Cowboy Genes


A rugged Wyoming dude ranch tests citified Jason Harper against his homesteading heritage


The riders are kicking up plumes of dust in the distance, silhouettes backlit against the expanse of bald plain and comb-over scrub brush. Hooves make small explosions in the dry dirt as the wranglers blitzkrieg after runaway cows. The sound of mothers bleating for calves floats back to us on a light, cold breeze. I’m atop my own horse, impatience blooming. Our group-a collection of expectant faces topped with mint-new cowboy hats-has been stuck with guard duty, eight newbies forming an equine barricade around a dozen cows and calves. One calf is doing a slow circle around its sad-eyed mother, going nowhere. This is killing me. I’m not built for patience, and neither is Apache, my not so imaginatively named paint horse. His ears are antennaed to where the action is. Continue reading…

The Right Beach, Right Now


It’s been a stressful year. The whole world needs a vacation. Which means not just any escape will do. You want small, you want secluded, and you want sand? You want what Jason Harper found on three little islands


It starts immediately. The Caribbean has a tendency to announce itself as soon as you exit the airplane. In the British Virgins, I’m greeted by riots of greenery, the smells of cooking meat, and the warm hug of wet heat. Here it is impossible to live in more than a single state of mind. Al Qaeda who?   Continue reading…

Morocco to the Max


The best fuel for some trips is pure adrenaline. Between galloping in the High Atlas and kitesurfing off a next-big-thing beach town, Jason Harper found a nation both deeply traditional and thrillingly young

I yank hard on the reins, slowing Sakoi enough to get him turned around on the mountain road. Through the thin saddle, I can feel the energy in his ropy muscles. The last gallop has heated him like a vacuum tube; he’s in a frenzy to run.

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I’ve got a piece of that frenzy too. This gallop is what I most wanted. Minutes ago, before trading my gentle nine-year-old mount for this fine six-year-old, Hassan gave me a manful, long look and asked, “You have ridden really fast before, yes?”-and I couldn’t admit the whole truth. Sure, I’ve ridden fast before. But nothing, truly, like Sakoi.   Continue reading…