sent or sold to outlying settlements or traded to the natives much more readily than a solid colored horse. The horse tribes of the Western plains especially took a liking to these “paints” and prized them as mounts.
  1. Doc is another of our cow horses from the Angus ranch days of Paws Up, like Tuffy and Spook. Most horses, being herd animals, are prone to get attached to a particular group of horses. Doc is not. Like his namesake, Doc Holliday, Doc is more of a maverick. He’s just as happy on his own miles from the herd as he is in a pasture with other horses.
  1. Cactus is another of our fantastic kids’ horses. He was named Cactus because of his compact size—he’s obviously not a Saguaro—and the C-shaped white marking on his forehead.

National S’mores Day at Paws Up

S'mores at Paws Up

Sure, other important things are happening in August, but National S’mores Day is an event we take seriously at The Resort at Paws Up. This year, we’re hosting our first-ever full Resort competition dedicated to the simple, rustic treat we love. The Paws Up S’mores Challenge: We’re taking gooiness to the next level!

Classic ingredients will be provided to all of our guests on property, but unique “secret” ingredients will only be available as part of a special geo-cache adventure earlier in the day.

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Guests won’t have to travel far to compete in the preliminary rounds. Vacation home guests will line up on The Yard at the Cook Shack. Campers will convene at their individual campsites. And the top competitors will be selected to for the Championship round. Fans will be watching as four esteemed s’mores experts rank thier tasty, toasted treat on a scale from 1 to 10. The crowd will go be waiting patiently for samples.

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The grand-prize winner of the Paws Up S’mores Challenge will receive a one-hour photography session from our official on-site photographer. And, naturally, we’ll add their portrait to the Paws Up Hall of Fame.

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Here’s our lineup for Wednesday, August 10, 2016

9:00AM–12:00PM Ingredients-finding Geo-Cache adventure begins from the Wilderness Outpost

4:30PM–8:30PM Campsite competition at individual campsites around The Resort

6:30PM–8:30PM Vacation homes competition on The Yard at the Cook Shack

9:00PM Championship round at The Cook Shack fire pits

9:30PM Awards ceremony at the Cook Shack Stage

Afterwards, guests will enjoy a special musical performance by local favorites . How fun does sound?

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