Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
We were a bit disappointed to leave Glacier National Park without doing the Going to the Sun road, but, we know we can always go back another time. Heading South, we decided to stop at Deer Lodge KOA, not only was it a perfect 4 hours away from Apgar Campground in Glacier, but, it was also right next to Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site.
Ranch House Tours
They give tours of the Ranch House that was built in 1862. You need to make reservations in advance to be able to tour the home. The tours were sold out for the day, because we got there so late. Plus, the kids wanted time to finish their Junior Ranger books and this one was a challenging one. 🙂
One of the first items to finish in the Junior Ranger booklet was sitting down and looking around and writing down descriptive words about what they say. Then, turning it into a poem. It was easy to do because it is so beautiful there. Plus, they wrote about the huge thunderstorm rolling in. We could imagine what it was like when it was a working farm and all of the cowboys were riding from their cattle drives.
As you are walking to the back of the property from the Visitor Center you come to Bunkhouse Row. This is where Cowboys and Ranch Hands ate and slept. We learned that they had to take a bath once a month, whether they thought they needed to or now. The kids got a kick out of that! You can look at recreations of what it was like to live in the bunkhouse and they have recordings or reenactments of Cowboys and Ranch Hands describing what it was like in the 1800’s on the ranch.
At the end of the Bunkhouse is the Tack Room, where the kids had to spot the differences between the different types of saddles and write down the differences in their Junior Ranger Books. They could go up to the saddles and touch the saddles, they also learned about the different parts that make up the saddles.
After learning about saddles we headed down the path. There were volunteers helping the Ranch come to life. One Volunteer was a Cowboy riding around on a horse. The kids were so excited to be able pet the horse. He also answered questions about the horse, we had learned that it was a quarter horse that he was riding. He also pointed us in the direction of the Draft Horse, Duchess. Duchess was so sweet and the kids just wanted to keep petting her.
Blacksmith Shop & Garage
Right next to the Duchess was the Blacksmith and the Garage. There was a volunteer in the Blacksmith shop that showed us around the shop and demonstrated how they made horseshoes and even gave us a shoe pick to take home. We also ventured into the Garage where Conrad Warren stored his gas-powered and horse drawn vehicles.
Our final stop was at the chuck wagon. I was offered some coffee and the kids were invited to climb aboard the chuck wagon. We learned that each wagon carried 1,000 lbs of food and served 20 men. They are a lot of rice and beans because it was easy to keep, dried meat, coffee and biscuits. One of the most interesting things that we learned is that Charles Goodnight invented the chuck wagon. We had learned about Charles Goodnight in our visit to Caprock Canyons State Park in Texas. In Caprock we learned that Mr. Goodnight’s wife had noticed that the Bison population was dwindling and convinced him to save a herd. Thanks to her, their herd is one of the herds that brought the Bison back from the brink of extinction. At Grant-Kohrs Ranch we learned that Mr. Goodnight also blazed a new trail from Texas to Denver that links up to the Kohrs Trail here in Deer Lodge.
What a great visit at Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site and we’re glad that we made the time to visit!
We packed up the next morning and made our way down to Craters of the Moon National Monument to try a second time to get a campsite in the park. We had to keep on moving to find a spot before the Labor Day weekend.