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Montana Moments: Photo Essay by Server & Photographer Willie MacDade

As the seasons change and the holidays approach, we are reminded that a photograph of the exact same spot in the summer looks entirely different in the spring, fall and winter. But, things don’t only change season to season; they change moment to moment. The serenity of a flowing stream may be interrupted by an eagle swooping down to catch a fish, or a cow and calf moose might decide they want to try glamping (Watch a recent guest’s video of a moose sighting).

Four seasons on Rock Creek, Four Montana Moments
Four Seasons on Rock Creek. Fall Photo by IG user @mpbroderick; Winter Photo by Granite Spa Massage Therapist Lindsay Roberts; Spring Photo by Jose Villa Photography; Summer Photo by Robert Cole Photography.

Our Favorite Montana Moments

This changeability is why we love the Montana Office of Tourism’s “#montanamoment” hashtag. We’re grateful to guests and staff members who share their pictures with us on social media or by email, so we can see the wild beauty of our home through their eyes. This week, we are pleased to bring you a new perspective from one of our Ranchers. Willie MacDade joined us last May and has seized every spare moment to explore our landscape and wider Montana. In many ways, seasonal employees experience Montana in a similar way to first-time guests; they are let loose on 6,600 acres of secluded wilderness and are given dozens of ways to explore it. If you’re inspired by Willie’s travels, we invite you to peruse the Indulgent Frontiersman special for an intriguing take on winter exploration.



Life as a Rancher with Willie MacDade

When I graduated college last May, I had no plans of working on a guest ranch. I did not know what my immediate future had in store for me. I did not know a place like The Ranch at Rock Creek even existed.

Photographer and Server Willie MacDade wades into Rock Creek for a self-portrait
Hey there! My name is Willie and I am a server and photographer at The Ranch.

Read more…

Tag: photography


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. Read more…

Tag: photography


Ranchers Behind the Lens

Winter Staff Photography

Our staff are some of winter’s most ardent fans. With few exceptions, they are dedicated hikers, skiers and outdoor adventure travelers, who’ve traded the hustle of larger towns and properties for the natural splendor of rural Montana. Before the first snow falls, most of the staff have purchased their season pass to Discovery Ski Area and have their skis and snowboards waxed and ready. Philipsburg is far from a bustling city, but it is continuously named one of the best secret ski towns and a “hidden gem,” alluding to the fact that sapphire mining is a popular pastime.

Our Human Resources department has this unique breed (hospitality professional meets nature lover) in mind as they hire seasonal and year-round staff for 2016. As the world’s only Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star ranch, employees at The Ranch at Rock Creek gain experience they can’t find anywhere else—meeting the high standards of the Forbes Travel Guide and Relais & Châteaux property, while mastering hobbies like horseback riding and fly fishing. If you know of someone looking for a rewarding opportunity and a top-notch resume builder, please forward our Career page and encourage them to apply quickly.

The Ranch at Rock Creek is hiring seasonal and year-round staff Read more…

Tag: photography


What’s a Ranch Rodeo? Photo Essay on a Montana Tradition

IMG_4072-2Photography by Robert A. Cole

The end of summer is on the horizon, and with it comes a seasonal change in Ranch customs. Our weekly summer barn dances and ranch rodeos stop with August as we focus more on wildlife migrations, fall fly fishing and harvest. A staff member and talented photographer, Robert Cole, spent the summer documenting our weekly Ranch at Rock Creek rodeo at Camp Roosevelt Arena. Robert traveled from Northern California to work in Montana this summer. Although he has photographed sports before, the rodeo was a new experience. Trying to balance the cultural significance with the athleticism is always a challenge. In this week’s blog, we explain the historical significance of rodeo events to modern competitions and working ranches, while Robert explains his approach to photographing this important Montana tradition.  Read more…