Apache Junction Seekers

Al and Linda enjoy visiting new places and having new experiences. In 2006, we spent 4 months in Europe and originally created this blog to keep friends and family informed. After a long delay, I'm trying to catch up with what we've been doing since then and hope to carry on into the future.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Jackson Hole Wyoming, one of those place names that evokes scenic views, the place where the mountain men had their fabled rendezvous, an area teeming with wildlife, the “old west” (whatever that might be) and today, one of the narcissistically self-described “last best places” where rich people have homes that they use a few days a year. Son Alfred and his wife Mindy had vacationed there three years before and were quite taken with it, so we decided we had to see it for ourselves and find out what the attraction was.

A day trip from Idaho Falls takes you along the Snake River, which becomes more and more scenic as you travel toward its source at Jackson Lake. I have never seen such a density of ospreys and osprey nests with occupants. On much of this trip, whenever we have been near water, we’ve been seeing ospreys, but this area along the Snake River had more than any other single stretch we traveled.

The river also becomes more and more populated with fishermen in small river boats, fishermen along the shore, kayaks, canoes, small rafts, big rafts, and generally a lot of people enjoying their vacations. Lots of people. The scenic highway was full of RVs and motorcycles.

The town of Jackson itself was a scene of virtual gridlock-- jaywalkers, jammed parking lots, sidewalks overflowing with humanity going from here to there in a daze, lots of cute gift shops and restaurants. You have a lot of time to examine the pedestrians and the shops and restaurants while you're sitting in traffic. In short, the kind of place we avoid like the plague.

Slightly traumatized, we continued driving past town toward Grand Teton National Park. Once you get past the north end of Jackson, the scenery changes and the Tetons jab into the sky across the valley. The Teton Range extends a comparatively short distance but it is incredibly spectacular, rising from the valley floor in sheer rock faces to form this jagged skyline.

I remember reading a comment once that the old French trappers who named the range must have been a long time without women to liken these peaks to a woman’s bosom. Either that or they’d had some really bad experiences with the opposite sex.

Amazingly, we had excellent cell phone coverage. Or maybe not so amazingly since I imagine that the rich folks who infest the Jackson area insist on their city perks. On the way back to town, I called Mindy to ask her what we should be looking at to understand why they had found the area so wonderful. In the course of the conversation, we both realized the problem: their visit had been in September when all the crowds had gone home. She told us where to find the Jackson Hole ski area where they had taken a tram ride to the top since I wanted to do the same. Al really doesn’t enjoy these things as much as I do, but bless his heart, he always gamely accompanies me.

Alfred and Mindy and the grandchildren had emerged from the tram into the iciness of a September snow squall. This day was almost perfect, with a few clouds to set off the views. As you can see from these shots, the flowers were still blooming at the 10,400-foot level to which the tram takes you.

Here’s the view down the tramway. A long way down.

There were a number of parasailers riding the wind currents down to the bottom. I would love to be able to do that but I’m afraid my bionic knees wouldn’t survive the landing. Better to take the tram back down again.

The ski area is in the Teton Village area, away from Jackson proper, and does have a totally different feel to it, less hectic, but certainly just as luxurious, with residential prices rising into the stratosphere. Who wouldn't like to be able to live here?

On the way back to Idaho Falls from Teton Village, we drove over Teton Pass which tops out at an elevation of 8431 feet. Not only is it nice and winding, there were lots of signs like this one. Good thing we didn't have the motorhome.


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