Thursday, September 10, 2015

Jackson Hole Wyoming Trip Recap


The trip to Jackson Hole Wyoming was primarily to run the Jackson Hole Marathon.  The big plan was for me and my boss to run the race: me the marathon, him his inaugural half.  We made the trip's plans back in May and I made it to the starting line healthy -- my boss, not so much.

So here is the daily log of what we did and some odds and ends of pictures from the trip:


We both left work at about 3:45 and made the trip to Bountiful where we gathered my boss's wife and headed north.  Unfortunately, the I-15 from Bountiful to north of Ogden was nearly a parking lot. I had been encouraged to get to the packet pickup by 9:30 and the trip was supposed to take just shy of 4 hours.  With the delay in traffic, I was starting to get worried about making it on time.

Luckily we made up time on the by roads of Idaho and arrived at exactly 9:20.  The packet pickup was a ghost town and I was in and out in short order.

We then drove to the Jackson Hole Subway for a quick dinner.  Finally, we stopped into at the Virginian Lodge -- our motel for the long weekend.  

Bars and Liquor Stores -- you won't find that in Utah

Interior of the check-in area

My Room

The motel had pretty thin walls and had a little bit of a musty smell, and at $130/night it was pricey.  But that's to be expected for Jackson Hole and I actually slept pretty well.


In the morning, I ran the marathon, which you can read here.  

After the marathon I found a hostel that offered $5 showers.  I had been smart and packed extra clothes that my boss drove to the finish line for me.  So within a half hour of finishing the race, I was ready to rock.

We found a fairly cheap place to eat called the Mangy Moose.  It was a saloon of sorts and definitely had a country western flair.  The price of the food wasn't bad and I wound up having fish tacos.

After eating, my boss wanted to go on a bear hunt.  He is obsessed with seeing bears.  So we went into the Grand Teton National Forest and found a spot that overlooked a creek.  I find that if I keep walking I won't cramp up and am generally less sore the following day, so I was eager to go for a short walk.  The views of the meadow were incredible:

Teton Village

We didn't see any animals at all despite the wide viewing range.

We then headed over to the String Lake parking lot where I got some incredible pictures of the Teton Range and the lake:

A lady over heard us talking about needing an extra can of Bear Spray and apparently since she was done with her can, she gave us hers.  Score and a savings of about $40.
After visiting String Lake, we wound up making a lengthy drive to Yellowstone.  I couldn't believe that I was actually in the fabled park of Yellowstone.

We did manage to see a group of huge elks by the side of the road:

We wound up doing some hiking at Elephant Back Trail. Recently there was a grizzly attack there and I think my boss was hoping he'd run into something. I reluctantly went along and it was really quiet yet beautiful on the trail.  Fortunately, we didn't run into any bears but did spy another deer:

After visiting the trail we drove around some more and ran into a couple of buffalo taking up the main portions of the road, causing a good backup!

We wound up visiting Artist Point and the Sulfur Cauldrons before we turned around and started to head back.  

We wound up eating at a cafe right on the shore of Lake Yellowstone.  It was near closing time and I was certainly glad to be able to get some real food -- I had been pigging out on Chips A'Hoy cookies all afternoon.  

It certainly got chilly and I was glad I had brought a jacket:

Lake Yellowstone

Lake Yellowstone


In the morning, we grabbed a super quick bite to eat at the Jackson Hole McDonalds.  Normally, I loathe that place, but their breakfast isn't bad.  I wound up cramming down some cakes and eggs.

We drove out to bear country and hiked the Emma / Matilda Trail, which put another 9+ miles on my marathon weary legs.  I really enjoyed this hike but my nerves were always on wit's end.  I carried my Bear Spray like it was a pistol... glad I didn't need to use it.

After the hike we drove around a bit more in search of bears.  We saw some along the way back but they were along the main drag and it was hard to get a good shot of the bears feeding off the trees.

That night my boss made reservations for the Bar J Chuckwagon.  This appears to be a Jackson Hole tradition and reservations were highly recommended.  My boss had been to the show before but I had not.  Basically the chuckwagon is a dinner + comedy + singing show.  

The food consisted of a baked potato, corn break, a spice cake, a meat selection (in my case a veggie patty) and baked beans.  The food wasn't bad at all.

The show portion was done by about 5 guys who had a variety of talents.  There was some Benny Hill-esq comedy, some singing of classic western songs and musical features which showcased the talents of each of the members.  

For a Sunday night, the hall was about 85% full and the show was really worth attending.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and even if you aren't a country music aficionado, it still will be entertaining:

The meat grilling section

My food


On Monday, I woke up early and made a chilly run to the downtown area.  I was totally NOT going to leave Jackson Hole without getting pictures of the downtown area - even if I had to limp through it.

After cleaning up, we drove out to Jenny Lake and did a hike in Cascade Canyon.  Truly awesome.  On the way there we saw quite a few bears climbing around eating berries.  I didn't get any good shots of them unfortunately as crowds had gathered.  I did snap some pictures of the area while driving around though:

We didn't leave the area until after 3 and we wound up making a stop at Arctic Circle in Soda Springs Idaho.  I didn't get home until after 9pm.  

This was an incredible weekend and I was really glad to have an experienced guide at my disposal.  I can't wait to go back again and we are already planning another race up there!

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