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Guest Blog: A Week at The Ranch

Behind the Lens During a Summer Stay

A couple of Adirondack chairs sit ready for a moment of reflection on Welcome Pond at The Ranch at Rock Creek
Photo courtesy of Benjamin Morgan.

As one of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World, we often host photographers looking to capture migrating wildlife, iconic ranch scenes and high country views. We delight in seeing our wild landscape from different perspectives. Thanks to Instagram and Facebook, we’re able to share guest and staff member talents with our international community every day.

Last week, we took an in-depth look at the rise of family travel. This week we take you behind the lens with a recent guest, Benjamin Morgan, as he looks back on his family’s stay at The Ranch at Rock Creek. A student and inspiring photographer, Morgan conveys his experiences through a stunning photo essay capturing a full week of summer on our 6,600 acres and beyond. We treasure this opportunity to share with our readers how inspiring our state, our staff and ranch life can be. Thanks to Benjamin for sharing his thoughts and artistry with us. Happy trails and travels to all our recent guests!



Aspiring photographer Benjamin Morgan tests out the archery course at The Ranch at Rock CreekAspiring Photographer Benjamin Morgan tests his skills on The Ranch’s archery range. 

My name is Benjamin Morgan and I am from Huntsville, Alabama. I am a senior at Auburn University, currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and a Bachelor’s degree in Finance. In my free time, I enjoy traveling and photography. This summer, I had the opportunity to spend a week at The Ranch at Rock Creek with my family and absolutely loved every second of it. Here, I’ve documented what I felt were the best moments during my trip.


The View

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Photo courtesy of Benjamin Morgan.

One thing I loved about The Ranch at Rock Creek was the amazing view. Top of the World (#topoftheworld) was a lookout point where you could see for miles and miles with what seemed to be a view that could only happen in a dream. If you got up early enough, you could see a gorgeous golden sunrise over the entire ranch, lighting up the fields and mountains.

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Photo courtesy of Benjamin Morgan.

Or you could take a sunset tour and get a stunning view of the sun setting over the mountains, casting a dreamy warm glow on the little purple wildflowers that grow everywhere.

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Photo courtesy of Benjamin Morgan.


The Food

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Photo courtesy of Benjamin Morgan.

The food was unbelievably delicious with plenty to choose from at each meal. However, each morning I ate a plate of chocolate chip buttermilk pancakes with the best crispy bacon you could possibly imagine. For lunch, I always chose the bison burger, and for dinner there would be delicious grilled beef filled with savory flavor accompanied by an assortment of grilled vegetables. All of the food was fresh and much of it was either grown on The Ranch or sourced from local suppliers.


The Sky

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Photo courtesy of Benjamin Morgan.

Awestruck. That is how I felt when I first stepped out of the lodge and looked straight up to the sky; I had never seen so many stars before. This was the first time I had ever been exposed to the full beauty of the night sky and suddenly understood the term “Big Sky.”  If you ever get the chance to get away from a city, out to the middle of nowhere where there is essentially zero light pollution, take that chance. The number of stars you will see is incredible.


The Rodeo

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Photo courtesy of Benjamin Morgan.

I was able to experience my first rodeo at The Ranch at Rock Creek and I loved it. I felt so much closer to the action looking through my camera and lens, capturing the split-second action, when the rider is hanging on or falling off. Not only was I able to enjoy it in the moment, but I also enjoy going back through my pictures and reliving those moments when a rider is able to hang on for a few crucial seconds before he is thrown off.


The Fourth of July

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Photo courtesy of Benjamin Morgan.

Having the opportunity to experience the 4th of July at The Ranch at Rock Creek was an unforgettable experience. The evening started out with a delicious dinner prepared in the Dutch oven on the Flagstone with a talented band performing as entertainment for the night. After dinner, we danced away into the night until the start of the fireworks show. The entire Ranch watched the show and celebrated our country’s Independence Day.


The History

Photographer Benjamin Morgan shows a scene from the Granite Ghost Town near Philipsburg, Montana
Photo courtesy of Benjamin Morgan.

If you are unfamiliar with the term, a ghost town is defined as a deserted town with few or no remaining inhabitants. We visited the Granite ghost town, which was a silver mining town back in the late 1800s. It’s a different kind of attraction when compared to riding horses and watching bucking broncs and bulls, but is a must-see site filled with fascinating history. Granite’s story is written in the crumbling walls and foundations, even as the landscape reclaims it.


The Barn Dance & More

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Photo courtesy of Benjamin Morgan.

While these pictures highlight some of my favorite moments, I also enjoyed other adventures, like fly fishing, shooting clays and trap and skeet, shooting pistols, barn dances, and horseback riding. I hope to be able to visit again one day to relive the experience.

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Photo courtesy of Benjamin Morgan.



Dig deeper into the Ranch experience with Elliman Media’s article, “Dude, Where’s My Ranch,” or take an in-depth look at our Ranch Rodeo through a former staff member’s photo essay. Fourth of July is just one of our many seasonal celebrations, follow us as we gear up for Autumn Harvest Weekend with LeAnn Rimes, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.