Welcome to our 200th travel blog post!!
We left Shoshone National Forest and made the steep climb over the Togwotee Pass, crossing the Continental Divide westward. Our excitement grew as our first glimpse of the Grand Tetons came into view. We passed a large 24,700 acre national elk refuge where 7,500 elk live. Each spring Boy Scouts gather up antlers in the refuge which are then sold at an auction in Jackson. Half of the proceeds go to the Boy Scouts and the other half is used by the town to provide food for the elk during the long cold winter.
Our destination was Jackson, Wyoming. It was known as Jackson Hole until the modern zip code system forced the name be changed to Jackson. Our campground was located outside of Jackson in Wilson. There are not many campgrounds in the Jackson Hole area and most are located outside of town and ridiculously high priced. The campsites are very close together, reminding us of why we love to camp in state and national parks and forests.
Jackson Hole gets its name from fur trapper Davey Jackson, one of many fur trappers and mountain men who inhabited the area in the 1800’s. The town itself was established in 1894.
Occasionally tourists come to Jackson Hole and want to know where the “hole” is. There is no hole, it is called Jackson Hole because it is located in a valley bordered by mountain ranges. The town is actually forty eight miles long and eight to fifteen miles wide with the Snake River meandering through the town. Since 97% of the surrounding Teton County is public land, real estate and housing costs there are very high. The main industry is tourism, with two thirds occurring during the summer season and one third during the winter ski season.
Jackson Hole has a lot of businesses crammed into a small area. Traffic is heavy and you have to be very careful not to hit one of the many tourists flooding the streets and sidewalks.
One place of interest was Jackson Square, a park where they have an entryway of elk antlers at each of the four corners. People were enjoying the cool shade and a band of some sort was playing one day when we drove by.
While in Jackson Hole we wanted to go whitewater rafting on the Snake River. The rafting company picked us up at our campground at 6:15 AM and it was 44 degrees. Remember, this is July in Wyoming! We joined a high school math teacher, her husband from Fort Worth, Texas and two families from San Jose, California then boarded a bus down to the river. Everyone was very friendly and we certainly did have a great time getting to know them. The first eight miles of the trip was a calm, scenic float down the Snake River where we saw several bald eagles and ospreys. We then got out of the raft and stretched our legs and had a snack. The next eight miles of the trip was the exciting whitewater part of the trip as we traveled through many rapids. The first rapid sent two huge waves of ice cold water over the raft, soaking all of us. My teeth were chattering! There were many more times when the freezing water washed over us. After the trip they provided us with a bagged lunch which we enjoyed while continuing to visit with our new friends before the bus trip back to the campground. We had a great time! The only thing that would have made it better would have been temperatures about twenty degrees warmer. Of course they had a company who takes pictures as you go through one of the larger rapids. The pictures are pricey but we did splurge and purchase two.
I would like to end on a personal note. While in Jackson Hole I received word of the passing of my Uncle Arnold. He was like a father to me and his two sons are like my brothers. Arnold married my mother’s sister the year I was born, so I have known him my entire life. We had planned to see him in April 2016 when we pass through Virginia, but God had a better plan for him. One of the hard things about the full time Rving lifestyle is we are not nearby our family and friends. It was very hard for me to miss his funeral, but I know I did not have to be present at his funeral for him to know how much he meant to me and how much I love him. -Diane