Farewell, Jackson and Grand Tetons…Nice to Meet You, Yellowstone!

Farewell, Jackson and Grand Tetons…Nice to Meet You, Yellowstone!

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Jackson will steal a little piece of your heart…

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Mike Rangner, Oregon-based fine art painter and photographer at the 27th Annual Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival, September 17, 2011.

File under: prophet.

Hiking Death Canyon

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I giggled on the phone when I told my mom where I was headed. (Hey, she called, and she asked! Yet as we all learned from 127 Hours, telling someone where you’re going on your hike could mean the difference between keeping and losing a limb.)

First, the drive through Grand Teton National Park to Death Canyon:

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Seconds after I snapped this photo, the bear ambled off to the right, up a steep embankment.

Suddenly, a second bear charged across the street from the left to follow the first. He was moving so frantically that I could see his fur ripple back and forth with the momentum. The pair bushwhacked up the hill until they were out of sight.

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From Dusk Until Dawn

The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar—perhaps one of the top tourist destinations in Jackson, Wyoming, as well as a locals’ hangout—it seemed packed at all hours.

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And for good reason: horse saddles as barstools, cheap beer in bottles only, knobby pine wood throughout the spacious building circa-1890, live country music (Dakota Country on the night I was there; they are from Rapid City, South Dakota!)…no wonder it’s a town hub.

Wyoming Rendezvous

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Just when I thought I’d started to fall for Aspen…I met Jackson.

The anticipation had been intense; my friend Michelle certainly talked it up, as did everyone else I told. "Oh, you’ll have fun there," seemed to be the refrain. Aright, but I seem to be having fun everywhere. The question is: could I live here?

I arrived late on Friday night and got up early on Saturday morning to catch the 16th Annual Jackson Hole QuickDraw Art Sale and Auction at the 27th Annual Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival, which began at 9:30. 

Afterward, I followed the scent of farm-fresh bacon to the farmers’ market, also in the Jackson town square:

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Where I found voluptuous confections worthy of any European bakery:

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(And learned the secrets to Bread in a Can:)

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I stayed in Teton Village, 12 miles away, at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. No fancy freshly painted sign here; old wood, weathered good:

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I made my way there in the afternoon, and hopped on the aerial tram to the top of Rendezvous Mountain…up, up, up, and away:

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I felt smaller and smaller

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as we were lifter higher and higher:

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No snow at the summit (10,450 feet)…yet:

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The sun was brilliant, the breeze was fierce, and my knuckles were white. After the requisite snaps, I ambled over to Corbett’s Cabin….

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for its trademark crispy, buttery waffles and jam to warm me up:

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Enough of this, I thought, I gotta get back in the winter. I hopped back on the tram.

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Twelve minutes and 2.4 miles later, I arrived back at the base. I walked around the corner, and checked into my lodging for the next three nights:

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In the laundry room I met a 33-year-old former reporter at Reuters who quit out of frustration and now works in finance in Manhattan; together we met a 23-year-old girl from Austria who was headed to the sold-out world-premiere of a major backcountry ski film by Teton Village-based Teton Gravity Research. We two journalists finagled tickets (easy) and accepted free Snake River Brewing Company beer (easier). Before the screening, mad giveaways and big ups to athletes:

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(The scene was nostalgic—nearly identical to that at the annual Warren Miller film, which comes to my hometown every year, though usually in November.)

Oh, and get this: the title of this epic mountain opus? One for the Road, named for the relationships formed among globetrotting extreme riders in their united pursuit of fresh pow. Blaring music, eye-boggling shots from cliffs and crags, and of course, local mountain flavor. EPIC, I SAY!

We hit the afterparty at the Mangy Moose next door. The band Trouble Andrew was so totally hip:

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In conclusion, after a great first day in Jackson, the answer to my original question is: YES, PLEASE.

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GPOYW*: I Like Big Tetons Edition
(*Gratuitous Picture of Yourself Wednesday; it’s a tumblr thing.)

GPOYW*: I Like Big Tetons Edition

(*Gratuitous Picture of Yourself Wednesday; it’s a tumblr thing.)

People ask me every day: Where do you keep the animals at night? At what elevation do elk turn into moose? — Ranger at Jenny Lake, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Jackson, Wyoming: Following orders.
Exhibit A: Long list (with updates, in black) of must-dos from former resident of three years (thanks, girrrllll!)
Exhibit B: Hand-drawn map of the fastest route between Salt Lake City and Jackson by Pat Ford of Beehive Cheese Co. I visited the artisan producers on my way out of town on Friday and got a tour, samples, and good advice; they also gifted me a wedge of their latest release (as of that week), rubbed in tea, for the road
I’ve tried to steer my journey according to insider tips and suggestions. So far, it’s all working brilliantly. Keep ‘em coming….

Jackson, Wyoming: Following orders.

Exhibit A: Long list (with updates, in black) of must-dos from former resident of three years (thanks, girrrllll!)

Exhibit B: Hand-drawn map of the fastest route between Salt Lake City and Jackson by Pat Ford of Beehive Cheese Co. I visited the artisan producers on my way out of town on Friday and got a tour, samples, and good advice; they also gifted me a wedge of their latest release (as of that week), rubbed in tea, for the road

I’ve tried to steer my journey according to insider tips and suggestions. So far, it’s all working brilliantly. Keep ‘em coming….

Ready, Set, Create!

I captured creativity in action at the 16th Annual Jackson Hole QuickDraw Art Sale and Auction during the 27th Annual Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival, September 17, 2011. The live auction following the 90-minute outdoor session in the town square slung some of these pieces by Western artists for as much at seven grand….

Cowboy painters in the zone:

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Cowboy sculptors expressing home:

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Cute foxes in the wild:

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Cute foxes in captivity:

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Two-person techniques (watercolor, coarse salt, assistant with hairdryer):

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Soundtracks for one:

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And blue unlimited, for those endless Wyoming skies:

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Cheri Honas of the Best Little Pie House in Town (Pocatello, Idaho) describes her method for Bread in a Can at the Jackson Farmers Market, Saturday, September 17, 2011. What a darling!