From September 21st to 25th 2018, I'm hosting WONDER WANDER 2018—a gathering adventurous and creative people to collectively wonder and wander in one of the most diverse, epic landscapes in North America. We'll be staying at the Range Rider's Lodge in Silver Gate, Montana, just a mile outside of the northeast entrance of Yellowstone National Park.
The aim is to bring sixteen intrepid souls together to examine our lives, share perspective, and experience the wonder of Yellowstone and it's less traveled, yet even more majestic, surrounding mountains.
The Rider, as it's called by the locals, is an enormous log cabin structure built in 1938 to originally be used as an “adult playground” for drinking, gambling, and prostitution. A building with wild history and stunning architecture that Ernest Hemingway once frequented on Saturday nights.
What's this about?
As its name implies, WONDER WANDER 2018 is about wondering and wandering.
By day, we'll primarily split into small groups to wander Yellowstone and the surrounding wilderness (as large groups tend to distract from the wondering of wandering). Expect a good amount of hiking, breathtaking views, and encounters with some of North America's most iconic wild creatures (bison, wolves, bears, moose, bald eagles etc).
By night, we'll gather in the Rider and turn inward to wonder about our own lives with each other. Though we may have a couple guest speakers, presentations, or group activities, we'll once again be splitting up into smaller groups to discuss the deeper things that underlie our actions in life, things like purpose, priorities, habits, influences, fears, and ambitions.
To ensure the widest variety of perspectives and shared experiences, groups will be formed daily at random, pull-a-name-out-of-a-hat style. Every day you'll be wondering and wandering with a different tiny tribe within our tribe of people.
There will also be downtime each day to relax, hang with others, and do whatever else you see fit.
As innkeeper of the Range Rider's Lodge, I realized I have the remarkable opportunity to create this surreal gathering and collective experience to share with sixteen others. I pitched the idea, and the wonderful people I work for have given me the time and remarkable space to make this a reality.
Really, though, why host this event? Because I believe wondering, wandering, and good people are some of the best things in life. Because this an experience I dream of and and I don't know how to find. And lastly, because I have all the tools to create it myself (an email list of thousands of adventurous people and this wonderful log cabin lodge in one of the most beautiful places on Earth).
Q: Who is this event for?
A: WONDER WANDER 2018 is for adventurers and creators who love the outdoors and are open to examining and discussing their lives with others. From artist to entrepreneur, athlete to academic, and photographer to poet, I'm hoping to bring together a cross-section of perspectives and people for this event. Ideal attendees are positive, open-minded, and should find enjoyment in hiking more than a couple miles.
Q: How much does it cost?
A: A mere $150 per person! This covers all food and drink and gets you your own room for four nights in the Range Rider's Lodge. Why so inexpensive? Because this isn't about money, but about us creating a collective experience we'll remember for the rest of our lives.
Q: What will our excursions be like?
A: Excursions will range from hikes to bonfires to wolf watching to early morning soaks in the confluence of the Yellowstone and Boiling River (my favorite thing to do in Yellowstone). Each day will have a certain theme, but we’ll break into smaller groups for greater flexibility in our days and to be more in touch with nature.
Q: Who am I?
A: Here's my short bio.
Q: What's the food situation?
A: The Rider has a commercial kitchen that's currently not in use. I'll make the most epic grocery run of my life and buy enough food for sixteen of us to eat for five days. The kitchen will be stocked upon your arrival with fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, grains, milk, yogurt, condiments, herbs, spices, and who knows what else. That should cover it, but feel free to pick up anything specific you want on the way in (the closest actual grocery store is ninety miles away). We'll be doing our own cooking in an unstructured, informal sort of way—a golden opportunity for discussion—as conversation flows naturally around the preparation and consumption of food.
Q: What is the Range Rider's Lodge like?
A: The Rider is a building of rugged quality. I've lived in the lodge for ten months and still marvel at arches made of full tree trunks, handcrafted everything, and the glow of its rich wood surfaces illuminated at night. An entirely wooden structure built 80 years ago, the floors creak, the walls are thin, and as it was originally a brothel, there was little need for bathrooms in each bedroom, so there are five communal bathrooms throughout.
The Rider is not an experience of luxury, but an experience of quality unlike I've ever encountered in another building. But if you're a light sleeper, do bring a pair of earplugs.
Q: How will the transportation situation work?
A: Silver Gate, Montana is way out there: 1.5 hrs from the Cody, WY airport and 3hrs from the Billings and Bozeman airports (larger airports with usually cheaper flights). While some may drive here, I suspect most will fly in and rent cars (we will set up a discussion board for atendees who want to do so collectively).
As driving is the only way in, we'll definitely have enough vehicles for all of us to get around—we're doing this whole thing as friends who've just yet to meet. From rides to cooking to wondering to wandering, we're in this together and will make it work as we go.
Q: What should I bring?
A: A notebook and a pen, warm clothing for fall mountain weather (the Rider is at 7,400ft in elevation), a waterproof outer-layer, and a backpack to carry a few supplies for hikes. A good book. Toiletries. An open mind and heart. And a swimsuit.
Other questions? Contact me here.
The WONDER WANDER 2018 application period has been finished, click the “get notified about next event” to receive notification of your next chance to apply!
Cheers! - Ethan