The love my friend Andrew has for Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is so evident in his photography and in his stories of his adventures there. He has spent much time throughout his life in Jackson Hole, as his family has a tradition of meeting there during the summer. I asked him to share some of his photos and some history about Jackson Hole. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
In the northwest corner of the state of Wyoming (not China), Jackson Hole is a valley nestled in between the Teton Mountain range to the west, Yellowstone National Park to the north, Teton National Forest and the Gros Ventres Wilderness to the East, and the Bridger National Forest to the south. Surrounded by wilderness, humans did not occupy the valley year-round until the 1870′s.
A seemingly remote destination, any way you decide to set forth into Jackson Hole is an experience in itself, largely due to the amazing views and the sense of truly getting into the wild. However, when you touch down at the airport, pull into the cities of Jackson (the only incorporated town in the valley) or Teton Village (the town surrounding Jackson Hole Mountain Resort known for its steep terrain and North America’s Ski Area with the highest vertical drop), you realize there are parts of the valley that are well trodden. In the midst of the summer tourist season it is difficult to find the hidden treasures and get away from the crowds; most treasures were uncovered and marketed to the worldly tourist years ago.
The valley is popular for good reason. The splendor of the indigenous wildlife and the natural scenery is unparalleled, and even led to a conflict over the killing of elk and the use of their teeth for jewelery. This practice was outlawed by the state of Wyoming in the early 1890′s for fear of the Elk becoming extinct in the valley, which led to a conflict known as the Bannock war of 1895. Unfortunately, conflicts in the region of Wyoming were not limited to the Bannock War. The region has been a battle ground on many occasions due to the conflicting interests of ranchers, hunters and conservationists over the years.
A visit to Jackson Hole without seeing moose, deer, bison and elk is unlikely especially if you time your trip during the late summer and early fall. Bison seem ubiquitous at times; my grandmother even nicked one with her car one summer. The bison was fine. The Toyota needed a new bumper.
In addition to the splendor and largely due to the growing popularity of the area as a tourist destination, the roster of activities is large and growing. One can hike, bike, climb, fish, boat (canoe, sail, kayak, whitewater raft), paddle board, para-glide, camp, and I’ve been told the shopping is quite good if you are so inclined.