Friday, July 26, 2013

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Ooops it's taken two weeks to post about my vacay, a record even for me. The longer I left it, the more scary that blank page became. Kevin and I left the kids with a babysitter and spent nine days in Jackson Hole, which isn't in Big Sky as I said in my last post - it's in Wyoming. No wonder I never became a travel journalist...


The Grand Tetons

Flying to Idaho for dinner

Rangers are purtier than in Yogi Bear's time (most of their job seems to be monitoringthe carparks and toilets)
Whatcha!!! Kevin bringing out the big guns for a bear attack - his bell (most other people use the bearspray first)

Where to get your fresh eggs and fireworks, including grenades. The cafe next door is a wall-to-wall tribute to the joys of having a gun
The first women to compete in the local rodeo. Jackson Hole was run by five women for many years.  And women got the vote here 51 years before the rest of the US in an effort to attract wives for the single men!

Ma Reed, owner of the local hotel, 1910, which housed the single men. The bulge in her pockets are steel knuckles. She used them to rap men over the head if they misbehaved.

Million Dollar Cowboy Bar in Jackson Hole. Saddles are the seating


Marion teaches us to fly fish



We spent five nights in Jackson Hole, staying at the Rusty Parrot and the rest of the time in Alpine (pop.2,500) an hour out of Jackson Hole, staying with friends Marion and Jack. They live on a airfield where all of the residents have a hangar and small planes. The first night we flew to dinner 20 minutes away in Idaho. It was a restaurant on another airpark. Faancy! Harrison Ford lives down the road. Faancy!

Actually Marion and Jack are not at all fancypants people. They worked many years on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Jack as a livestock trader and Marion as a milk trader. Now they live in Alpine for six months and in Ohope Beach in NZ for six months where Marion and I are both from. Eight years older than me, she was the cool girl at school and while I was putting enormous amounts of hours into sunbathing and making cinnamon toast at home on a Saturday night, Marion spent those same hours becoming a great surfer and making lifelong outdoorsy friends.

Stuff you wouldn't think about Jackson Hole:

*Most afternoons featured a dramatic thunderstorm and torrential rains - there's a reason this place is so green.

*You'll feel strangely exhausted when you get here. I didn't realise its at 6,200ft ft and spent the first day having a Woody Allen movie-thon in the hotel room (the thunderstorms also give you a good excuse for that.)

* The lamb and the venison-elk on all the menus we saw is from New Zealand. All the seafood and fish is flown in from Alaska.

*Jackson Hole is one of those places, which besides being stunning and full of wonders, is incredibly expensive. (There is even a store that sells what looks like authentic leopard skin jackets) This is the home of the $57 bison steak, the $150 white water rafting trip, the $30 funicular ride and the $300 van tour of Yellowstone Park and - and if you don't have a wonderful friend like Marion to take you fly fishing - that can cost you up to $1,000 a day with a guide.

*You'll see all the extremes here. On a four-hour vertiginous hike up a mountain we saw a runner and then a Mormon family of six carrying their gear up in a homemade plywood cart, behometh packs on their back and pushing one of their toddlers in a stroller. When the cart fell down the cliff we helped them retrieve the contents which included axes and hacksaws, stoves and inflatable rafts. They were incredibly cheerful throughout.

We saw billionaires in jets and people who live in trailers - the one elk they're allowed to shoot is a whole year's worth of dinners.

Best free stuff: Walk around Phelps Lake. Walking tour of Jackson Hole. Kayaing the Salt River with Marion. Glossy green pastures, sky-high mountains and $4million dollar country homes. All the food groups.

Best food: fresh donuts from the Snake River Grill, Tom Yum Goong from a Thai place in the an alleyway in Jackson Hole (sorry can't remember the name) and elk burgers made by our friend Marion.

And finally, a real life field of dreams story. A Kiwi David Cadenhead who did well in real estate in Jackson Hole has built a rugby field in the middle of nowhere. He is hoping that rugby teams will come from around the world and train at altitude. Good on ya mate.

Kiwi David Cadenhead on his field of dreams


The clubhouse

View from upperdeck of the Clubhouse

A rugby line- out on the field of dreams

Sorry this post looks a bit of a mess, Jackson Hole was a mish mash (pronounced mish maarsh in the US)) in a good way. Have you a vacay like that this summer?






55 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this post, my mother travelled to the States recently and has a photo of her sitting on a saddle in the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. She didn't stay in Jackson Hole as long as you, but she loved it there. It must have seemed odd yet strangely familiar to see a rugby field in what seems like the middle of nowhere!

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    1. Even funnier to have loads of Kiwis around drinking Guinness and saying Oh yeah? with an eternal question mark at the end? I felt very homesick

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  2. Welcome back Jody....your trip sounds amazing and I bet Ma Reed would have had some tales to tell..what a woman!

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  3. This looks crazy beautiful! Love the bit about giving women the vote to attract wives, made me think of 7 brides for 7 brothers!
    x Eloise - Jazzlipsandtulips

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    1. Ha ha! I remember getting that on our one Kiwi channel!

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  4. Looks like you had a fab time in Jackson Hole:) Have a good weekend Jody!
    ~Anne

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  5. Lucky you, what a fantastic holiday. BTW that last throw wasn't straight. Scrum.

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  6. Jody - welcome back and fabulous holiday! Am partial the man with the bell and the flying to dinner..

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    1. Ha! That's what I'm going to call kevin from now on in! Now I'm off to see a man w'bell!

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  7. flying to dinner, I like your style!
    Personally I'd love to go on holidays with those first rodeo chicks, they look like they'd be a real scream x

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  8. What an amazing holiday. Although I would have had to go hungry ... serious fear of flying so although I can just about get on a regular airbus, there's no way I'd have had the courage to get on that tiny plane. Yikes, sweaty palms just thinking about it!

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    1. I know! I had to pretend there was a pole holding us up from the clouds. It really is terrifying

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  9. Such a great trip
    That ranger can give me lip
    Anytime she likes
    But guarding loo hikes?
    What a low didum job
    Fit for What about Bob

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    1. Nice loos
      Nice view
      whaddaygonnado
      They had lay offs
      they seem grateful for the brochure handouts

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  10. I like Ma Reed (that's my kinda gal .. I need those brass knuckles every now and then) and I had no idea about them voting 51 years earlier! Interesting! Looks like a great trip and your photos (and the area) looks similar to the Summer SLOW post I did on our Montana trip. The bells for the bears.. gotta have them.

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    1. Probably good for sundry people who threaten to annoy one during the day too I reckon

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  11. Sounds like a great adventure!

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  12. Wow I think I need to take up rugby. I'm so you got away - I hope you are back feeling relaxed and wonderful!
    xo Mary Jo

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    1. Actually the girls at the local high school here in Oakland play it. Not for me though, I'm too much of a sooky bub

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  13. Are you sure Ma Reed wasn't really Pa Reed? Just sayin'.

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    1. Well that could be the reason she left for six years! without a word. One of her workers ran it and when she came back the hotel had been much better run , was making money (the paying guests stayed!) and she gifted it over to that worker.

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  14. Looks like you had loads of fun! No vacay for me yet. I'm banking mine for later.

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  15. Looks and sounds like you had a good trip, and without kids, what a fascinating place. I've only managed a 4 day cricket tour with everyone and everything packed into a tiny car - just building up to writing a post, it was a comedy of errors - without the comedy!

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  16. Jody,
    Love this post. Wonderful. We spent last summer's vacation in Jackson Hole and the Tetons. I wasn't expecting to love it as much as I did. The beauty of The Grand Tetons just is unmatchable! We also got over to Yellowstone which was pretty amazing too. I agree with you about the extremes! How about the huckleberry soda. Did you try that? I did love a lot of the cute shops there. Jenny Lake was gorgeous as well. Spotting a moose up close was the highlight. Did you see many animals?

    Your friends seem like they have sweet set-up! Great idea having the club there. I'd go just for the view!

    Thanks for sharing. Love seeing what everyone is up to. Totally agree about the writing block. I couldn't write anything after our trip for about 3 weeks!

    xx Kim

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    1. On our 12 hour trip through the tetons our guide was getting quite panicky that we hadn't really seen many animals! In the end we saw two 200-ib bisons - sitting right next to the women's toilets!

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  17. Great post, Jody. It looks like a great place to visit. I would love to go.

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  18. I have always wanted to visit there and Montana too. Thanks for allowing me to live vicariously through you!

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  19. What a gorgeous trip. We are pondering the same destination including a few more stops for next summer. I had no idea how expensive everything is....yikes!

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  20. cool post. A mish mash yes, but real entertaining :)

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    1. Hey not sure what to do on your google, I signed up to follow you...or something...

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  21. I've wanted to holiday on a ranch forever. Wyoming looks fabulous - sadly, can't interest the rest of the family!

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    1. I know. My eldest sighed a hugh sigh of relief when I told him he wasn't coming. He's an Oakland boy through and through, loves his pavements.

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  22. We've been in the wild west too, in Colorado and Utah - at one point only a few miles from Wyoming, and the scenery now looks very similar. Now in your own neck of the woods in SF and heading out to Napa Valley tomorrow - any tips welcome! x

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  23. It looks like a lo of fun...loved the pictures, especially the bear attack one, haha :) xx

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  24. We want to do that trip to Wyoming and Yellowstone, sounds like you had a great vaca with many stories to tell for years to come! I love the quirky parts of the trip. We took our week out to the cottage already this summer, not sure if we will go somewhere in the fall or save our remaining days for a winter vacation.....really really want to go to SoCal again.

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  25. I always look forward to your adventures-whether in a wine bar or Wyoming. These images are gorgeous. It looks like you and your husband had quite the adventure. Love that shot of you two at the top of the post. Travel is often an adventure.
    My husband and I traveled to the Caribbean earlier this month and had one adventure after another (you might like 'How I created Resort Wear Out of a Bra and a Belt'-my post today).
    Glad the bell worked on the bears!!
    Welcome back!
    xx, Heather @ Stylemindchic

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  26. What a great adventure I had never heard of here. I sure it was great to have an adults only break.lovingthe rugby pitch in the middle of nowhere. I am still chilling near. Beach with only a little time left before I return to reality.

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  27. Sounds like a great trip- and I am glad you got to have a kids free vacation! (Not that you don't love your kids, I just imagine that was nice!). I have a friend who spent his summers in Jackson Hole growing up and he always speaks very fondly of it....

    Meanwhile- we are off to Thailand this weekend! I am super excited!

    ~ Alexis Grace of North On Harper

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  28. Your photographs make the place look fantastic.
    I know that blank page feeling - especially when there are photos to be dealt with. Nevertheless - as usual - you did a great post.

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  29. Loved this and your photos. The elevation can get to you. It took me a while to get used to it!
    I've been to Jackson Hole, I need to go back.

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  30. Love the pic of Kevin waving his bell. That's enough to scare me.

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    1. That pursing of the lips really does the trick doesn't it?

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  31. LOVE these pics!! I so want to visit this place someday. I really love that plane pic :) totally awesome.

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    1. We helped to push it out of the hangar too so earned our tucker!

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  32. Looks like you had a great trip and you certainly packed plenty into your nine days with so many different activities including flying off to dinner! Now that's different. Interesting little snippets of information too like women getting the vote earlier here! Great post - have a good weekend.

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  33. I am another who withers at the sight of a blank page, so much so that starting a whole new blog feels preferable to continuing an old one...
    It's probably best not to get your eggs muddled up with your grenades...

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    1. Hilarious Ms Quotes! I would love to do an anon one but am afeared of getting them mixed up.

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  34. I can't believe you actually found a Kiwi in Wyoming! I love that photo with the mist hovering just above the ground.

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  35. I adore Jackson Hole and hope to take my family soon. What a fun getaway for you away from kids! We just returned from our annual North Carolina trek -- leaving the kids at camp for 12 days and retreating into the woods ourselves. Oh, what a glorious time it is to be away!!

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