We were able to ski four days at Jackson Hole and were blessed with a couple awesome bluebird groomer/cruiser days matched up with a few epic powder days. On a bluebird day, Jackson Hole is beautiful. The view as you drop into a run is just insane. Apparently pretty enough to paraglide off the side of the mountain from the main lodge.
We got to ride one more time in the snow coach on the way out of the park. Took a quick stop at Kepler’s Cascade where waaaaay back in the day, some dude lost his horse and was stuck out there for a little over 30 days in the snow! He somehow survived by staying warm near the thermal features of the area. Can you even imagine surviving for a month without modern gear?? The dude didn’t even have pockets in his pants! Pockets hadn’t been invented yet!??!! Insane!
No snow coach tours were available since we booked late, so instead we decided to rent some snow shoes and hike around on our own. We ended up doing 5-6 miles in total walking around the Old Faithful area.
Yellowstone in winter is SICK.
So we knew we were going to drive out to Jackson Hole to do some skiing between Christmas and New Years, but we decided to schedule a last minute stay in Yellowstone National Park.
Apparently people book their holidays at Yellowstone out a year before, well, not us! I think we booked about a month ago. And it's not just ensuring there’s availability at the Snow Lodge either, you have to book space in a vintage Bombardier snow coach since the roads are closed to normal traffic once the snow starts falling.
From Grand Teton, we made our way to Devil’s Tower, which became the very first national monument in the United States in 1906. It definitely couldn’t be missed from miles away, standing at about 1200 ft.
Scientists claim that this was made by magma, blah blah blah or even that it’s the neck of an extinct volcano. But I like the following version the best (pulled from Wikipedia):
According to the Native American tribes of the Kiowa and Lakota, some girls went out to play and were spotted by several giant bears, who began to chase them. In an effort to escape the bears, the girls climbed atop a rock, fell to their knees, and prayed to the Great Spirit to save them. Hearing their prayers, the Great Spirit made the rock rise from the ground towards the heavens so that the bears could not reach the girls. The bears, in an effort to climb the rock, left deep claw marks in the sides, which had become too steep to climb. (Those are the marks which appear today on the sides of Devils Tower.) When the girls reached the sky, they were turned into the star constellation the Pleiades.
What can I say…we were a little lazy here, no hikes…just drove around and took in the view and relaxed a little. Pretty spectacular how the Tetons just come up out of nothing. On to Devil’s Tower tomorrow morning. - Jonathan
Did anyone know there was a Grand Canyon of Yellowstone?? Apparently there is and it’s pretty nuts. The amount of wildlife here is crazy too. We were only able to snap a few shots of the bison, but so far we’ve seen grizzlies, black bears, a red tailed fox, elk, pronghorn antelope amongst others.
It’s like going on safari but not in Africa…
Onwards to Grand Teton tomorrow morning…
Geysers, springs, mud pots, fumaroles, steam vents and more. If you haven’t been somewhere with these incredible feats of nature, it’s definitely gotta be on the list. Water spraying up out of the ground, warnings of hot flying mud, ridiculous colored pools and streams. Simply amazing!