Jackson Hole: A “Two For One” Time

“The grand difficulty is so to feel the reality of both worlds as to give each its due place in our thoughts and … eye, ever fixed on the land of promise , without looking away from the road along which we are to travel toward it.” (Augustus Hare”)

Whenever we visit Jackson Hole, Wyoming, I do not know whether it’s more appropriate to say “yippee, ride em cowboy” or “Yodel-Ay-Ee-Oooo.” For this popular town situated amidst the majestic Grand Tetons resonates strongly as both a “Wild West” town for country western enthusiasts and a cosmopolitan playground resort for the hedonistic city dweller depending on one’s point of view. You might thus feel comfortable entering the “Million Dollar Cowboy Bar” downtown for a country “ hoe down”, informally “decked out” with your ten gallon hat, leather gun belt, and western style boots. Or alternatively you’ve just flown in from a major city on a LearJet at the local airport and wish to head for the slopes with your trendy ski wear equipment purchased from the “Skinny Skis Sporting Good Store.”

So as I enter the “Antler Arch” entrance into Jackson Town Square on our current road trip, I thus feel confused about the prevailing town image. For I’ve been given the initial impression of a municipal persona embedded in wild game hunting, and a rugged pioneer spirit. Yet as I sit quietly to eat my social distancing lunch on a park bench there, I opposingly notice the gentrified ambience of trendy art galleries, fancy cafes and fashionable clothing boutiques on the streets beyond.

Apparently then, Ruth and I do not convey very well either of these tourist images described above. For as you can no doubt tell in the photographs I present below, we humbly pass through this region simply hoping to slow down a little, engage in simple conversations, imbibe in moderation, and perhaps take a hike or two.

Driving the slower road across the Grand Teton pass from the west into Jackson Hole, I took the time to stop at several picturesque overlooks.

Passing through the “Antler Arch” in Jackson Town Square, we enjoyed a brief chat with a local volunteer on horseback.

Window shopping for inexpensive souvenirs downtown, several displays “caught my eye.”

Perhaps I did want to “yodel” a little when I observed this steep hill behind our motel.

The sign next to the exhibit said to wear a mask across from the “Million Dollar Cowboy Bar.” Did they really mean to wear a western bandana?

“Stick em up cowboy. This is a holdup.”

On the road up to Grand Teton National Park, it appeared that I would be driving straight into this gigantic mountain.

Parking our vehicle at the “Jenny Lake”Visitor Center, this scenic panorama produced flashbacks of our previous hiking expeditions in the Switzerland Alps.

On a questionable weather morning for hiking, we found good luck in booking the popular “Jenny Lake” boat cruise.

We then took a well marked, one and a half mile walk on the other side of the lake to “Hidden Falls Overlook.”

Along the way, we relaxed into the soothing sounds/sights of downstream, running water. 

Nature’s Victory In Yellowstone

“Choose only one master—nature.” (Rembrandt)

Note: I wish to dedicate this blog to cousin Tim whose past  knowledge from working  at Yellowstone helped me immeasurably in writing this blog. 

Moving south into Yellowstone National Park from Montana, Ruth and I once again stood in awe at the powerful forces of nature on display here. Super heated subterranean forces expelled steam and boiling liquid into the air in a wide range of geyser fields. Wild animals roamed freely along unfenced wilderness lands often acting oblivious to nearby human encounter. A free flowing river carved its horizontal path between massive canyon walls then rapidly descended at a massive waterfall. A pristinely still lake once created by a massive volcanic eruption encircled the park interior.

Our two day visit Yellowstone visit also seemed well timed in early summer to take advantage of the expected reduction in tourist travel there as a result of the Covid -19 pandemic. Yet surprisingly all areas of the park we visited seemed surprisingly busy in spite of limited lodging/food service options and Visitor Centers being closed. Animal sightings as expected would seem to be the most popular tourist activity during our stay. A brief photographic chronology of the entire duration of this visit to Yellowstone is provided below. Enjoy the scenery.

After entering the the park via Gardiner, Montana, our first park stop took place at “Mammoth Hot Springs” area. We then walked steeply uphill along wooden paths to reach a lava strewn wasteland.

Heading south at a vehicle turnoff we spotted this grazing buffalo. I was advised then to keep my distance from the animal. Other buffalo sightings soon followed.

Other animal sightings became more common at unexpected times/places during our visit.

Stopping at “Norris”vicinity, we opted for a brief overlook view of this massive geyser basin.

Someday it might be fun to try fly fishing at Yellowstone.

Continuing toward “Old Faithful”, a series of smoking geysers midway to there captured my photographic interest.

Waiting for the suspense of an “Old Faithful” eruption, we made time for a loop route around the surrounding geyser field.

After a one hour wait , we joined a sizable crowd on benches to witness the “Old Faithful” eruption.

Proceeding east to Yellowstone Lake, we observed colorful shoreline geysers at West Thumb basin.

Stopping frequently as we traveled north and east along this serene lake , these towering peaks in the background captivated my attention.

Our tour ended at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone , where we witnessed the spectacular waterfall descent of the river along the Lower Falls Overlook at “Inspiration Point.”

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