Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Jackson Hole and The Grand Tetons

I know I already wrote about my 40th birthday trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming back here, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. Following are some of my favorite nature pics I've ever taken, and I'm sure it has to do with the subject material. (You can't go wrong in a National Park.) One of my goals in life is to convince people to get off their couches and go outside, put down the remote and pick up a walking stick, trade in that nasty mall taco for some trail mix (or miso soup . . . you'll see). Natural beauty can be found everywhere, and there is something so calming, elevating, even transforming about being immersed in it every once in awhile. (Or as often as possible!) Not to mention--it's free, people! Other than room and board, a trip like this will cost you NOTHING depending on how much you have/want to spend when you aren't galavanting through the mountain/beach/forest/desert. So let's hit the road:

This guy was selling some prime jerky on the side of the road. We are suckers for road side stands, so of course we stopped. (He also threw in THE BEST garlic pistachios for free because it was my berfday-yum!) When we mentioned Alien Jerky down in Baker, California (I blogged about it here) he said he knew the place very well and that it's called Alien Jerky because the guy running the business is an illegal alien! The things you find out when you stop to talk to strangers on the side of the road . . .
I have only been to Jackson Hole one other time in my life when I was about 7 months pregnant with Kate. Brandon was still finishing up his undergraduate degree at BYU, and I was working with the youth at church when I wasn't working at Dr. Clark's office. We did a big fundraiser with the youth for a "high adventure" trip to Jackson Hole. I'll never forget river rafting in a hail and lightening storm while pregnant! What I did forget was how pretty the drive is. (We were too busy listening to the Bulls and the Jazz playing in the NBA Finals on the radio. Those were the days!)
We didn't know the weekend we were going up was also the weekend of LOTOJA, the 206 mile bike race from Logan, Utah to Jackson, WY. It was fun to see at first, but soon became rather slow and annoying. I think Brandon's blood pressure was going through the sunroof, so I kept reminding him to look at the gorgeous scenery and BREATH. ("We're not in a hurry, honey. We're on VACATION!") His partner was among the hundreds of bikers, but we never saw him:

Shortly after I took this next picture we picked up a hitch hiker who needed a ride into Jackson. (We have some interesting hitch hiker stories. You should try it some time. The most interesting was the American Indian named Elmo. We took him home and washed his suit for him. Yes, I'm serious.) This guy was a river rafting tour guide in the off season, and a ski instructor in the winter. What a life! But I wouldn't trade him places for the world.

It was this sight as we drove into town that led me to do it:
After our unexpectedly looooong drive up (thank you, LOTOJA) we immediately found a good place to eat. Yummy food is always part of a good vacation for us:

The next day we headed for the Tetons. I took about 5000 pictures at every angle imaginable. I should probably start a separate photography blog for all the nature pictures I like to take, but until I do you'll just have to indulge me:

The first signs of fall:

Bear Poop:

These were mostly picked over by the bears, but we ate a few here and there:

Loved the wildflowers and plant life everywhere:

One of Brandon's favorite back packing accessories. We brought it on our little day hike so we could have some tasty miso soup once we got to the top:

My favorite close up:

The next day we went to the National Museum of Wildlife Art. I included just a couple favorites:

It's right next to the National Elk Refuge:
More tasty food. Brandon said this was the best Rueben he's ever had. (And he's had a lot.)

While sweatshirt shopping we saw some pretty funny tees:

That night we went on a free wildlife tour through the National Park Service, but we didn't see anything as exciting as this female moose we saw right off the side of the road the day before:
It was still very pretty and we did get to hear an elk bugle. (I guess that's a big deal.) Some of my favorite pictures of the entire trip came from this tour:
Mule deer:

Look at this moon rise!

Waddell is my maiden name . . .
Our last night we went to dinner at the place everyone kept recommending, Snake River Grill, but first we checked out the By Nature Gallery and it's amazing finds. Our kids would have gone NUTS in there, but this isn't a store for children. Most of these natural treasures cost more than $50,000!

(Brandon checking his wallet to see if he's got an extra 50k in there . . .)
I had the tastiest sweet corn creme brulee at this place. I would go there again in a heartbeat:
The concierge at the hotel insisted we take this picture, plucking the little cougar off the fireplace mantle:
The next morning I did my big jump off the mountain, and then we did some last minute trinket shopping for the kids:

This is the picture everyone has to take when they go to Jackson Hole. Here's the story.
This is the place we went to no less than THREE times during our short stay:
I thought this was funny enough to snap a picture:
Even the drive home was gorgeous:

I always hate for these getaways to come to an end, but at least I like what I have to come home to!


  1. Your photos were so excellent that I feel like I was THERE! Thanks for the virtual vacation :)

    Love you.

  2. WOW! You got some great shots, what a beautiful trip! Hope you are well!


Related Posts with Thumbnails