Friday, March 13, 2009

Jackson, Wyoming

(Hidden Falls)

I think it's important to have a fun escape location, one that's fairly close, but far enough away that it is an escape. ;) There are a few places like this that I love to visit, and as you may have guessed by now, Jackson, Wyoming is one such area.

I remember going to Jackson as a kid. It always seemed like a great adventure. Not only did our family possess the same name (my maiden name is Jackson) but there was so much to see and do. We would ride a boat across nearby Jenny Lake and enjoy hiking up the mountain side to see Hidden Falls or if you were really adventurous, hiking further up the trail to the impressive Inspiration Point. The view from this lookout is gorgeous. And depending on the time of year you embark upon this adventure, huckleberries line the trail, a tasty snack as you hike.

One year as our family made this climb, one of my younger sisters found a small huckleberry patch and made the most out of eating every berry in sight. A couple of tourists walked along the trail and totally freaked.

"Little girl, you are not supposed to eat berries in the forest!" one of them exclaimed.

My sister gave them both a disgusted look and said: "Lady, these are huckleberries." Turning, she consumed another handful. =) My mother then made an appearance; she had walked back down the trail to find my sister when she realized Heather was missing . . . again. She assured the troubled tourists that all was well, and encouraged them to sample the delicious purple berries for themselves. Fun memories of a most excellent day. ;)

I remember staying one year at the Colter Bay Lodge at Jackson Lake and absolutely loving it. Our family stayed in a rustic cabin and we all enjoyed this great adventure. It was like reliving the wild west, or so I thought at that tender age. =D

During another adventure, my family thought it would be great fun to ride the tram in Teton Village. I've always been plagued by a lovely fear of heights. One of my earliest memories is riding a tall Ferris wheel with one of my uncles when I was about three and screaming in an endearing fashion. ;) Since that time, heights have not been my friend. But I bravely went along with my family the day we rode the tram. I'm ashamed to admit I spent most of that trip huddling on the floor so I couldn't see how high up we were. Not one of my stellar moments, but I understand the view if one had looked, was spectacular. =D

In the years that followed, Jackson has been a fun place to visit. The town itself has so many things to see and do. Filled with fun shops that cater to tourists, you could spend a couple of days just browsing in all of them. There are also fun art galleries, a nifty bookstore, and great places to eat.

For several years, my husband served as an EMT here in Bear Lake. This is a volunteer organization in our community, but one of the perks was the annual EMT conference held in Jackson, Wyoming. My husband and I looked forward to it each year. After sticking someone with our kids, (we called this quality bonding moments with the grandparents, aunts, etc.) we would leave for 2-3 days to thoroughly enjoy ourselves in this vacation hot spot. While my husband dutifully attended his classes each day, I would wander the shops with some of the other wives who were also there for this same conference. Since these conferences usually took place during the winter months, the fun shops weren't crowded and we could window shop to our hearts' content.

One year we ladies entered a store filled with expensive fur coats. Everything in that store was way out of our price range, but we had fun trying them on anyway and modeling for each other. ;) Then we'd find a candy store, or an ice cream parlor and enjoy a tasty treat as we continued to explore. At night, we would rejoin our husbands and savor a wonderful meal at one of the local restaurants. Our selections ranged from delicious Mexican food, to Chinese, to BBQ, depending on everyone's current mood. The important thing was, a good time was had by all.

We've taken our sons to Jackson quite often through the years. They've always enjoyed places like the famed Jackson Fish Hatchery, seeing the Elk Refuge, or buying treasures at the Jackson Visitors' Center.

They've also enjoyed seeing or experiencing everything I listed earlier. In Jackson, there is always something to go do or see. Not only does this scenic mountain village offer great photo opportunities, but it also provides lots of cultural events like free concerts, mountain man rendezvous, historical re-enactments, and art fairs, depending on the time of year.

During the winter months, snowmobile races are a hot attraction, or so my husband tells me. =) Basically, one watches as brave snowmobilers attempt to climb one of the local ski hills. Good times. ;)

If you feel adventurous, there are helicopter tours, river rafting adventures, skiing, and snowmobile tours, depending on the time of year. There are also a plethora (this means a lot) of fun campsites all around this area.

Myself, I enjoy Jackson for a variety of reasons. Since I'm a little bit of a shutter-bug (okay, I take my camera everywhere, always waiting for a fine photo moment) I love going to Jackson to capture the scenic beauty. We usually drive through Snake River Canyon to get to Jackson and it is always gorgeous, no matter what time of year you see it.

I also enjoy trying the different kinds of food available in Jackson. I mean, how often do you get a chance to enjoy a tasty buffalo burger? ;)

I also enjoy Jackson Town Square with my husband, enjoying the sights, sounds, and fun shops at night. To me, this is a romantic setting. This is especially fun around Christmas time. Even the famed elk horn arch is covered with lights, making it an added attraction.

So, if you're looking for a fun place to de-stress, I heartily recommend Jackson. There is something for everyone in this fun town, and even though some things are quite pricey, you can still find frugal ways to enjoy this area. As I've mentioned, I love just walking through the art and photo galleries, window shopping, and savoring the atmosphere. Since I also enjoy people watching, there are usually plenty of those to observe. ;) And places like the Elk Refuge, don't charge a penny to view their featured critters. There are a lot of other things to do for free that are enjoyable. Sometimes it's just good for the soul to get away and bask in the beauty our Creator provided for us in this world. Words to live by. =)

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Jennie said...

Cheri, I love the Jackson area too and have some special memories of the area, but I think I like the other side of the park even better. I love Mack's Inn, West Yellowstone, and all of that area. It doesn't seem to be quite as crowded or commercialized.

Cheri J. Crane said...

You have a point, Jennie. =) Island Park and West Yellowstone seem to be a more relaxed environment. But as you said, I love the Jackson area, too. ;)

Doran & Jody said...

Oh Cheri!!! Why do you keep going to my favorite places and you don't take me? Whoa is meeee....
I'm glad you had fun!

Cheri J. Crane said...

Hi Jody. Sounds like we'll have to take a road trip someday. I think we'd have a blast. ;)