In Montana, the Trout Rise as Surely as the Sun

“There’s certainly something in angling that tends to produce a serenity of mind.”

Washington Irving may have penned those telling words back east in New York some 200 years ago, but they still very much apply today for anglers on the waters in and around The Resort at Paws Up.

In this fly-fishing mecca, you discover what moves you—what touches your soul—in a pristine natural environment. Is it the unending quest to cleverly imitate nature with man-made flies? The experience of spending time in nature, maybe glimpsing a black bear tearing into a rotting log for her own insect snack? Or maybe, just maybe, it’s simply admiring the stunning beauty of the fish you catch.

Take, for example, a fish like one of western Montana’s lone native trout, the Westslope Cutthroat. With sporting markings on the throat and gill plate like a bright-orange-red bandana, these local residents are beloved for their good looks and feisty fights. And no visitor who’s tussled with one and held it in wet hands before releasing it back into the water goes home with anything less than a story worth repeating many times.

Also lurking in the legendary Blackfoot River are an abundance of silver bullets called rainbows and cutbows, a cutthroat/rainbow hybrid. And, of course, there are their ill-tempered neighbors, the brown trout.

According to Assistant Activities Manager Ben Pepe, the leader of Paws Up’s fishing program, “the Blackfoot, of all these rivers near Missoula, offers the most beautiful setting, with shimmering water running over dappled rocks, Ponderosa pine-lined banks, bald eagles and the occasional river otter—this is River Runs Through It country. It really is the quintessential Rocky Mountain river.”

Guided half-day fly-fishing trips on the Paws Up stretch of the Blackfoot offer guests the advantage of being first on the water, thanks to two private access points. Upstream on the river lies the Box Canyon, another beautiful stretch suitable for full-day, eight-hour trips and trophy fish. Guides can also run longer trips to the brown-trout-laden Bitterroot River or the expansive Clark Fork near Missoula.

It’s not just the fish around here that are big. “The salmon flies—you just don’t see them in other local areas,” Pepe said. “That hatch creates a feeding frenzy, typically in mid- to late June. We like to fish big attractor patterns, some of which mimic stone flies or hoppers.”

Patterns like the Chubby Chernobyl, a favorite of another Paws Up fly-fishing devotee, Executive Assistant Mindy Marcum, who spends much of her off-time on the water. “As it gets later in summer, we’re trying to imitate a grasshopper that’s fallen off a stalk of grass into the water,” she said.

As summer cedes to early fall, Marcum will cohost a Paws Up event, the Wonder Women of Fly-Fishing, September 11–13, with renowned fly-fishing guide Kelly Harrison.

For Mindy Marcum, fly-fishing is all about releasing stress with every cast, as well as “the total relaxation and the togetherness with others.” As she put it most succinctly, “Fly-fishing is my yoga on the water.”

Six Experiences at Paws Up For The Under-Six Crowd

Why does it always seem like all the best rides are for those who meet a height requirement? Here at Paws Up, we don’t limit the fun to those who measure up to a sign. Here are just six examples of how we put the biggest smiles on our smallest guests.

1. PONY RIDES

We would never make you go in circles on some sandy, worn-out path. Instead, our wranglers will show you a true adventure! You’ll say hello to your pony, get a boost up and then ride through beautiful trails. It’s 15 minutes of giggles and photo ops. Parents can tag along, too.

2. GARNET GHOST TOWN

Ever been to a real ghost town? We have one that’s practically in our own backyard! It’s just 20 minutes away, but it’s a step back in time to the early 1900s. Explore the general store, hotel, saloon and homes of this uninhabited town. But wait—you don’t believe in ghosts, do you?

3. THE ISLAND LODGE AT SALMON LAKE

Imagine having a whole island to yourself and your family with boats, fishing poles and a floating trampoline! Cool off with a blackberry lemonade. Or dip your feet into the clear, blue water and let the tiny fishies swim around your toes. At sunset, go for a nice pontoon ride. Ahoy, sailor!

4. CLEARWATER RIVER CANOE TRIP

Head out on the water with a family canoe trip. Relax in the middle while bigger kids or grown-ups paddle down a 3.5-mile stretch of the Clearwater River. Notice the stunning views of the Swan Mountains. See if you can spot an eagle. But make sure you get a turn to try paddling, too!

5. GO-KARTS

The race is on! You’ll go up to 20 miles per hour around a half-­mile track side-by-side with Mom or Dad. Learn to steer around one corner after the next. If you’re under six, trackside bleachers provide the perfect spot to watch your favorite racers power their way to the checkered flag.

6. LITTLE DISCOVERERS AT THE KIDS CORPS OF DISCOVERY

Need to seriously get your wiggles out? Kiss your family goodbye for a few hours and join us at the Kids Corps of Discovery, where you can meet new friends, play games and try tie-dying and searching for sapphires.

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!).

Learn How to Make Lobster Rolls from Top Chef Winner Brooke Williamson

Learn how to make these amazing lobster rolls with Bravo Top Chef 2017 Champion Brooke Williamson at our second-annual WildFlavor event April 19-22, 2018. The event features two other Bravo Top Chef stars—Sam Talbot (semifinalist, Season 2) and Casey Thompson (finalist, Season 3)—as well as Paws Up Executive Chef Sunny Jin. You’ll be able to whet your appetite throughout the weekend and watch these chefs “fork it out” during a live cook-off challenge. Of course, expertly crafted meals will be served throughout this delicious four-day event. And don’t forget to toast with exquisitely paired fine vino, compliments of Melville Winery.

In between meals, go horseback riding, clay shooting or ATV riding and then wind down in the comfort of your luxurious Paws Up home. Featuring many other available wilderness adventures, WildFlavor is the perfect blend of food and fun this spring at The Resort at Paws Up.

Lobster Roll Recipe

courtesy of Brooke Williamson

Yield: 7 (5-ounce) lobster rolls

Lobster sauce

1 quart mayonnaise

2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 lemon, zested and juiced

 

Directions

  1. In a large bowl combine all ingredients, mixing well. Sauce flavor develops more if made ahead of time. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Lobster roll mix

2 pounds lobster meat, cooked (claw, knuckle, tail)

1 cup celery, minced

2 lemons, zested and juiced

1 tablespoons kosher salt

1 1/2 cups lobster sauce (recipe above)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, mixing well. Add lobster sauce, mixing well.

Pickled mustard seeds

1 cup yellow mustard seeds

1 1/2 cups sherry vinegar

1 cup honey

3 cups water

1 tablespoon kosher salt

Lobster roll buns

7 brioche buns, sliced and toasted

1 cup micro celery

Crushed Maui onion chips

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring mustard seeds to a boil. Immediately turn to simmer. Cover and cook 30 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Place buns on a work surface. Place lobster mixture evenly among buns and garnish with pickled mustard seeds, micro celery and crushed Maui onion chips. If micro celery is not available, substitute celery leaves. Plain or onion-flavored chips can also be substituted for Maui onion chips.

Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe and Our Next Cookbook Live

Join The Resort at Paws Up on November 3–6, 2017 for our fourth Cookbook Live event with pie expert Kate McDermott. This flaky and fun-filled baking weekend brings to life McDermott’s book Art of the Pie, which was nominated for a James Beard Award. By day, you’ll create works of edible art from fresh local ingredients. And by night, you’ll dine on the masterfully executed cuisine of Paws Up’s Executive Chef Ben Jones. It’s the perfect treat for anyone who’s passionate about succulent, homemade, just-out-of-the-oven pie. We hope to see you in a few weeks. In the meantime, enjoy this divine Lemon Meringue Pie recipe in your own home.

 

Lemon Meringue Pie
Makes One 9-inch Shallow Pie

1 pre-baked single Art of the Pie® crust or pre-baked dough of your choice

For the Filling
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1-1/4 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 egg yolks, fork beaten
  • zest of 1 large lemon
For the Meringue
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Procedure

For the Filling
  1. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt.
  2. Add the water and constantly stirring with a whisk, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook for 2 more minutes while continuing to whisk. Don’t be afraid to whisk vigorously as it gets thicker.
  3. Take 1/4 cup of the hot mixture and stir it into the fork beaten egg yolks. Return this to the saucepan, bring to a boil, and cook for 3-4 minutes more while stirring constantly.
  4. Stir in the butter, lemon juice, and zest and cook for another minute.
  5. Immediately pour into the pre-baked pie crust.
For the Meringue
  1. In a clean and cold bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric handheld beater or a stand mixer.
  2. Add the pinch of salt, and the sugar while you mix. Add the cream of tartar and mix a bit more.
  3. Lift the beaters out when you can see soft peaks in thick foamy waves. That’s when it’s done.
  4. Put the meringue on the hot lemon filling starting at the edges first. Make sure the meringue reaches all the way to the edge of the crust so there are no gaps.
  5. Then add the rest of the meringue in the middle so that the filling is completely covered.
  6. With the handle of a spoon or the blade of a knife, pull up some soft peaks.
  7. Place in a preheated 375F oven for 6 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool completely before serving.

3 Summer Picnics Worth Traveling For

Paws Up long table

It may come as no surprise, but Montana’s culinary resources are as outsized as the landscape itself. Which means, when you take part in a Montana Long Table at The Resort at Paws Up you’re in for an ever-loving foodie kind of evening. Of course, that only partly explains why these events are so popular. There’s also the single, long table set up in a beautiful spot with sweeping views of the ranch and first-rate live music, often from acclaimed local artists.This summer Paws Up is offering three incredible Long Table Events where guests will come face-to-face with an abundant supply of foods and the artisans behind them as well as get to know them by name, hear their stories and have the opportunity to show appreciation for all their hard work.

Montana long table events paws up

Artisanal Picnic: June 17, 2017

When was the last time you dined outdoors on artistically prepared fried chicken, sausage garnished with foie gras and hand-cut duck fat fries? This year’s first Montana Long Table is a picnic like none you’ve ever seen. We’re bringing together three of the country’s most talented chefs: the masterminds behind Chicago’s Honey Butter Fried Chicken and cult food icon Doug Sohn of Hot Doug’s. And when it’s time to sit down and dine, you’ll be joined by the very ranchers, farmers and food artisans responsible for the food in front of you.

Note: This event is open to locals.

artisanal picnic the resort at paws up

A Long-Standing Tradition: July 15, 2017

This July, pull up a seat as we celebrate the local food traditions of Montana. It’s a farm-to-white-tablecloth experience, starting with an authentic farmers market featuring local ranchers, farmers and food artisans as well as music from Montana’s own Dan Dubuque. Next, you’ll sit down to an exquisite dinner created by Paws Up Executive Chef Ben Jones. His close relationships with area purveyors always makes for a truly inspired menu. But don’t take our word for it—instead, take advantage of the unique opportunity to dine alongside the very people who made your meal possible. We hope you’ll join us as we pay tribute to all the incredible culinary resources Montana has to offer.

Note: This event is open to locals.

the resort at paws up

Bounty on the Blackfoot: August 19, 2017

This August, take a tour through Montana’s vast culinary traditions with one of the country’s most celebrated chefs as your guide. Join 2017 Bravo Top Chef winner Brooke Williamson as she creates a true farm-to-table tasting menu before your very eyes. She’ll visit the Missoula farmers market to select peak-season ingredients, then masterfully turn them into a one-of-a-kind dinner. By evening, you’ll sit down to dine on the banks of the legendary Blackfoot River with the local purveyors who helped make your meal possible.

bounty on the blackfoot at the resort at paws upMontana long table events

5 Reasons to Visit Paws Up This Winter

spring break at the resort at paws up

Winter is going by so quickly so be sure not to miss your chance to spend it in style at The Resort at Paws Up—an authentic working cattle ranch where adventure awaits at every turn. We will be hard at work with our pre-arrival department to create a custom stay for you and your family. Below, find our top five activities to enjoy this winter.

kids winter at The Resort at Paws Up

1. Kids Corps of Discovery

Our Kids Corps of Discovery offers half-day and full-day programs that include pony rides, field trips to the Blackfoot River, a petting zoo, horse painting, scavenger hunts and more for children. Older kids can enjoy geocaching, target shooting, the Grizzlyman Fitness Trail, archery and more.

The resort at paws up snow tubing

2. Snow Tubing

Do you have the need for speed? If you like living in the fast lane but are tired of lift lines and toe-crushing ski boots, the surrounding hills and meadows of Paws Up offer ample opportunities for other snowy pursuits. Test the limits of gravity aboard one of our snow tubes. The Resort offers two kinds of tubing:

Downhill Tubing

Tubes in varying sizes are offered to guests for downhill tubing every afternoon between 2PM and 4PM. A tubing chauffeur drives guests back up the hill on a snowmobile after each run. (Helmets and goggles are provided at the top of the hill, but guests are encouraged to bring their own.) Guests may tube downhill at any other time of day without a chauffeur. Just remember: Extra calories burned climbing back uphill equal extra hot chocolate at the end!

Meadow Tubing

This style of tubing is slightly different, with tubes attached to a rope that is then secured to the back of a snowmobile that runs a course through the meadow behind the Wilderness Outpost. Guests should sign up in advance for a riding slot between 10AM and noon. One or two people can ride a single tube together, and guests are encouraged to bring their own helmets and goggles.

For both downhill and meadow tubing, bonfire pits at each location will be lit during specified operating times to warm up after runs.

Dogsledding at the resort at paws up

3Dogsledding

This signature adventure is centered around man’s best friend. Horsepower has nothing on our paw power. Iditarod champion Alaskan Huskies pull guests through the wilds of Montana at the foot of the Garnet Mountains—one of the most handsome ranges in the Rockies. The Blackfoot Valley is home to some of the best dogsled racing in the United States. In fact, four-time Iditarod (also known as the “Last Great Race on Earth”) champion Doug Swingley lives and trains here, as do dozens of his best local competition.

Ice hockey at paws up

4. Ice Skating and Hockey

Winter at Paws Up still means frosted pine trees, snow-covered meadows and frozen lakes. Turn circles around your companions at our royal ice rink, located across from Pomp and Tank & Trough—the perfect spot to thaw out with a golden goblet of gourmet coffee or sinfully rich hot chocolate. We provide the ice skates, hand warmers and hockey sticks. You provide the double toe loops and winning shots.

sleigh rides at the resort at paws up

5. Sleigh Rides

Join the Paws Up wranglers and their majestic Percheron draft horses for an enchanting sleigh ride through frosted forests and over powdery hills. While your mind is devouring a smorgasbord of tasty historical and naturalistic facts—told in storybook style by your sleigh guide—and your eyes take in the dreamy Montana scenery, your palate will be treated to gourmet hot chocolate, exquisite coffee and delicious hot cider to keep you toasty-warm during the entire experience.

spring break at paws up

SPRING BREAK SPECIALS

Visit The Resort at Paws Up for the ultimate spring break vacation with your family. Book your spring break stay today, and take advantage of our special offers. Our Spring Break Package includes meals and one half-day activity per person, per day. Rates start at $562 per person per night (based on two adults and two children). Or you can enjoy a limited-time discount of 30 percent off lodging when you book a stay for dates between February 1 and May 26, 2017. (Blackout dates include all special events.)

winter adventure at the resort at paws up

A New Thrill for Skiers and Adventure Seekers

skijoring the resort at paws up

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.

winter-the-resort-at-paws-up

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.

From Farm to Table, the Old-Fashioned Way

Hutterites Paws Up

Fresh and delicious seasonal dishes don’t happen by accident. So for our rich bounty of vegetables, breads and meats, Paws Up has been turning to local experts with a long history in these parts: the Cool Springs Hutterite Colony, the Hillside Colony and other Hutterite farmers. Over the years, Paws Up Executive Chef Ben Jones has found that these communities produce some of the best-tasting foodstuffs in the country—by using natural, time-tested techniques, similar to those used by Amish and Mennonite farmers.

chef-ben-jones-paws-up

Hutterites have been living and working in Montana since first forming colonies in the Dakotas in the 1800s and Canada in the 1900s. The Hutterites also eventually formed colonies in Montana in which they practiced a religious-based communal lifestyle where each individual in a colony was responsible for a specific task. That tradition and culture have not changed much since the early days for Hutterites in Montana, according to current Cool Springs colony resident Jake Waldner.

091516pawsuphutterites-20

Waldner says that Paws Up is the colony’s number-one customer as a purchaser of the bacon, chickens, bread and vegetables that the colony produces. The Hutterites are able to directly deliver and sell goods to customers like Paws Up from their farms, as opposed to selling to stores and then having goods sit on shelves for days or even weeks at a time. But most colonies do not produce goods solely to sell to restaurants and resorts. The livestock and other goods are instead grown and produced for a colony’s use first. Then, when a surplus is generated, those excess goods are made available to outside customers.

091516pawsuphutterites-4

For a resort like Paws Up that specializes in farm-to-table freshness, the goods are always cherished, and our guests can taste the difference between these foods and those that are shipped in. The relationship between Hutterite farmers and the culinary artists at Paws Up adds a delicious, honest, homegrown flavor to every dish we prepare.

An Insiders Look at our Head Wrangler Dustin Call

Dustin Call Wrangler Paws Up

Dustin Call has been riding horses since he was four years old. He grew up riding at his family’s home in Wallburg, North Carolina, and became a member of the United States Pony Club at a young age. Call eventually “fell into the cowboy way” in college, switching to Western saddle riding and even holding down a summer job at a Wild West theme park as a stunt performer. After college, Call knew he wanted to become a professional horseman, so he headed west and became enamored with the cowboy way of life. After landing a job at a ranch in Colorado, Call was able to dedicate his life to caring for and riding horses, as well as educating and leading others in their own horsemanship. Call came to Paws Up as Horse Manager in 2015. He is the leader of Paws Up’s outstanding equestrian program, where he continues to share his love of horses with visitors to the ranch and “anyone with a sense of adventure and an open mind.”

dustin call wrangler paws up1. What’s your favorite thing about working at Paws Up?

Helping to connect people with horses! It’s really at the core of what I love about this resort. I think horses are the most amazing creatures and are truly good for people in so many ways, and here I get to help people rediscover that relationship, or find it for the first time.

2. How is the equestrian experience different at Paws Up than at other ranch destinations?

Our flexibility. For one, we have an amazing array of trails and different times you can ride, anywhere from early morning to chasing the sunset, so no matter what your schedule or vacation style is, we can find a time and a place for you to ride. We also have horses and programs that can engage anyone, from first-time riders to those who ride on a regular basis and have horses of their own. 

3. What’s your favorite thing Chef Ben cooks up on the ranch?

The Gnarly Burger! He serves it at breakfast, but I could eat it three meals a day. Talk about stick-to-your-ribs good!

4. What music are you currently listening to?

Hayseed Dixie! Give ’em a try—they’re a good time.

5. If you could ride horses with one famous person, who would it be?

Buck Brannaman, my favorite horseman. You can never stop learning with horses, and he has an amazing amount of knowledge and insight to share. Or Viggo Mortensen—he’s the coolest.

6. When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An astrophysicist, then an architect, then an actor, then an archaeologist. I’ve covered a lot of ground…

7. What is your second-favorite activity at the ranch? (We know horseback riding is first!)

White water rafting! I own my own boat, but I’m nowhere near as good a captain as our guides are.

8. Besides horseback, what is your favorite method of transportation?

My two feet. I love to hike and run and explore. I’ve hiked most of our trails as well.

9. We know you love all of the horses at Paws Up, but which one edges out the others and why?

My go-to good buddy is Ink. He’s an amazing little ranch horse who I can really get a job done with, whether it’s checking miles of fence on our own, roping a cow, bringing in our horse herd in the morning or leading a trail ride. When I first got to the resort he had some serious problems we had to work through, and that journey together makes his reliability and kindness now that much more rewarding. He’s a very good friend of mine.

10. How do horses inspire you?

The thing that inspires me most about a horse is his capacity for forgiveness. What you need to know about a “bad” horse is that—99 percent of the time—whatever he is doing that you wish he wouldn’t, somebody taught him that. But if you treat him right, he’ll trust and love you as deeply as a child. I strive to have that strength in my life, and I think everyone could use at least a little in theirs!

11. What advice do you give to someone who has never been on a horse before? RELAX! This is good advice for any new adventure, but especially true with horses. Our horses are trained extensively to be safe and considerate to novice riders, so there’s no need to worry. The horses want nothing more than to please you, and a relaxed, happy rider is the best reward you can give them.

12. What are some of the funniest moments you’ve witnessed between guests and horses?

Oh boy … too many to count. Kids and horses are always a good bet for hilarity, especially a 6-year-old riding a 1,600-pound draft horse cross! Cattle drives are usually a pretty good time as well. There’s nothing like watching successful, mature adults screaming at cows.The Resort at Paws Up