Connie and Mack Long
Montana is blessed with many invaluable natural resources on her landscape. Some of the most splendid and magnificent resources, vistas and pristine areas are those found in wilderness. Mack and Connie have developed a deep appreciation for them and want to be able to share that wealth with those that otherwise might not be able to enjoy them.
Connie took her first wilderness pack trip with Mack over 25 years ago. Since then, she has taken numerous educational classes to further her passion for visiting the wilderness on horseback. She is a past president of Missoula Back Country Horsemen and currently is the Montana State Chairman. She is a Leave No Trace (Stock) Master Instructor and has taught numerous students over the years. She began guiding in 2007. Connie is a BSN trained Registered Nurse and maintains an active license with the State of Montana and stays up to date with current medical practices.
Mack has BS degrees in Fish and Wildlife Biology and Administration of Justice. He has worked professionally for over 30 years managing, protecting and perpetuating the natural resources of Montana. During his years in fish and wildlife management throughout the state, he has been fortunate to work in every wilderness area in Montana. As a result, he has logged thousands of miles in the backcountry on horses and mules. Mack is also a Leave No Trace (Stock) Master Instructor and has taught Wilderness Skills since 2001.
Both Connie and Mack are active in Wilderness protection and education.
We can’t thank Smoke and Thelma Elser enough for being our mentors, friends and advisers. They have shared with us their nearly 60 years of outfitting experience, knowledge and history. To say that their help and guidance is priceless is an understatement. Smoke still goes with us on pack trips whenever he can and continues to work hard for the wilderness he loves. Smoke is the author of Packing in on Horses and Mules. This is a book that anyone who wants to be a packer should read. It has been in print for 3 decades and is used as a reference book for several classes, including his own Packing Class that he holds every January to March.
Our daughter, Ehvee, works with several aspects of our Outfitting business. She helps year round at the ranch and is invaluable when it comes to getting all the food and kitchen ready before each of our summer pack trips. She takes care of things when we are gone on trips and handles calls and emails from our guests during that time as well. In 2015 she will be overseeing our “Edge of the Wilderness” 1 to 4 day vacation stays at our “End of the Road” trailhead facilities on the North Fork of the Blackfoot River.
Chris is our lead packer, wrangler and guide. He is very experienced which makes him a real asset. He is great to have around camp and is always willing to carry on a conversation, help you get ready to go fishing or taking you for a day ride. Chris works his summers and fall for us and then uses his skills as a cabinet maker working in his family cabinetry business.
Kristy has been with us for a few years now and we are really fortunate to have her as part of our team. She is a real asset as she can help with all aspects of the business, from cooking, to wrangling, packing and will be guiding in 2016. She loves the wilderness and sharing this wonderful place with our guests. She is a graduate of the University of Montana and teaches horsemanship and shows horses in her off time.
Jackson is currently a student at the University of Montana. He worked his first summer for us in 2014 and plans to be back in the wilderness with us again this year, 2015. Jackson helps with the pack string, setting up camp and caring for the stock while we are in the wilderness. He is willing to give a helping hand anywhere needed. In the evening, around the campfire, Jackson is a very talented guitar player and sings. He is developing a real love for the wilderness and is taking classes at the university to enhance his knowledge of protection, preservation and resource management.
Cloy is Ehvee’s husband. He has grown up in the Mission Valley, where the ranch and base of operations is located. Cloy has extensive ranch experience. He is an asset when it comes to taking care of the stock that is left at home, transporting the stock to the trail heads and is quickly learning to be a wrangler in the back country.
Avery is Mack and Connie’s grandson. He joined the crew in 2015. He is currently 8 years old and spent 21 days in the wilderness on pack trips the summer of 2015. Avery is quickly becoming a valuable crew member. He helps our guests set up their cots, pitch their tents, he helps in the kitchen and he works with the wranglers in caring for the stock while in camp. He has learned that he loves fishing and will be soon a valuable fishing guide.
Oliver is also Mack and Connie’s grandson. Oliver is currently 6 year years old. He hasn’t been able to go on the wilderness trips just yet, but he is apprenticing with the behind the scenes chores of gettng a trip ready to go.
Andee came to help us the summer of 2015 for the first time. She has several years of working for another outfitter while she was going to school working on an RN degree. She has now graduated and is working at a hospital in the Mission Valley. Andee loves the wilderness and the outfitting business. She is always looking for a trip where she can come an help. She is well rounded in her skills where she is able to help with the stock wrangling and in the camp kitchen. We are very lucky to have her on board and will use her help whenever she can.
Brandon came to work for us for the first time the summer of 2015. Brandon is really talented in that he is a diesel mechanic and has help us keep our vehicles and trailers in tip top shape. He also loves the wilderness and is learning to be a packer and wrangler. Because Brandon has his own career, we only have him for short periods of time during our operating season. We welcome each time we can have him help out. Brandon and Kristy were married September 2015.
Jeff is a great asset in every aspect of the outfit. Jeff helps with planning, packing, wrangling and is a valued adviser to our business. Jeff was a wrangler and packer for Smoke Elser some 35 years ago while attending the University of Montana. Jeff has his Ph.D and worked as a research biologist in Australia for nearly 30 years. When he’s not busy with us he teaches Anatomy & Physiology and has a Biological Education and Research consulting business.
Sandy has been helping Connie and Mack for several years now. She is a cook and wrangler when Connie and Mack take separate trips. She is a wealth of help for new riders who are on their first horseback trip. Sandy is a therapeutic riding instructor in her free time. She has a Master’s degree from the University of Montana.