Brand: The Lost Lake Ranch (aka, the Double L) brand is an L and H representing Lost Lake and the Harpers.
Cody Harper, Antoinette Harper
Cody and his twin sister, Antoinette, own equal parts of one-half of the ranch. Jess Harper is sole owner of the other half.
Foreman: Rory McKenna
Harrison “Hap” Forest and his wife, Margaret, worked as the ranch’s foreman and housekeeper for John Caleb Harper. After his death, they stayed on at Chance Harper’s request. In 1874, Hap decided to retire. However, he and Maggie remain as “consultants,” helping out when and where needed.
- Income Livestock: Cattle, Horses
- Subsistence Livestock: Chickens, Geese, Ducks, Goats, Milk Cows, Bison (hunting restricted), Rabbits
- Farm Products: Eggs, Wheat, Hay, Garden Vegetables, Medicinal and Kitchen Herb Gardens.
Size: 500,000 acres (781.25 square miles)
Location: 48°16’08.5″N 114°30’23.2″W; Northwest of the town of Kalispell.
- Main House to Ishmael’s Gate (pass): 8 miles
- Main House to Kalispell: 15 miles
- Ranch Boundary to Kalispell: 5 miles
- Ishmael’s Gate to Kalispell: 6 miles
Terrain and Topography
Lost Lake Ranch’s primary facilities and the main house are located in the Chogun Valley. The valley itself is cradled within the Chogun Mountains, a semi-circular subset of the Salish Range. The highest mountain peaks are on the two opposing arms and appear to be facing one another. Their names are Ishmael and Kimi.
The majority of the 500,000 acres is rugged and mountainous. It is well-watered by numerous glacier-fed creeks, streams, rivers, small lakes and Lost Lake that lies in the northwest of the valley.
Ishmael’s Gate and Harper Meadow
Chogun Valley is surrounded by the Chogun Mountains which provide a near impenetrable natural barrier to the valley. The only easy access is via a mountain pass called Ishmael’s Gate. The pass is the result of the collapse of the Chogun Caldera, natural erosion and the Chogun River cutting a gorge through the eastern arm of the mountains. The road winds its way high above the river, following it to a broad meadow that forms the eastern boundary of the ranch.
In recent years, Chance Harper had the road above the gorge widened, and a split rail fence acts as a guard rail. The fence has been whitewashed to make it visible at night.
Ishmael’s Gate widens out into a wide, gently rolling meadow. It is roughly a mile wide and marks the ranch’s eastern boundary. The meadow is known as Harper Meadow. It is used as a mustering area for cattle and horse drives and for summer grazing. The Harpers have never objected to local ranchers using the meadow when they have need of the extra grazing land.
Blackbird Lodge (Main House)
The main house is a rambling ranch-style home located in a small basin called Snowlight Basin that lies on the mountain overlooking Chogun Valley and Lost Lake. The home has two floors of living area and a basement that houses the boilers, root and cold cellars. It is heated by a combination of fireplaces and radiation (steam) heat. Several waterfalls and a windmill provide hydro and wind power to the home (no electricity).
There are the usual array of paddocks, stables, barns, corrals, and work sheds, and other outbuildings. The ranch provides two bunkhouses for single hands and cabins for hands with families. There is also a larger cabin for the ranch foreman.