August 31, 2009
Visiting Montana and Ted Turner at his wonderful ranch
I recently found myself in Montana, visiting Ted Turner at his wonderful ranch there. Ted Turner, as you may already know, is a media mogul and philanthropist. He is the founder of the cable television network CNN and he supports United Nations causes. He is also an environmentalist and generously devotes his assets help protect it. Ted Turner owns more land than any other American - 2.2 million acres! He uses much of that land to re-popularize bison, which is leaner and healthier for you than beef, and he now boasts the largest herd in the world. Ted owns a chain of restaurants called Ted's Montana Grill, where that delicious bison is offered on the menu.
The purpose of the journey, along with my television crew, was to learn from him all about his environmental concerns and his extraordinary efforts in restoring endangered species to the planet. We spent two full days with Ted and he generously gave a real guided tour through some of America's most beautiful places. The cast of characters was:
Ted Turner - our gracious host
Martha Stewart - the host of my TV show
Kevin Sharkey - executive editorial director of decorating at MSLO
Jill and Dan Dienst - friends and Western fanatics
Mary Curran - hair and makeup artist
Betsy Perreten - Bedford stable manager
Please enjoy these photos and be sure to check out tomorrow's blog for more adventures in Montana!
1 After landing at the airport in Montana, we saw this old single-engine crop duster on the tarmac.
2 Mary Ann VanDerventer - unit manager - field dept. of TV - met us at the airport and chauffeured us to the ranch.
3 We stopped in Dillon, the first little town we came to, for a snack. Dillon may have a population of under 4,000, but it is a happening place.
4 Sweetwater was a very nice coffee, gift, and antiques store.
5 Kevin and Mary tried on vintage glasses and hammed it up a bit.
6 There is gambling in Dillon.
7 Dan Dienst and Kevin Sharkey - leaving the coffee shop in Dillon
8 The big sky we all hear and dream about is present in Montana!
9 And the views are breathtaking.
10 Our very first sighting of bison
11 A hungry red-tailed hawk is perched with its prey - poor little mouse.
12 The red-tailed hawk has left its perch.
13 Here it comes.
14 A small deer watches the hawk.
15 It landed again on a fence post with its prey.
16 Here we are at the ranch.
17 My wireless was not functioning in Montana and I had to dictate on the phone, my entire Martha Stewart Living column for October, which I had written on the plane!
18 Our guest ranch where we all slept for three nights - the telephone was in keeping with the decor.
19 There was lots of taxidermy here and there.
20 Mary Ann loved these long-horned goats.
21 Donna Tate McDonald, owner of the guest ranch, Upper Canyon Outfitters www.ucomontana.com, me, and Val - a school teacher from New Jersey, who works with her husband at the ranch every summer.
22 Laurie Hepburn - TV producer and me, ready for the hiking episode
23 I love this photo of me - bandannas are my thing!
24 Jill Dienst, who joined us for the trip, looked happy and healthy in the mountain air.
25 And Mary Curran, too
26 Upon arrival at 9,000 feet, we were informed that we would be embarking on a brief hike to see the flora of the surrounding area - many wild flowers were still in bloom. Betsy, my stable manager, felt at home in Montana.
27 Gary, Dave, and one of the crew high up the mountain hillside
28 A scabiosa flower topped off with a butterfly
29 We have not yet identified this berry - the plant looks like a bunchberry.
30 lt looks like a moose slept here the night before.
31 A gorgeous view of the mountains to the north.
32 Donna and I descended the mountain before the others. She knows a lot about the area having lived and guided there for many years.
33 I was so happy to get a bottle of water! When hiking or walking at high altitudes it is imperative to drink a lot of water!
34 Kevin and Mary were always posing for photos. Mary had packed all my makeup and hair supplies in a new backpack.
35 A great photo of Kevin
36 Kevin and Jill dressed for our first dinner with Ted Turner