File under: prophet.
Hiking Death Canyon
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
Where I found voluptuous confections worthy of any European bakery:
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:
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:
I felt smaller and smaller…
as we were lifter higher and higher:
No snow at the summit (10,450 feet)…yet:
The sun was brilliant, the breeze was fierce, and my knuckles were white. After the requisite snaps, I ambled over to Corbett’s Cabin….
for its trademark crispy, buttery waffles and jam to warm me up:
Enough of this, I thought, I gotta get back in the winter. I hopped back on the tram.
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:
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:
(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:
In conclusion, after a great first day in Jackson, the answer to my original question is: YES, PLEASE.
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:
Cowboy sculptors expressing home:
Cute foxes in the wild:
Cute foxes in captivity:
Two-person techniques (watercolor, coarse salt, assistant with hairdryer):
Soundtracks for one:
And blue unlimited, for those endless Wyoming skies: