Until last week, we had only been to Jackson, Wyoming in the winter. The landscape is hidden, covered in snow and if you are not skiing or snowboarding, you are spending all your time bundled up inside. When it’s below zero outside it's hard to imagine staying outdoors for more than two seconds. This time around, Shane and I ventured out to Jackson for a week during the summer and let me tell you: What. A. Difference. We basically didn't go inside the house except to sleep! Our week was jam-packed with hiking, biking, swimming, golfing, and staring directly at the sun.
Jackson was right in the path of totality, so we had a few buddies come up from Texas to meet with us and watch the solar eclipse together. Prior to getting to Jackson, we kept reading in the news that conditions there were going to be similar to that of doomsday. Because so many people were expected to visit for the eclipse, authorities were claiming that grocery stores shelves were going to be bare, gas stations were going to run out of gas, traffic was going to run for miles on end, and there would be absolutely no room available anywhere. Luckily that was not the case. A lot of the locals we talked to actually said that it was a little quieter than your average summer weekend! We hiked up the wildflower-covered ski runs and found a nice patch to settle down and wait for TOTALITY. It certainly did not disappoint. Can you become a solar eclipse groupie? Is that a thing? This was my second solar eclipse ( the first one for me was when I was living in Germany in 1999) so I feel like I am. And now that I know the next one is in Austin 2024, I plan to head there for another viewing party!
I'm just going to give you a brief synopsis on our hiking experiences in Jackson because if I was to go into detail, it would take several long posts. There are SO MANY hiking trails in Jackson. You are in National Park Mecca: you're literally in the Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone is only an hour away. The sun is shining; the Tetons are looming, moose, bears, bobcats, goats, chipmunks, and all other woodland creatures are out and about frolicking. (Luckily we did NOT see any bears) There is just no way you can stay indoors when this much nature is right on your doorstep. One of our favorite routes is the hike to Phelps Lake. We started off from the Granite Canyon Trailhead and hiked the 5 miles to the lake. It was absolutely beautiful and definitely worth being out of breath from the high altitude. A giant, crystal clear lake nestled into the Teton mountain range, what's not to love? There's even a big boulder on one side of the lake that you can jump from into the icy waters below.
If you’re an avid bike rider, Jackson is the place for you. The valley has 56 miles of paved bike trails and 115 miles of mountain bike trails. On one of our “days off“, we took what was supposed to be just a leisurely bike ride that became an all day biking expedition. Starting out at Teton Village you can take the main bike path all the way to downtown Jackson Hole. Once in town, you can rest your weary legs with an ice cold coffee and a tasty snack. We biked a total of 25 miles, which is probably the longest ride I have ever done in my life. It was so much fun and the hills were not too strenuous.
Downtown Jackson Hole. What a place. You can get anything here: from a piece of art worth thousands of dollars to a fur bikini (yes, you read that right). The town square is surrounded by a number of cute shops, bars, cafes, and restaurants, and standing over the town square's four corners are giant arches made up entirely of elk antlers. The National Elk Refuge is located only a mile from downtown, boy scouts go and collect the antlers that have been shed to add to the arches. It's a pretty cool sight that looks like something out of a True Detective. While we were in town, we bought tickets to one of The North Face's Speaker Series at the Pink Garter Theater. Extreme sports athletes partner up with The North Face and are filmed doing outrageous crazy things like this. Truly inspiring stuff!
So that was just a little recap on what we did in the beautiful town of Jackon Hole, Wyoming. It was far too brief but was a good warm up for what is to come. We will be doing a full guide in partnership with Ketums in a few weeks, so keep an eye out for that!
Until next time,
-Anna & Shane