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|
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:
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:
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|
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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