Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Jackson and the Tetons

One of my weekends off I took a trip down to Jackson. It was one of the most fun adventures I have had here this summer. I started my 3.5 hour long drive down to Jackson right after work. I reached Grand Teton National park two hours later. When first arriving in the park, not far from the gate, I encountered a growing forest fire just 300 yards off the road with the Teton Fire crews trying to control it. I parked by the side of the road for only a couple minutes, but got to see a helicopter with fire retardant hanging from it take off to the fire. I then rounded a bend which allowed me to look out over Jackson Lake and see my first view of the Tetons.
They were spectacular! I have never seen such a dramatic rise of mountains in my life! The glaciers were still upon the tallest peaks, and the sun setting behind them produced a golden glow on the horizon. I drove on through the Tetons on my way to Jackson with a wonderful view for the next hour on my drive through the park. John M describes the Tetons as so sublime, that no matter how many times you see or drive near them, you have to take a picture. I agree entirely.
John K, another bear ranger at Tower, lives in Jackson during the spring, fall and winter, as well as most of the weekends during the summer. So he has a house there. He was very generous in letting me stay at his place, which I had all to myself, for my time spent in Jackson.
I began my first day in the Tetons, with a 2.5 hour kayak trip to an island in the middle of Jackson lake. When I arrived at the marina, I encountered a problem I had not expected. Apparently you had to be 21 to rent a boat! I managed to convince the boat renters that because I was only 1 month away, I was just as responsible as any 21 year old. I also flashed my NPS ID. That might have helped too. The whole kayak ride there, there were spectacular sights of the Tetons themselves. I kayaked to the island, beached my boat, and did a small hike along the Island.
Next I headed to Jenny Lake. I had seen a canyon on my way in the night before that I said to myself "I want to hike there!" So that morning I had looked at a topo map to find out which canyon that was. It turned out to be Cascade canyon, with the trail head on the opposite side of Jenny lake. I took the boat over to the trail head, passed by Hidden falls and Inspiration point and made my way into the canyon. It was beautiful! The seclusion and grandeur of the canyon would take your breath away.
Next on the list was hiking to the top of signal mountain, which was beautiful at sunset.
The next day I met up with Shannon Sullivan, a Mount Holyoke alumna who works at the Jackson Historical Society. She showed me their cache of historical artifacts. Some of which included a metal violin (presumably playable once fixed up a bit), a bottle of 100+ year old Tequila, and a really really old box of rice krispies.
After lunch, I headed to Snow King (a ski resort) to try out their alpine slide. It is 1.5 miles of downhill gravitational fun. That night I went to the Grand Teton Music festival where I heard some of the great musicians of the country who play together as an orchestra, play a Brahms piano concerto and Rachmaninoff's 3rd symphony in Teton Village.
That was the end of my stay in Jackson. Photo Album of Jackson trip is posted below.


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Myself in my uniform from a couple of years ago. I wear normal clothes to the office now.